Out of the cold and into the wild

This is for all the cold-fearing, snow-dreading, procrastinating, adventure-seeking, stay-inside-all-weekend-despite-being-bored-type students out there that are looking for a way to enjoy their weekends.

I have an announcement to make…


In fact, I’d argue that there is a lot of fun to be had outdoors in the winter time. Aside from the great activities offered within the city (like skating at the waterfront), there are tons  of adventurous nature spots to explore around Hamilton that surprisingly still exist in the winter.

Randy from the movie, “A Christmas Story”

I’ll start by saying that winter exploring should not be taken too lightly. Of course, I believe that anyone can spend time outside at almost any time, but that goes with certain precautions. Primarily, I’m talking about dressing for the weather. I can say from experience that the -20 degree weather (plus windchill) isn’t actually that bad if you bundle up with many layers (sweat-wicking underlayers & long johns, warm pants and sweaters, good winter coat, scarf, hat, mittens, a warm and waterproof pair of grippy boots, and wool socks…even eye protection can be helpful). Sure, you may turn out something like Randy from “A Christmas Story”, but at least you’ll be warm!

Now, once adequately prepared, it’s time to remember that Hamilton is full of great places to hike, climb, snowshoe, or just appreciate nature. You can check out the Hamilton Waterfalls website to find out about some good walking routes around Hamilton’s best waterfalls. Alternatively, you can use Google Maps to craft your own route on the Bruce Trail, through Dundas Valley Conservation Area, around Cootes Paradise, and more. There are a ton of opportunities to explore the trails in the winter.

You may be wondering what kind of crazy person would trudge their own path through a foot of snow on a freezing cold day, but I can tell you as a fact that there are people who do it!

A couple weekends ago, my boyfriend and I headed out for a hike to Boher’s Falls. I’ll admit that we got lucky with the weather because it was around the time when things were melting, but there was still lots of snow and ice and I definitely needed mittens. When we entered the trail, we were surprised to see that a well-trodden path had already been patted down in the snow. Clearly we aren’t the only ones hiking in the winter. When we found a rope extending down part of the escarpment, however, our casual hike to the falls turned into a little bit more of an adventure. Once making it down to a slightly lower level, we spent the remaining time walking along the edge of the escarpment, climbing from rock to rock, and hoping not to slip down the rest of the hill. By the end, we reached the base of Boher’s Falls, and it was absolutely beautiful! Half of the falls had frozen in position and half of it was still flowing down, so we opted to try our hand at ice climbing. The way back up to the road was a little more challenging, but once we found a way across the river and scoped out a feasible area to get up, it became more straightforward. Overall, the trip only took a couple hours, and it made for a great memory. Maybe some of the pictures below will inspire your own adventure:

Climbing across a rock face, pseudo ice climbing, and a nice walk on a beautiful afternoon.

Climbing across a rock face, pseudo ice climbing, and a nice walk on a beautiful afternoon.

Just as a warning...things don't always go as planned (this is me attempting to climb back down from somewhere I couldn't get up).

Just as a warning…things don’t always go as planned (this is me attempting to climb back down from somewhere I couldn’t get up).