"Before You Go"
"Waterfalling" is fun, but
"prepare" before heading out to see waterfalls! Some of the waterfalls
are easy to access and some are next to impossible and very dangerous.
Many waterfall/rapid areas do not have barriers to keep you away from
dangerous areas which means you will be exposed to dangerous slippery slopes
and rocks... please be careful!
Depending on the time of year, some of the sites are inaccessible because
of snow, muddy access roads, muddy trails to the site, etc. Some of
the waterfalls and rapids are in very remote locations that will require miles of
walking! If it looks like rain... take raingear. If it's
summertime... take mosquito repellent (waterfalls have water and mosquito's
like water). If it's hot... take a hat, sunscreen, bug spray and
drinking water. If the falls or rapids are remote... take a compass or GPS to find
your way back (we carry red/orange nylon trail tape to tie on tree limbs... a mile into the
woods with no path can really get you lost). Some of the remote locations are "really" remote... be
prepared for anything (bears, skunks, porcupines, wolves, fox, etc.)... bear
spray and a whistle (or bell) is suggested when hiking in remote locations (many of the remote
waterfalls are in known bear country...
according to the latest information
from DNR there are over
28,000 black bears in
Wisconsin and they have been seen in every county in Wisconsin... especially the north
half of the state... bears avoid human conflict, but
be aware of 4 reasons bears may
attack... (1) when you happen to walk
between a sow and her cub; (2) you
surprise them; (3) they are sick; or (4) they are defending food they have
killed... if any one of those 4
reasons apply, all bets are off.
While talking about things to avoid,
we must mention snakes.
There are the only two species of
venomous snakes in Wisconsin... the
Timber and Eastern Massasauga
Rattlesnake. They are mostly is SW
Wisconsin along the Mississippi and
Wisconsin Rivers (they have been seen
in Devils Lake State Park and as far
east as Milwaukee)... so be aware of
their possible presence. If you are going alone
make sure someone knows your plans... if at all possible have a reliable
"walkie-talkie", or cell phone,
or satellite phone so you can converse with someone that stays behind
(many remote locations do not have
cell phone coverage). And, if
possible have a companion with you... use the "buddy" system whenever
possible! Many of the waterfalls require walking along overgrown trails
thru wooded areas that are tick infested
and that contain poison oak... check your clothes often, and your
hair when you get home! If you are planning video, take a tripod... you
seldom have anything to lean against to keep the camera steady. Some of
the trails are difficult... 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 tree that is at least 5
foot long and 1" or more in diameter); sturdy walking (climbing) shoes are a necessity;
sometimes you will need mud boots...
sometimes a rope can be handy to lower yourself down a steep muddy trail or
slope... we carry two 25' ropes that attach with a clip to make a 50' rope
(which in one instance was 20' too
short). Some of the waterfalls are on private property and are not
accessible (be respectful) and illegal to access! And, conditions change... what was written
when the waterfall was visited, may have changed by the time this is read
(during our 3 years of research we
have seen areas change from private to
public and from public to private)!
These comments are not intended to cover all possibilities of danger that may
be encountered in "waterfalling"... be cautious, be careful, and use common
sense! If you do not have good "backcountry skills", and you
are not in good physical condition, you must not attempt
travel to many of the remote places listed... we disclaim any liability for injury or
damage when visiting any of the places listed.
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