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  1. #1
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    Default stream crossings

    Watching a youtube of folks crossing streams - I think in Sierras, but could have been farther north. Lots of snow, so you know, when they come out, they are wet and cold.
    What do you do at this point? You need dry clothes, and you need to dry your wet clothes, right? So are you stuck here for a while or maybe till the next morning? On a cold day out there, are the wet clothes going to dry? (Many places, there are campfire restrictions, and it's probably going to be pretty tough to start one anyway)...
    How much weight does winter clothing add, if you're on a PCT thru-hike?
    How many times are you going to face this situation?

  2. #2

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    Here in the Southeast in the winter we cross all creeks with minimal clothing and barefeet in crocs or water shoes. The point is to keep all clothing as dry as possible for as long as possible.

    If it's just one cold crossing you dry off with a rag---wring it out repeatedly---and put back on your leggings and socks and stuff. The challenge comes when you're on a creek trail with 12 or 38 or 42 crossings like on Slickrock or Conasauga or Jacks Creek. Then the challenge becomes hiking in minimal layers and staying warm---and keeping your bare feet from freezing off.

    My buddy Patman did a winter trip once over Slickrock Creek and took his pants completely off in order to do the waist deep cold crossings. Whatever it takes to keep your layers dry. See his trip report here---
    http://www.trailspace.com/forums/tri...cs/116901.html

  3. #3
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    You walk on. Your clothes dry out pretty quick. It's very dry at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada.

    Of course if you are wearing cotton, you're going to die.

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    I did many stream crossings where I had to climb out on snow banks, that adds a bit of adventure to the crossing. Generally it is pretty warm so you warm up fast. Couple of exceptions. First was walking through a waterfall just north of VVR at 5:30am. It was cold! The second was when I was lifted off my feet during a deep crossing and ended up,completely wet. It took a while to warm up from that one. Normally most of the streams will be knee to waist deep so your upper body stays fairly dry. If you're short, then it will be a bit harder.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  5. #5
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    Default stream crossings

    ok, good to know. Another mystery solved!

  6. #6

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    I remember taking off my pants, but leaving my shoes on.
    I remember because "Blister Sister" was with us, but I cared more about keeping dry than my modesty. (i don't wear underwear when I hike)
    That was on an almost waist deep one in the Sierras somewhere. ('96)
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    I remember taking off my pants, but leaving my shoes on.
    I remember because "Blister Sister" was with us, but I cared more about keeping dry than my modesty. (i don't wear underwear when I hike)
    That was on an almost waist deep one in the Sierras somewhere. ('96)
    TMI, bud! ?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    I remember taking off my pants, but leaving my shoes on.
    I remember because "Blister Sister" was with us, but I cared more about keeping dry than my modesty. (i don't wear underwear when I hike)
    That was on an almost waist deep one in the Sierras somewhere. ('96)
    waist deep cold mountain water = no modesty needed.

  9. #9

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    On the CDT we had issues with ice cutting the backs of our legs when we crossed some of the streams in the Bob but otherwise the snowmelt wasn't that hard to deal with. After emptying our shoes, we just kept on walking. Supplex pants dry very quickly. On the PCT the biggest issue was the mosquitoes that made it torture to stop long enough to wring out socks and empty shoes.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    On the CDT we had issues with ice cutting the backs of our legs when we crossed some of the streams in the Bob but otherwise the snowmelt wasn't that hard to deal with. After emptying our shoes, we just kept on walking. Supplex pants dry very quickly. On the PCT the biggest issue was the mosquitoes that made it torture to stop long enough to wring out socks and empty shoes.
    Your post reminds me of a recent trip I did in the Bald River backcountry in January 2017 and woke up to 8F and had to cross Upper Bald Creek which was half frozen. Not advisable to hike across ice with an 80 lb pack. Luckily I had on my Zamberlan gtx boots and used them to pound down and break the ice and waded the creek. The big ice chunks went downstream and luckily the water wasn't deeper than the cuffs of my boots so my feet and socks stayed dry. This pic is looking back from where I came.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker View Post
    On the CDT we had issues with ice cutting the backs of our legs when we crossed some of the streams in the Bob but otherwise the snowmelt wasn't that hard to deal with. After emptying our shoes, we just kept on walking. Supplex pants dry very quickly. On the PCT the biggest issue was the mosquitoes that made it torture to stop long enough to wring out socks and empty shoes.
    Alright, I just checked REI for Supplex, and it looks like it's all for women... I AIN'T WEARIN NO GIRL PANTZ!! ??

