"April 15, 2018 Newsletter"


Subject: Waterfalls of Wisconsin Newsletter - April 2018 issue
Trail walking safety:

Our newsletters are dedicated to the discussion of waterfalls, rapids and spillways of Wisconsin... searching for new ones, discussing new details about sites already known, and discussions of general interest.

This issue is about trail walking and how to stay safe! Some waterfalls are easy to access and some are next to impossible and very dangerous.  Many trails have slippery slopes, especially after rains or during the winter snow and ice. The items we use to navigate slippery trails are the following... (1) sturdy shoes or boots, (2) spike grips for shoes or boots, (3) two 25' ropes, (4) a good walking stick.

Sturdy shoes or boots are obvious... we say “obvious” but we see people on the trails in “flip-flops”... PLEASE don't do that!!! Sometimes you will need boots to cross streams but usually a good sturdy pair of shoes (like shown in the picture below) will suffice.  There are many different kinds of spike grips (and they are called many different things... spike grips, ice cleats, crampons, stud grips, chain cleats, traction cleats, etc.)  We have used chain cleats that do not include spike grips and we do not recommend using chains only... you must have spikes as shown in the picture... especially if you are walking on ice trails!  The ones we use are made by Yuedge that contain 18 spike teeth and sell for around $22 from Amazon.  You can find many other varieties that have fewer teeth and cost a bit less.  We cannot give a 100% guarantee that the teeth will not bend (they will when you happen to step on a big rock)... we carry a pair of pliers and bend them back in shape when that happens.  All in all the spikes are quite durable and we have had very few problems.  98% of the time you will not need cleats but when you do need them they can be lifesavers... the Yuedge spike grips also come with a nice drawstring bag that fits nicely in our backpack (make sure you fold the spikes against each other so the spikes do not punch holes in the drawstring bag; and the backpack).

We also carry two 25' ropes that we can tie to an obliging tree to help us down and back up slippery slopes... the two ropes have snap hooks on the ends so we can make a 50' rope when needed... only once did we need a 70' rope!

And lastly, a sturdy walking stick with a spike in the end can be helpful and in some cases essential (some of the collapsible walking sticks you buy in a store are not sturdy... cut one out of a sturdy tree limb that is at least 5 foot long and 1" or more in diameter).  These comments are not intended to cover all possibilities of danger that may be encountered in trail walking... be cautious, be careful, and use common sense!

Regards to everyone and Have Fun Waterfalling!
Bob Schneider

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