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How to Cross Rivers and Streams When Hiking

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Fond of hiking or backpacking? Here are helpful precautions for you. Have a safer and more fun experience by following these steps.

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How to Cross Rivers and Streams When Hiking

  1. 1. HOW TO CROSS RIVERS AND STREAMS WHEN HIKING By Ken Jensen
  2. 2. Several things to consider when crossing moving water : 1. Cold Water = Possible Hypothermia 2. Shallow waters = Faster current 3. Faster currents = getting swept off of your feet 4. Invisible hazards of the river can be just as dangerous
  3. 3. Things to look for the best crossing areas:  Level ground with several channels.  Upstream of shallow bank or sandbar.  Choose a course across that will allow you to cross at about a 45 degree angle.
  4. 4. Here are a few items to look out for hazards that will hurt your crossing :  Obstacles on the opposite bank that will hinder you getting across  Upstream of deep channels or waterfalls  Rocky places - slipping  River estuaries (empty to bigger bodies) Rock ledges – rapids indicated by water changes perpendicular Eddies – Current behind an obstacle with ever changing direction
  5. 5. Deep Swift Rivers Tips:  Swim WITH the current.  Keep your body horizontal as much as possible. This reduces your chances of getting pulled by an eddy current.
  6. 6. Fast Shallow Rapids Tips:  Lie on your back with toes pointed downstream.  Place your hands by your hips and fin them to guide and help avoid obstacles.
  7. 7. Deep Rapids Tips: Lie on stomach Point head downstream and toward the opposite shore Stay away from converging water or obstacles because they cause eddies and swirls
  8. 8. Swift Treacherous Streams Tips :  Remove clothing except your shoes to reduce drag.  Tie it into a bundle and attach to your pack or shoulders.  Make sure you can remove the pack if the water catches it, so you don't get pulled.  Use a pole at about your height (ideally 6-7 ft). Place it upstream on the ground. It will break the incoming current and place a downward force on you.  Take small steps and keep good footing.
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