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North to South Lake wading advice?

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North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby orbweaver » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:01 am

I'm starting from Piute Pass to South Lake on August 10. I have a choice of Grip Socks - very light with a stiffer "sole" portion - or some water shoes for wading. If I have to cross some rocky places with significant currents, I'd rather have the water shoes. But, I'd also rather save the weight. Any comments, given this year's wet conditions? Thanks, Tom



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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby Hobbes » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:53 am

orbweaver wrote: If I have to cross some rocky places with significant currents, I'd rather have the water shoes. But, I'd also rather save the weight. Any comments, given this year's wet conditions?

I went through the same deliberations. First, I pulled out some old surfing booties and did some chopping in order to get them down to 12oz. They would be absolutely great in terms of stability, and I could even use them as waders for fishing, but neoprene is heavier than cr@p when wet.

So, I then decided to look into some (very) cheap reef walkers from Walmart. You know, the ones made out of nylon mesh and self-destruct after one use. However, I pulled the plug on that idea as well because I finally came to the conclusion that I don't actually need any 'water shoes'.

That's because, at least in my case, I've been dancing barefoot over exposed rocks/reefs for most my surfing life. And if a swell is running, there's usually a lot of water flowing, so I'm familiar with the hydraulics. It's not to say that I can forge the Kern, but I can most likely easily handle creeks. So, I'm going to forego adding any extra weight for a nominal use item.

I'll tell you what I am going to do though - I'm going to cross first without my pack, then come back and get it. I figure with both poles extended and careful selection, I should be able to handle even the South Fork Kern down around Ramshaw/Templeton.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:40 am

Since most people do not have feet like an Australian aborigine, I suggest wading shoes, unless you are OK with wading in your hiking shoes (which is OK if your hiking shoes dry out quickly- just take out insoles) Mountain streams often have very cobbly bottoms of slick rocks and if you are in agony becasue of sore feet you are not very stable when crossing and bare feet are too slippery. If perchance you cut a toe, you will have serious problems hiking the rest of the trip. There are specialty running shoes that weigh about 7 oz per shoe. They are expensive ($100 range) but provide lots of stability. I use $10 generic "crocks". If I anticipate a difficult crossing I will instead take my high dollar runnning shoes. I spent most of my hiking years simply taking out insoles from my hiking shoes, wading, wipe down shoes, put on socks, and have damp feet for a while. I take one extra pair of wool socks because this method usually resluts in lots of wet socks so I am continually drying a pair of socks while hiking. Even with crocks or running shoes, if the streambed is particularly rough, I will wade in my hiking shoes just for the protection from being bumped and bruised. If you anticipate only a few crossings and want to save weight, I would just use your hiking shoes.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby orbweaver » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:51 am

I have water shoes (9 oz each) that I bought at an outlet store and Crocs (8 oz each). I'm tending towards the water shoes, since they have elastic laces and will stay on my feet better than the Crocs.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:16 am

Water shoes. I used mine once on a 7 day trip last week, but should have used them 3 times. Getting your foot cut mid-trip is bad news.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby sparky » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Previously I have gone barefoot as well, as I have fairly tough feet. This year was different, but with the depth and the flows of early summer melt it just isn't safe in some situations.

And yes on the extra socks!
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:10 pm

Orbweaver,

Rereading your question, I'll re-emphasize the water shoes. The crossing at West Pinnacles Creek when we did it a few years ago was pretty rough. There are some potential crossings on the south side of Muir that can be deep. We wound up hiking a couple of miles in our water shoes because of all the water.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby orbweaver » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:03 pm

ManOfTooManySports -

Water shoes are in my pack! Thanks for the replies.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:22 pm

kpeter gives some detailed trail conditions and posts some photos on your route here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6282&start=150#p46866

Worth a look!
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby orbweaver » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:00 pm

ManOfSports - thanks for the link - I missed that one. Sounds like a lot more wading this year than I had expected, though it is really great to have the hints on crossing.

Tom
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby kpeter » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:00 am

I just completed the N-S loop and did every ford with Crocs. I've never tried water shoes, they might be good. But the Crocs stayed on my feet in West Pinnacles Creek, the Dusy switchback crossing, in Evolution Meadow, etc. They are light and dry quickly, and just hang on the outside of my pack, along with a pack towel for drying off. I also noticed that they seem to grip wet rocks rather well.

The loose fit of Crocs does have one disadvantage--you can trap sand and gravel between your feet and the croc as you wade.

I also use my Crocs as camp shoes to help prevent me from tearing up the terrain with my hiking boots any more than I can help.

I second Wandering Daisy's scheme for hanging damp socks on the pack as you hike. People got to know me as the "sock man" as I was always flying a pair like flags.
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Re: North to South Lake wading advice?

Postby Hobbes » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:04 am

Wandering Daisy wrote: if you are OK with wading in your hiking shoes (which is OK if your hiking shoes dry out quickly- just take out insoles)


That's a great idea. With all the warnings of heavy stream crossings, including Sparky's, I'm now beginning to doubt whether my abbo feet are up to the task.

I use nylon trail runners, so they fall in the 'dry out moderately quickly' category. I tested them to make sure the insole pulls out, and I can wade in them without socks. (I always take an extra pair of socks anyway, but no reason to get them wet.)
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