View Full Version : Swimmin' on the Trail

02-10-2006, 18:01
OK here goes a nutty set of questions but I wanna know...

Swimming on the trail:
In my years of backpacking and day hiking (Long Trail and AT in Vermont) I have always passed up opportunities to go swimming (streams, ponds, rivers, etc.) - I'm just not that much of a swimmer no matter how hot it is. I have also never come upon any backpackers in the "act."

What do you wear? Swinmsuit? Hiking shorts? Scivvy's? Au natural?
How do you dry off?
Aren't you usually covered with grasses, twigs, and mud when you emerge?
Do you just brush it all off, get back into your hiking duds, and keep on trekking?
Any special swim memories that stand out?


02-10-2006, 18:20
Depends on the year. In 2003 you could swim right on the trail. We almost had T-shirts made that said "Appalachain Swim Team".


Trail Dog
02-10-2006, 18:33
i would swim in any water hole not a drinking water source. North of Bob Peoples hostel is a nice one with a swimming area on the lake. Water falls are great, again awesome one just near Bob's place, nd aone at the very begining of the trail. A few near the Trail in NY

Some times that would be my bath. Hiking drys you very fast, just drop the pack, lose the boots and have at it.

the goat
02-10-2006, 18:46
being a sobo there are a multitude of swimming options in maine...none of which i've passed up.

i swim naked, dry w/ bandana, air dry the rest, usually smoke a cig, put bandana back on head, and keep on hiking (after i've donned my pants, of course).

as for mud & sticks.....so far i've managed to always emerge from the water w/ twig and berries on me, would be really worried if i didn't:D

the goat
02-10-2006, 18:47
p.s. anybody else swim in "nuclear lake" in ny?

02-10-2006, 18:58
You just can't beat a nice cooling swim on a hot day while hiking. I did it so many times during my thru. I would just take off my boots and socks and jump right in. Get out, put the boots back on and hike away. Some folks went in BA but not too many.:jump

02-10-2006, 19:25
I swam in anything that looked like water - mostly in my hiking shorts. After I was done, I would plop down on the dirt/rock/tree/etc. and wait for my feet to dry. Once they were, I'd stick em back in my nasty shoes and hit the trail feeling rejuevenated.

As far as being covered in mud, grass and twigs, that was pretty much a non-issue. Maybe just my feet...but that grime came off when they dried.

There were tons of places to swim on the AT. Rainbow Lake in the 100 mile wilderness, Cooper Falls Lean To - also in the 100 mile, all the rivers we crossed in the 100 mile, White River just outside of Hanover, Little Rock Pond in VT, Nuclear Lake - I didn't grow a third leg, James River, rivers and more rivers, Watauga Lake, oh and Don King and I got in Long Creek Falls to swim just before we summited Springer.

I could go on and on I suppose, but those are what I remember off the top of my head. Perhaps someone could work on posting "best swim spots on the AT" - that would be a useful thread.

02-10-2006, 23:05
Swimming is the best part of mid-summer hiking. I either go in with my shorts (in the summer I tend to hike in a bathing suit) or just go in the buck. I seek out every swimming hole that's coming up, which becomes my motivation to keep pushing on a hot day.

I even swam just about every day on an October thru-hike of the Long Trail. Water was often freezing cold but totally invigorating. Also swam most of my AT hike thru NH this past Oct.. but by the time I hit Maine it was way too cold and rainy/snowy. :(