Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania™

Tips For Fording Streams

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The need to ford a stream is more typical in the spring then hiking during other times of the year. Certain precautions should be taken to minimize the risks while crossing a stream. If you find yourself on a stream bank, without any easy way to cross, keep these tips in mind before plunging in.

  • Look for a wide section to cross. Water moves quickly in narrower areas of the stream.
  • Take your time. Walk deliberately, making sure of your footing after each step.
  • Don’t take off your boots. Traction from boots or camp shoes are much better than bare feet. However, take off your socks and put them back on once you’ve crossed.
  • If you don’t have treking poles, pick up a stick or two. This will give you better balance while crossing.
  • Loosen shoulder straps and hip belts on your pack before attempting the crossing. This will make it easier to slip out of your pack if you happen to fall in.

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