When you were little you might have come across the game Oregon Trail. The objective was to take your family on a wagon train westward to Oregon or some other “uninhabited land” and settle down. However it wasn’t easy to get there. Many obstacles and challenges pop up here and then threatening to derail or slow down your trip. Rivers and streams are some of the hindrances. Now you could use the ferry, but you’ve spent all your gold coins on covering your but for other trials, so you’re dead broke. You will have to ford the river.
As a hiker on a day hike, or a backpacker on a several day excursion eventually you will find that your destination is on the other side. Cricks, creeks, streams, rivers, or brooks, can vary in size and challenge to cross. A small break in the forest floor is easy to cross. Step over it. A 5, 10, 15, 20 yard or more crossing is more challenging.
The first thing to do is to take off your hiking boots. You do not want to cross with these because soggy socks and boots will lead to your feet growing additional puss filled toes. In place of boots use some sandals of some sort or old and worn sneakers work well too.
Next if it’s too big to hop over, find a ford, a shallow stretch of river that doesn’t have a strong current. Keep in mind the weather, it can be a bit nerve-racking when you’re on the wrong side of the river and the clouds start to roll in. Try to time river crossings around bad weather because a flash flooding effect while crossing mid river is the last thing you need.
Take a stick and toss it into the water and track its progress. Be sure it isn’t moving too fast, indicating the river is especially dangerous to cross. Use another stick, this time one plenty long and probe the water for the river bed, checking the river depth. While crossing having a probing stick may be helpful with avoiding sudden pitfalls and hidden boulders.
Once you have analyzed the river, and assessed whether or not you can cross it, form groups of three. Don your packs, loosen the straps, and open the belt buckles. Doing this to the packs makes them easier to shed in the unfortunate event of an emergency. Now in groups of three grab each others hands and form a circle. wade slowly into the water looking out ahead of you.Orient the group so two people are sidestepping and the third is looking forward at the route ahead. Slowly and gingerly cross the water until you get to the other side.
Now, there are many other precautions to take into consideration such a river height, physical condition of the group, and weather, but if you are going to cross, what I have mentioned will get the job done.
If you have any other questions or considerations please leave a comment below.