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What is the best way to cross multiple streams on a long hike?

by Matt
(St. Petersburg, FL)

I live in Florida and I'm not accustomed to the cold water of snowmelt streams. While hiking high altitude trails that have streams too wide to jump over, is it better to take off shoes and socks - cross - then dry my feet and replace shoes/socks each time? OR, wear hiking shoes that are designed to get wet and then just deal with my freezing feet? Do hikers regularly hike with cold, wet feet?
Thank you!!

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Jul 07, 2021
Hiking For Her Responds
by: Diane

The safety of your feet should be uppermost in your mind on a hike with multiple stream crossings.

If you've planned ahead with a pair of Crocs or river shoes strapped to your pack, plus an absorbent microfiber towel, you're all set to enjoy the "take 'em off, put 'em on" dance.

In turbulent water of unknown depth, your feet are probably safer inside your boots. If you wear 2 pairs of socks (thin liners, thicker hiking socks) your feet will feel surprising good after the first few squishy steps.

I hike mostly in the PNW & Canada, so yes, we do regularly hike with cold, wet feet. Do we love it? Nope. But we love our high alpine trails and our low forested mud baths.

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About the author

Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.

She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.

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