The following is a tweaked version of a blog we wrote two years ago on water crossings, specifically mountain water crossings where there’s no bridge and, often, no obvious place to cross.
In the past couple of weeks, it’s become hot. Summer hot.
And that means when we head out for a hike, we’ll look more favorably on trails that have water as a main feature. Just enough to cool our feet in, maybe splash some water in our face. Trouble is, you can’t always choose how much water you get. When that happens, when your trail comes across a stream or creek without a bridge or an obvious way to get across, you need a strategy for a safe crossing.read more
Not surprisingly, some of North Carolina’s more popular state parks filled to capacity again this weekend. Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock, South Mountains, Raven Rock, Stone Mountain, Occoneechee, part of Eno River all had to shut down at one point because they had reached capacity.read more
After one of the most gorgeous and prolonged springs in memory, a spring that couldn’t be better suited to being on the trail, the heat is finally arriving this weekend. We couldn’t be happier.
A near-perfect spring coupled with the coronavirus has has driven an unprecedented number of hikers to the trail. But, with the coming heat and humidity, coupled with more retail outlets slowly opening, we should see far fewer hikers on the trail this weekend.read more
Tuesday at lunch I headed to a favorite local wild area for a two-mile hike. Five minutes in and I was a glow: my eyes stung with sweat, my shirt stuck to me, I’d even collected a cobweb or two. Ah, the return of hot weather hiking.
I love a good hike in the heat. In large part that’s because not everyone else does. Head out on a day when the temperature’s in the upper 80s, as it was Tuesday, and there’s a good chance you won’t see another soul on the trail. But the summer forest is a whole other world: it’s teaming with life, yet it’s oddly quiet. It’s the best time of year to find a secluded spot and plant yourself for 15 minutes and quietly observe the world around you. read more
Just because summer arrives Thursday (at 6:06 a.m.) and the temperature this week already has hit the mid-90s doesn’t mean we’re going to stop hiking. We’re just going to adjust our approach. We’re going to make sure that, for the next three months or so, the majority of our hikes include one of two things:
Today, we focus on the former. Specifically, on the sometimes traumatizing prospect of hiking a trail with creek crossings. Creek crossings that don’t have bridges, and sometimes don’t even have a decent rock-hop crossing.
A stream with no bridge or obvious rock-hop crossing can be intimidating to the unprepared hiker. Just the thought of getting your feet wet and continuing on in soggy boots seems capable of raising blisters. Fortunately, most rivers can be easily forded. Here’s how:
=&0=&. If you know you will be dealing with multiple crossings in a short span, slip into a water shoe. Keens (or anything that’s similarly constructed) are ideal, with their closed toe and firm fit. Old running shoes also work, though they don’t dry as quickly. If it’s just a crossing or two, walking across in hiking socks (preferably wool) provides a bit of protection to your feet and improves grip.
=&1=& Your balance crossing water is greatly improved if you have trekking poles or a hiking stick: three or four points of contact beats two. Probe with your poles/stick, plant firmly, take a step. If you don’t have poles or a stick, you can often find one leaning against a tree or rock at the crossing.
=&2=&Don’t be hasty, it’s a several step process:
First, check the opposite bank and see where the trail resumes. Often, the direct line across is where you’ll find the logical crossing, but not always: water levels in particular can impact the best place to cross.
Check to see if there is a viable rock-hop.
Generally, the widest spot in the river — where the water is often shallower and the current not as strong, is the best place to cross.
Look for a worn path headed either upstream or down. Odds are it leads to a preferred crossing.
In general, slow moving water shouldn’t be above your thigh, fast moving above your knee. If it is, scout upstream and down for another location.
Look for large rocks or other obstacles in the stream; they create an eddy (slow moving water) behind them, making for a good spot to rest and catch your breath before continuing on.