"Before You Go"

"Waterfalling" is fun, but "prepare" before heading out to see waterfalls!  Some of the waterfalls and rapids 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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