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dvbl
07-14-2006, 12:03 PM
Any other "running water" freaks out there? You know who you are... you can just sit by a mountain stream/river/brook for 30 minutes and just stare at it and think, "I should follow that upstream for a little ways and see where it goes...". Anyway, does anyone do any hiking with the goal of reaching the source of the water? For instance, IIRC (I've only been there once), the Gale River Trail follows the Gale River for a few miles and then goes its own separate way. In other words, just follow the water wherever it goes. Any special equipment needed other than a willingness to get wet? More wildlife sightings perhaps?

the starchild
07-14-2006, 12:14 PM
yes, often! whackin' up streams is fun. lots to see that most likely few other people see. especially if there are ponds, cascades and waterfalls involved :)

its fun in Utah too, following washes and slots etc. but usually less water. yeah, lots less water.



Any other "running water" freaks out there? You know who you are... you can just sit by a mountain stream/river/brook for 30 minutes and just stare at it and think, "I should follow that upstream for a little ways and see where it goes...". Anyway, does anyone do any hiking with the goal of reaching the source of the water? For instance, IIRC (I've only been there once), the Gale River Trail follows the Gale River for a few miles and then goes its own separate way. In other words, just follow the water wherever it goes. Any special equipment needed other than a willingness to get wet? More wildlife sightings perhaps?

David Metsky
07-14-2006, 12:49 PM
Isn't Gale River a public water supply? There are signs posted asking folks to not enter the water, IIRC. Several streams in the Whites are public water supplies, so keep that in mind.

-dave-

sierra
07-14-2006, 12:55 PM
You should as Dave said be aware of water supply areas in addition most streams and rivers in the Whites have rocky bottems and can be ankle breakers. Something to consider if your wacking up a brook off trail in case of an injury your out there on your own so to speak.

Puck
07-14-2006, 12:59 PM
Any other "running water" freaks out there? Any special equipment needed other than a willingness to get wet? More wildlife sightings perhaps?

Yes a seven foot three weight and a selection of nymphs (perhaps a San Juan worm)

sardog1
07-14-2006, 02:09 PM
Lots of lost folks use drainages once they get lost, so I have a fair amount of experience trying to locate them in this terrain. Apart from the environmental concerns so rightly expressed above, these things come to mind:

1. Cost of sturdy boots: $125-300. Value of feeling your foot stay where you placed it among the ankle- and knee-breaking boulders: Priceless. Tain't no place for trail runners, IMO. (Yes, I'm sure some will disagree.)

2. Eye protection is a must. Period. At times you're going to be as far off trail as you're likely to get in the woods. Nobody has cleared a path, and once you're in the drainage, it's possible that "no one will hear you scream."

3. Remember the advice from Roy Scheider to Robert Shaw: "You're going to need a bigger hiking pole." A long pole is real handy for negotiating boulders and other hazards, especially with the weight of a pack. You can use either a strong telescoping hiking pole or a wooden staff fitted to your requirements. (You can make a wooden staff, or you can trust your luck and hope to grab one on the way, as I did on the east side of Osceola a couple summers ago.)

4. There are drainages and there are drainages. This year, with all the rain we've had, it can be difficult at times to know which appear on the map and which are seasonally ephemeral. It's important to keep close track of your position and route, using map and compass.

Stan
07-14-2006, 03:24 PM
We've done parts of bushwhacks in streams, East Kennebago comes to mind as one. In each instance we did it when it had rained and we were already pretty wet and had nothing to lose by walking in water. We follow the path of least resistence and some stretches may include water but its got to be pretty bad for that to be the case. Hiking in streams can be very slow going because when rocks are exposed they're very slippery.

We enjoy paddling kayaks as far up a stream as possible but they're not mountain streams I can assure you because you do not get very far in that direction.

Bushwhacking up streams might create a new list but I suspect if you try it you'll decide there are better lists!

woodstrider
07-14-2006, 04:21 PM
I have occassionally used brooks as a route when doing a bushwhack- especially in the Catskills. You can find some interesting "stuff" and you always have water at hand. Trouble is in the summer you can run into stinging nettles- which I do Not enjoy. Alway- it is rarely boring.

carole
07-15-2006, 08:40 AM
I have enjoyed exploring several drainage routes. Some are seasonal others year round. Winter can be a fun time to do the exploring, especially spring thaw. I have loved the variety found. Some times the route just disappears underground and the challenge is to discover where it returns. I have found a nice notch cut through rock and little pools and falls that are inviting. Often they can be impassable in the stream bed itself due to the ‘pick-up-sticks’ type blowdown.

One thing I have found is I enjoy it much more going uphill rather than down. :)

Waumbek
07-15-2006, 09:11 AM
Isn't Gale River a public water supply? There are signs posted asking folks to not enter the water, IIRC. Several streams in the Whites are public water supplies, so keep that in mind.
-dave-

Yes, it is a public water supply. After Littleton discontinued using the Ammonoosuc that flows through town because it was suspected to be the source of a typhoid fever outbreak in 1902, it purchased 7.5 square miles of drainage on the side of Garfield and piped the water eleven miles to the chlorinating station in town. I assume that Franconia uses the Gale as well, since it flows through town, and perhaps Bethlehem does too.

