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Hiking Hazards - Drowning

I've crossed at least one creek where someone had drowned. Swelled by spring run-off from the glaciers above, the swiftly flowing creek knocked the hiker off his feet and carried him downstream, never to be found. By the time I crossed the same creek in September, the flow was much less (though still required a bridge), and my only indication of the treacherous spring flow was the picture of the hiker tacked up at the trailhead.

The most obvious place for hikers to drown is at creek crossings, especially in spring. When in doubt, don't hesitate to ask the ranger beforehand whether they think a particular creek may be passable. Keep in mind that even if they do say it is, it's still your responsibility to gauge your ability and aversion to risk. When you reach that crossing and it seems iffy, don't be afraid to just turn around. People do stupid things and die all the time; why should you be a victim, just because you happened to spend months planning this great vacation and took precious time off from work to do it. Turning around is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but it keeps you coming back for more.

Assuming that you think the creek is passable, I recommend trekking poles for helping probe the water to see how deep it is, and for balance if the flow is relatively light. Tevas are a good idea to prevent your shoes/socks from getting soaked. You can tie your boots together and drape them from your neck.

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