I am not winter’s biggest fan… at all. I enjoy the first snow fall and I like having a white Christmas. I like wearing pyjamas all day long while sitting by the fire, drinking hot chocolate and watching Netflix OBVIOUSLY because who doesn’t? But after awhile it gets boring and I get the winter blues from a lack of Vitamin D and the harsh Ontario winter. My car is a mess, the roads are a mess, it’s dark in the morning when I go to work and it’s dark when I leave work to come home at 5:00PM… it just isn’t my favourite thing in the world but I will stop focusing on the negatives and focus on the point of this blog post already! The only way for me to survive is to try and find cool things to do and on the days where the sun does try and come out and the temperatures aren’t negative thirty, which is to get outside.
In February, we had a day where it was only negative six and the sun was out so Nick and I decided to get bundled up and go for a hike somewhere. I suggested Webster’s Falls since I hadn’t been since the spring time and I knew it would probably be pretty nice with all of the snow on the ground. We stopped in at a little shop along Highway 6 called ‘Grasshopper Imports’, which is a place I had driven past my whole life and always wondered what it was but had never gone in. Needless to say, coolest store ever. They sell all kinds of weird hippy style house ware things, jewellery, and clothing and it is basically my new favourite place and my wallet’s least favourite place ever. ANYWAYS, when we were in there, the lady who owns it was telling us we should climb down into Webster’s Falls and go behind the frozen ice, which we didn’t even think about until that moment.
Nick and I got to Webster’s Falls, which is actually connected to Tew’s Falls through a trail. We started at Tew’s Falls and naturally, we started at the top overlooking the falls. Nick had never been there before and I had but I had never climbed down to the bottom of the falls. We could see people at the bottom taking pictures and we desperately wanted to get down there too. Across the falls we could see a few people scaling down the cliff side and it looked beyond sketchy, I kept saying they were idiots because it looked so dangerous and with the temperatures, the snow and ice would be slippery. Who do you think ended up venturing over there and risking their life by scaling down the side of the cliff too? Yup, we did. It was definitely scary and dangerous. The rocks were very slippery and we had a lot of moments where I thought one of us was going to plummet to their death. There were ropes that someone had previously tied up to help people get down/up the cliffs but my mittens were slippery on them. Finally we made it to the bottom and we had to let go of the rope and jump into a pile of snow and it felt like it was twenty feet high to me but it obviously wasn’t. I finally let go of the rope and jumped and survived. I would not really recommend going down the way we did because in all honesty it was quite dangerous and I don’t want to be responsible for something hurting or killing themselves down there.
The views from the bottom with the frozen waterfall were definitely worth the adventure down. The whole waterfall was frozen with massive blocks of blue ice at the bottom. A few hikers were also down there and one of the men had climbed pretty far up into the waterfall when all of the sudden we heard a loud cracking noise and a huge part of the waterfall collapsed. Thankfully the man wasn’t any closer or else he would have been buried alive. After that happened we decided it wouldn’t be smart too get too close incase any other loose parts fell. It would have been next to impossible to get someone to a hospital from where we were.
Once we were finished admiring the stunning waterfall, we decided it would be in our best interest to find another way out. I didn’t feel like risking my life again by climbing back up the cliffs using the sketchy old rope and I honestly don’t even think we could have done it anyways. We asked some people who were down there and they said if we followed the trail for about an hour we would find stairs to get out. Stairs… if only we knew about them an hour prior to risking our lives on the cliffs. We trekked for what felt like a really long time but it was so beautiful. We were walking on ice but could here running water underneath us, which was a little freaky at times. During the walk it didn’t feel like we were at home, it felt like we were somewhere very foreign. It was really quiet and peaceful. The snow was so white as not many people had been down there so it seemed untouched. We saw more big ice blocks along the walk and couldn’t get over how blue they were. We kind of got lost at one point but we honestly didn’t mind because it was just so nice down there. We ran into a teenager who lived in the area and knew the trail well so he gave us directions to the stairs. Once we finally made it, we realized we were now at Webster’s Falls. I had no idea that the stairs were at Webster’s Falls but it ended up being perfect.
This waterfall ended up being even cooler because we were able to walk behind the frozen ice and into what seemed like a little cave. We saw a couple getting their engagement photos taken and the photographer offered to take some pictures of Nick and I.
After our little iPhone photo shoot, we found the stairs and made our way out of the waterfall. The stairs had been blocked off to the public so obviously people aren’t supposed to be using them but I think a lot of people still do. I would definitely recommend visiting this area anytime of the year but if you get a nice day in the winter and things are frozen… you should definitely venture down. You definitely need to dress appropriately, we met some Torontonians who were wearing sneakers and jeans… they had lost their keys in a pile of snow and had spent an hour digging for them. Their skin was bright red from the cold and since they were locked out of their car they had no way of getting warm. We did our best to help them find their keys but in the end they were lost. We had snow pants, winter boots, hats, gloves, and lots of under layers on. If I knew we would have been embarking on such an adventure I would have worn even better gloves and made sure my cell phone was fully charged (it was on about 15% the whole time). You definitely have to be careful down there because if something happens to you or the person your’e with it could be pretty hard getting out. If you’re prepared it can be a pretty amazing day!
–> On an even sketchier note, my friend Jen and I went to the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hamilton in the first week of March and that was almost scarier than scaling down the side of a cliff. Things were sort of starting to warm up in the first week of March where I live and my friend Jen and I wanted to go for a hike somewhere neither of us had been before. I suggested the Devil’s Punch Bowl because I had literally never ever seen it in my whole live and I live twenty minutes from it. Since neither of us had ever been, we parked at the top and walked out to the edge to overlook it. We decided there was nothing we could do from the top and it was super cold and muddy so we got in the car and drove down the escarpment to a neighbourhood that we thought would give us access to a path into the waterfall.
We were able to find a spot to park at a dead end road and once you cross a set of train tracks you can hike in. We really didn’t consider the fact that since things were warming up, ice wouldn’t be AS frozen as it would have been a month ago. When we started hiking in we realized there was a spot that we had to kind of finagle through the creek. Jen’s foot went through a few times and I was trying to zen balance my body’s weight out evenly so the same thing didn’t happen to me. Let’s just say there was a lot of high pitched girl screams, laughing, pants that were almost peed in, and panic. Once we made it into the waterfall it was still really sketchy because A) we were basically standing on semi-frozen ice while trying to take photos for instagram (typical girls) and B) the ice in the waterfall could collapse and crash down at any time because the temperature was warming up. The whole time we were down there I was freaked out because I did not want to fall in a creek, especially when it was still winter and I didn’t know how deep it was. I also couldn’t have imagined if something happened to one of us and someone had to be carried out… I don’t have muscles.
I am glad we went and I am glad I can say I have officially seen the Devil’s Punch Bowl, however it won’t be a place I will be going when the water is half frozen again. I guess it is all part of the adventure though!
P.S. Hamilton is known as “The City of Waterfalls” and is considered the waterfall capital of the world.