Periwinkle
07-21-2006, 11:43 PM
1. Cost of sturdy boots: $125-300. Value of feeling your foot stay where you placed it among the ankle- and knee-breaking boulders: Priceless. Tain't no place for trail runners, IMO. (Yes, I'm sure some will disagree.)

Not me. I'm with you on that. Even if you're on the banks, the moisture from the water source seems to create more soft soil and mossy voids. Ankle breakers.


2. Eye protection is a must...."no one will hear you scream."

Second that. They hear don't hear you scream.... And I did scream bloody murder when a spruce seemingly swung out and slapped me in the eye this past spring. Hurt like a mother. I couldn't see clearly for three days. Just glad it healed alright.


3. Remember the advice from Roy Scheider to Robert Shaw: "You're going to need a bigger hiking pole."

Not so sure about that one. I tend to use my poles less when off trail. Tho I'm thinking about hiking banks, not in the water.


4. There are drainages and there are drainages. This year, with all the rain we've had, it can be difficult at times to know which appear on the map and which are seasonally ephemeral. It's important to keep close track of your position and route, using map and compass.

Ah, here is my dilemma -- you're hiking a brook bed and come to a fork. I've done well following a) the intended compass heading when the fork clearly shows two specific directions; or, if not, b) following the most vertical flow; or c) following the greatest volume of water.

I've also noticed two other curiosities:

1. After struggling along the bank, if I wander off enough, I sometimes find an old trail, logging road, or bootleg trail I could have used for at least some distance. Grrrrrrr. :mad:

2. More often that not, the side of the bank I choose always looks worse than the opposite bank. If I cross, that side soon becomes a tangled mess. The grass is always greener???? :confused:


Obviously, yes, I am one of those people who just follow water because it's there.

Foremost, my time spent following various brooks, streams, and rills has lead me to the conclusion that you don't want to know where your water comes from. I've found everything from animal-track covered muddy tarns to "springs". And the springs are usually bubbling up from mushy, swampy leaf filled holes. There are few pristine gushing sources. Most are gross. You'd never ask "is it safe to drink the water?" again after seeing the sources.

As for wildlife, be careful what you wish for. Most of my scary encounters have been near water. The most recent was a too-close-for-comfort bear scare along a noisy river. We didn't hear each other until it was too late. I was so close that he turned and reared before he bolted. Scared the [you know] out of me.

The worst was having my dog startle a pretty big river otter inhabiting a very small rill. Totally unexpected and very scary. It took 50 staples to close my dog's chest wounds.

The gross and scary factors aside, mostly I've enjoyed my time exploring every little bit of running water in my area. It's been an education and an adventure. I just try to be more aware of what's around. I've learned that we're not the only ones that appreciate cool mountain water.

audrey
07-22-2006, 01:40 PM
The game of "brook-whacking" is popular in Japan: an American decided he'd try it while over there and wrote that the sides of the brook looked like skidders had gone up and down the hill.

I have often headed for a brook after summiting a trailless 3K: the terrain entices you down that way anyway. We've encountered some wonderful streams:

Flat Mt., then Snows Brook;
Kancamagus, then Kancamagus Brook
Haystack Brook up and down Peak Above the Nubble;
Carrigain Branch back to Desolation Shelter after a failed attempt of the Captain;
The stream that comes down between Vose Spur and Signal Ridge.

Gris
07-22-2006, 02:39 PM
Amen brother/sister, of like ilk here - wanted for a long time to follow Flume as far as could up... :eek:

w7xman
07-23-2006, 05:01 AM
I agree with puck, but attached to my 6.5' 3wt is a hopper all summer.

I suspend almost all summitting in August to chase the white mtn's wild brookies, and have gone quite a ways up a number of streams...rocky branch, sawyer and dry are all stellar choices! Not to mention hikes to backcountry ponds

As for 'not being found when I break an ankle...' I always leave a detailed itinerary, and wade/walk very slowly with a wading staff!

Grumpy
07-23-2006, 07:44 AM
Periwinkle’s comments, above, pretty well capsulized my own experiences in following brooks and streams through the boonies. This rang especially true:


I've also noticed two other curiosities:

1. After struggling along the bank, if I wander off enough, I sometimes find an old trail, logging road, or bootleg trail I could have used for at least some distance. Grrrrrrr.

2. More often that not, the side of the bank I choose always looks worse than the opposite bank. If I cross, that side soon becomes a tangled mess. The grass is always greener????


A lot of my earliest “hiking” as a kid was of this sort, often with a fishing pole in hand and some earthworms in an old tobacco tin that fit in my pocket. Later I learned that artificial flies (especially “wets”) and nymphs were deadlier bait. This thread has conjured up pleasant memories for me.

G.

RoySwkr
07-24-2006, 05:52 PM
Canyoneering is one of the new thrill sports, watch out for flash floods

KR can perhaps tell us the name of the guy who walked up every drainage in Kings Canyon NP (if you think deciding whether a peak "counts" is hard, how would you do it with drainages?)