  12. #12
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    Supplex is a type of nylon weave. Its pretty nice wearing. I have several hiking pants in Supplex nylon and they are tough, long lasting men's hiking pants.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    Alright, I just checked REI for Supplex, and it looks like it's all for women... I AIN'T WEARIN NO GIRL PANTZ!! ??
    Did you check LL Bean? They have men's supplex shorts.

    https://m.llbean.com/search.html?skC...#Active+Shorts

  14. #14
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    Default stream crossings

    ll bean...ok, thanks. I'll check it out!

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    All the Sierra PCT crossings I remember I would cross barefooted in shorts. After the ford I would have dry shoes, merino socks, merino beanie, likely running gloves, and a jacket to warm up. I'll nosh some "warm" food right after too. I'd likely have some chemical hand warmers in those jacket pockets. Going through this yr I'd have two sets of shirts and probably shorts too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    All the Sierra PCT crossings I remember I would cross barefooted in shorts. After the ford I would have dry shoes, merino socks, merino beanie, likely running gloves, and a jacket to warm up. I'll nosh some "warm" food right after too. I'd likely have some chemical hand warmers in those jacket pockets. Going through this yr I'd have two sets of shirts and probably shorts too.
    Thanks, DW. The folks in the videos I watched were crossing in long pants, which inspired me to ask about this. They were likely wearing something like the supplex other folks have mentioned. .

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    Here's another fording scenario. I just went through this. This was NOT on the PCT. Came to the East Fork San Jacinto River solo. No bridge. Muddy water. Couldn't see the bottom. Couldn't touch the bottom with a trekking pole or 6 ft long stick. Muddy banks that dropped off 4-5 ft steeply(80% grade). Very easy to just slip into the water on your muddy arse into who knows how deep water. Could easily have turned a ford into a swim/float acroos affair. Snakes in abundance. Expected a sandy and silty bottom given the region. What do you do? Ever just slip into the water finding out it's deeper and colder than anticipated?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefals View Post
    Thanks, DW. The folks in the videos I watched were crossing in long pants, which inspired me to ask about this. They were likely wearing something like the supplex other folks have mentioned. .
    I wore quick dry REI Sahara pant on all crossings. They usually were wet below the knees from all of the water around and they dry really fast when given the opportunity. 2017 thrush will have to accept that they will be wet, and it sounds a lot worse than it is. It is far different than a typical JMT hike where there is a dozen wet crossings the entire way.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Here's another fording scenario. I just went through this. This was NOT on the PCT. Came to the East Fork San Jacinto River solo. No bridge. Muddy water. Couldn't see the bottom. Couldn't touch the bottom with a trekking pole or 6 ft long stick. Muddy banks that dropped off 4-5 ft steeply(80% grade). Very easy to just slip into the water on your muddy arse into who knows how deep water. Could easily have turned a ford into a swim/float acroos affair. Snakes in abundance. Expected a sandy and silty bottom given the region. What do you do? Ever just slip into the water finding out it's deeper and colder than anticipated?
    I think Colin Fletcher pulled such crossings by wrapping his pack in something and using it as a flotation device and swam across. Doable depending on water flow and speed.

    I've never done such crossings---they become more of a swimming event than a ford. Check out this crossing of Slickrock Creek in NC as below. It's one thing to do such crossings without a pack and doing it with a fully loaded backpack.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d91j0bIY3SA


  20. #20
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    Default stream crossings

    Hey why spandex type, body-hugging material, anyway? Is the idea that it hugs your body, thereby trapping the heat in? if that's not it, then why do people want to wear it?

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