Felker’s Falls

So, now that we’re officially in the third week of January…how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along?

This is the time of year when many of us try to adopt healthier lifestyles by eating better and incorporating more exercise into our daily routines. It’s no surprise that ‘getting in shape’ is the world’s most popular New Year’s resolution, year after year. Another statistic I’m sure you’ve all heard is that the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail. Tell me if you’ve ever done this: after a December spent curled up on the couch watching Netflix and eating Christmas cookies, you vow to turn over a new leaf come January. You’re going to wake up every morning at 6am and head to the gym for an hour-long cardio workout, maybe followed by some strength training! The first week of January, you’re on fire! Maybe the first day is a little tough as you get back into the swing of things, but every morning without fail, you’re at that gym working towards your fitness goals. By week two, your resolution becomes a little less appealing. Waking up early is tough when it’s still dark and freezing outside, and you start hitting that snooze button. By week three, you’ve only made it to the gym twice, and by February you’ve completely given up. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone: I’ve been there many times.

In 2020, after years of going on and off diets and exercise regimens, I made the conscious decision to stop thinking of healthy habits as quick fixes, and start making them part of my overall lifestyle. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t a New Year’s resolution that did it for me, but the start of the COVID pandemic. While I know many struggled to keep up with healthy habits during this time – which is completely understandable – for me it was the opposite. I took that unprecedented opportunity to reset, reevaluate, and make some changes I could live with long-term. Since then, I’ve learned a few things about what it takes to set health and fitness goals you’ll actually stick to. Now, I’m certainly no expert in this subject. But for those interested, I’d like to share the five key things that worked for me:

  • Set realistic goals. I’m all for the philosophy that you can do anything you put your mind to, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you currently lead a fully sedentary lifestyle but suddenly decide to commit to an intense daily bootcamp routine, you’re (most likely) going to fail and get discouraged, which will only derail your progress. Instead, start small and work your way up.
  • Set small, specific, actionable goals. “Eat better” and “get fit” are great ambitions, but they’re not really measurable. Instead, set small and specific goals you can actually track. “Get 6 servings of vegetables a day”, “drink 10 glasses of water a day”, “do 20 minutes of weight-lifting 3 times per week” or “get 10,000 steps a day” are all great examples.
  • Get social! Exercising with your partner, friends or family members is great for building a support system and keeping each other motivated. It’s easy to bail on a workout when you’re the only person you’re letting down, but knowing that your friend is waiting for you at the gym will make you think twice. This is especially helpful for setting larger goals! For instance, I ran my first 5K last year with my dad, and am planning on running another with two friends this year. Setting a shared goal to work towards will help you hold each other accountable.
  • Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’. This is one of my favourite mottos – and as a diehard perfectionist, a tough one for me to learn. It applies to most every situation, but especially this one. If you always aim for perfect, you’re more likely to get disappointed in yourself and give up when you don’t get there. Instead, aim for good enough. If you only have 15 minutes for your workout today instead of the allotted hour, don’t skip it altogether – just do 15 minutes! Anything is better than nothing.
  • Make it fun! It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll always feel like exercising – hey, we’re only human – but if you’re consistently dreading your workout, it’s time to switch it up and find something that’s fun for you. Here’s a great article that lists some fun types of exercise, which just proves further that you don’t have to huff and puff on a treadmill to get in shape!

I go through phases with fitness. Last spring and summer, I was into running. Before that, I was on a kick with at-home workout videos (and I’m not embarrassed to admit I think the cheesy 80s aerobic tapes give you the best cardio workout – Jane Fonda and Kathy Smith have never let me down!) These days, my routine is exceptionally simple: I strength train with 10-pound weights for 20 minutes, 3-4 times per week, and at least 6/7 days per week I go for a brisk, hour-long power walk. Walking is one of my favourite types of exercise for many reasons! You can do it anytime, anywhere, alone or with others. You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment. You can make it as easy or as hard as you want, to match any fitness level: from a leisurely 20-minute stroll to a 2-hour uphill hike. Walking burns a surprisingly high number of calories, is a great way to clear your head and spend time in nature, and it can be so much fun! While most days I simply walk around my neighbourhood, on weekends I love to take the opportunity to go for a hike at one of the many scenic trails throughout the GTHA. Today I’d like to share one of my favourite winter hiking destinations with you: Felker’s Falls.

Located in Stoney Creek, Felker’s Falls Conservation Area is a beautiful hiking spot that leads to a majestic, 22-metre-tall waterfall. Hamilton is known for its many impressive waterfalls – it is, after all, the Waterfall Capital of the World, boasting over 100 within its city limits. While Hamilton’s waterfalls are beautiful to visit any time of year, they’re especially spectacular in the winter when many of them freeze over. Some of the most popular frozen waterfalls to see this time of year include Tiffany Falls, Sherman Falls and Albion Falls. Now, these spots are popular for a reason – they’re absolutely gorgeous in the wintertime – but ‘popular’ tends to go hand-in-hand with ‘crowded’ and ‘expensive’. That’s why I was so happy to discover Felker’s Falls, which is a bit of a hidden gem. You don’t need to pay to get in, and we only saw two other people there during our visit, which was great because (selfishly) we had the falls all to ourselves.

Felker’s Falls can be accessed from the top or the bottom, and City of Waterfalls provides helpful and detailed directions for either option. We chose to access it from the bottom so we could get up close and personal with the falls. We parked on Hildegard Drive, and – bundled up for the cold – started our journey toward the falls. The hike to the falls is beautifully scenic, and we had picked the perfect sunny, snowy day to enjoy it. The hike to the falls is pretty short; I’d say it took us about 15-20 minutes either way. It probably would be an even quicker walk in warmer months, but we had the snow and ice to navigate. (Another great thing about winter walks: trekking through the snow gives you a better workout!)

When we arrived at the falls, we were in awe. There was some water still trickling down, but for the most part, the falls had frozen into a magical display of icicles. We snapped some pictures (of course) but believe me when I say that photos don’t do the falls justice: you really have to experience their beauty in person.

If you’d like to experience Felker’s Falls for yourself, I recommend visiting when the temperatures have consistently been at or below freezing for the past few days, as that will give you the best chance of seeing them frozen over. A friendly reminder to be quiet and respectful when parking on the residential street used to access the falls, and to be careful on your hike: the trails are not maintained during the winter and could be slippery, so step with caution and take it slow if you need to.

I hope this post inspired you to do some winter hikes of your own – or to find another form of fitness you love! What are some of your favourite ways to stay active in the winter?

One response to “Felker’s Falls”

  1. […] week, I wrote about one of my favourite winter hiking spots: Felker’s Falls. (Click here to read the post if you missed it!) Today I wanted to share another local hiking trail featuring an […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: