How did the hiker cross the stream?


Sep 30, 2014
So let's talk about crossing a stream. Not a river, but a tumbling little stream full of rocks and boulders.
I tend to rock hop across, a skill developing over decades of fly fishing in the Sierra. I can't dance a lick, but I can glide from one rock to the next quickly and seemingly without effort. My wife, on the other hand, struggles a bit with streams. She uses hiking poles, which help her balance, but she takes a slow, cautious, and even a bit fearful approach. This despite the fact that she dances with great elegance and style, and can never figure out why I am such a klutz on the dance floor.
So on our last trip into the wilds of Yosemite, I struck out across each stream and hopped across easily. My wife took much longer, slowly picking her way along. At least, until the last crossing of Bridalveil Creek, just a mile or two from the trailhead. In this case, she had really worried about this creek on the way over, and I was determined to find an easier way for her to cross.
So instead of carelessly hopping from rock to rock, I gently eased out onto a larger boulder, sat down on it, and then worked my way around to the other side, where I would reach a series of smaller stones and walk across. All went swimmingly (!) until it came time for me to push off the larger rock with my right foot. The bottom of that hiking boot had become wet in the process, and when I pushed off, it immediately slipped off the rock and threw me face first into the stream.
My wife hid her delight with expressions of concern, then walked twenty feet downstream where she carefully picked her way along a series of small flat rocks successfully. With bruises on both knees and wet feet to boot, I hiked the last two miles with a severely bruised ego.
I think we have all been there before.

If I don't think I can rock jump across I have a different methods. When im out hunting I typically only have one pair of boots but multiple pairs of socks. What I'll do it take my boots off but leave my heavy wool socks on. The socks protect my feet, and give me a little more traction than behind barefoot plus my boots don't get wet.

On the other side, I put on fresh socks and my boots, and the wet socks get hung on my pack to dry. On the next crossing, the wet socks go back on.
@balzaccom, have you tried poles? I use them all the time and I have great balance, they have saved me from a few falls though. There are times when you just have to get wet. I don't use full leather boots anymore, my keens dry out pretty quick. I just change socks, my other pair gets a good wringing out and they air out on my pack. If not you could cross barefoot if your careful. I don't care for flip flops and crossing logs or rocks, way too slippery.
I usually just hop across on rocks when that looks possible. If not, I'll stop and put on my water shoes and wade the thing. But since this was on our last day, two miles from the trailhead (and I'd already hopped across it on the way in!) ...
In the past I've removed socks and insoles from my boots and tramped across. The boots would dry out quickly enough on the trail and my feet would be mostly dry in their dry socks (fairly thick wool blend) and insoles. That was with an all-leather, non-goretex lined boot. My current leather boots have goretex linings, so I'd be reluctant to try it with those, but then again I'm curious to see how it might work out.
Yep, been swimmingly swimming on more than one occasion using the rock hop method. Sometimes it's very difficult to guess the slime factor. Anymore, I just put on the water shoes and wade-it hurts less.

I'm surprised there are any streams left in the Sierra's that have enough water left in them for it to be an issue----------------------------------
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