backpacking
8 hours ago

Considering it is monsoon season, I studied the hell out of this hike before leaving. They really put the fear into you about flash flooding and we obsessed over the weather. Greg Grawunder's review is excellent and mostly what I used in my planning process. Here's what I have to add:

Absolutely bring at least one trekking pole. Everyone in our group had a set of two but me, and I didn't feel I was lacking anything. It was very useful to be able to use my free hand to scramble around obstacles and fiddle with my camera. You will especially appreciate the pole on the second day where the water gets deeper and faster, and you are starting to feel the mileage. It's especially helpful to test the depth of the water with since it's murky with the hordes of people stomping through it.

I was the only person in our party that didn't buy neoprene socks. I read someplace that merino wool socks are just as good, and I would agree for this time of year. My feet never got cold, and they drained well. They also dried completely overnight. I wore well-vented trail shoes and my ankles were just fine.

I highly recommend camping overnight if you can. We stayed in campsite 3 and it was delightful. It's high enough above the water to not feel worried as I drifted off to sleep, and people don't walk through your camp. The first 2 campsites are right on the river and that would have made me super nervous. Sites 6, 7, and 9 looked pretty rad also. It was great to rest, dry off, and then hit the harder parts (and the chaos) the next day. Sleeping by the river was awesome. A person in our party had a hammock and was able to find suitable trees to use. Plenty of space for 6 people with lots of wiggle room. I slept in an Outdoor Research Bug Bivy and a synthetic 45 degree bag and was toasty. Didn't see many bugs or critters.

My phone tracked 20.5 miles.

This hike was spectacular. Seriously don't forget to stop and look up, around, and behind you.