When you are least expecting it...

posted Apr 13, 2015, 10:38 AM by Paul Wagner   [ updated May 2, 2015, 4:21 PM ]
We've written before about stream crossings.  P tends to rock hop across, a skill developing over decades of fly fishing in the Sierra.  He can't dance a lick, but he can glide from one rock to the next quickly and seemingly without effort.

M, 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 P is such a klutz on the dance floor.

So on our last trip into the wilds of Yosemite, P struck out across each stream and hopped across easily.  M 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, M had really worried about this creek on the way over, and P was determined to find an easier way for her to cross.

So instead of carelessly hopping from rock to rock, he gently eased out onto a larger boulder, sat down on it, and then worked his way around to the other side, where he would reach a series of smaller stones and walk across.

All went swimmingly (!) until it came time for him to push off the larger rock with his right foot.  The bottom of that hiking boot had become wet in the process, and when he pushed off, it immediately slipped off the rock and threw him face first into the stream. 

M 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, P hiked the last two miles with a severely bruised ego.

This is the fearful Chilnualna Creek in April.  Normally a roaring torrent this time of year.   ©http://backpackthesierra.com
The deadly stream, hiding beneath a veneer of placid waters.