In our series on micro adventures, Daniel Zuberbühler and Pascal Haltiner from Fajro show you what a micro adventure needs and present ideas for excursions. In today's post, they take you on a creek hike and explain what to look out for.
A contribution by Daniel Zuberbühler and Pascal Haltiner from Fajro - with the support of Seat to Summit
The sun is shining and the first days of summer have passed. The perfect moment to plunge into the cool water again and replace the hiking trail with a stream. In a well-chosen stream trek, the adventure factor is super big and includes a multitude of varied obstacles that have to be mastered. The nice thing about Switzerland is that we have smaller and larger streams everywhere that are just waiting to be climbed. We plunged into Urnäsch in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden for you.
Five-hour wilderness adventure
After five hours of climbing, jumping, swimming and carefully finding the cheapest way in cold water, we look forward to our wonderful lentil stew, which is fragrant and steaming in our plates. What a fulfilling micro adventure and a real one at that.
We had chosen a difficult stage of the Urnäsch for the afternoon, where the first part was particularly tough and sparked the start fireworks with challenging treats. The tour begins with many jumps, climbing passages and longer swimming routes and then runs through an enchanting natural landscape for almost five kilometers from the Zürchersmühle to the Auensteg.
Starting point of the tour: Zürchersmühle AR
You have to pay attention to this: exit options, hydrodata and more
Being on the move on demanding ground requires very careful and concentrated movement. In addition, not every stream has constant opportunities to exit the Tobel or even the gorge.
So first of all, think about what exactly you want to do for an adventure. Should it be an easy stream hike to follow new tracks or would you rather go towards mini-canyoning, where you can only get further with aids such as a rope. You can often find information on the Internet or you can access a compilation of tours in a canyon book.
You should also definitely have the Hydrodata and include the weather in your planning, because too much water or a suddenly rising brook due to rain can be super dangerous and with too little water, trekking is usually not fun, because you should get a little wet.
Out and about in untouched landscapes
We started our tour two days after the last rains. It is ideal if you wait 3-4 days. Usually, a lot has calmed down in the gorge and you can be safely on the road, at least as far as the water level is concerned.
If you cannot do a tour already described, then check exactly how you want to master it, what material you need for it and where you have suitable exits. Gorges are wild, sometimes unspoiled natural landscapes. So it is clear that each tour is different again and the level of difficulty can change at any time. Sometimes it is a tree that has fallen across the stream and other times it has a rock where there was none before.
At first glance, a creek hike seems easy and undemanding, but it can be challenging due to its diversity depending on the level of difficulty and it is therefore important to know your limits.
Have the courage to turn around
Therefore, as with all other outdoor activities, here too - know your limits. While planning, estimate how your current condition is and whether you are up to the adventure and its level of difficulty.
Do not climb into the stream alone, take a friend with you and enjoy the adventure trip as a couple or as a small group. You must take your phone with you (by the way, it is worth buying something that keeps the phone dry), even if you have no reception in places in the gorge. If you come to places where you cannot guarantee safe walking, have the courage to turn around and cancel the tour.
If you are traveling in Eastern Switzerland, you will find in the Eastern Switzerland's Gorges Book by Urs Brosy a lot of inspiration.
The weather and temperatures have a big impact
Check the weather, even in the catchment area of the stream. In Switzerland, streams often rise relatively quickly when it rains somewhere in the mountain catchment area. Last but not least, inquire about the water temperature. Urnäsch was cold between 12.5 and 16.5 degrees Celsius on our tour, so we would have loved to have a wetsuit with us. Many swimming passages can push you to your limits.
It is ideal if the water is between 17 and 20 degrees warm. The water temperatures differ from stream to stream and are also relatively strong within a day. A look at the hydrodata of the Urnäsch shows that the water temperatures fluctuate around 5 degrees within a day. The creeks are always warmest in the evening.
If the tour lasts several days, you will of course need everything for your bedroom. We have a tarp for our overnight stay (Escapist 15D tarp), a hammock (Per hammock set), as well as a sleeping bag (Spark II) taken away. If it should get colder at night, it is best to put a sleeping mat in the hammock (example: Ether Light XT Insulated) So the day can end wonderfully. It makes sense if you coordinate with each other who has what with them. So both wear a little less. A brook trek is a perfect 5 to 9 (17.00 p.m. to 09.00 a.m.) micro adventure on a hot summer day. So get out of the office and into adventure. Enjoy your tour!
This equipment is needed for a stream hike
Take enough but not too much material with you. Here is the equipment we had with us on our creek trekking:
- Waterproof roll bag or backpack: We used the for the tour Hydraulic dry pack 35l. If you don't have both, you can put everything that should stay dry in a roll bag (Ultra Sil View Drysack) or pack a plastic bag.
- Sneakers or water shoes: Good shoes are essential. You have to be sure-footed in a stream.
- Clothes for in the water: We recommend slightly more robust swimming trunks or short bike pants and a top - long or short-sleeved. The best thing is something that dries reasonably quickly and does not tear immediately when you climb over the stones or trees.
- Replacement clothing and shoes: There is nothing better than getting into warm and dry clothes and shoes after the tour and sitting comfortably around the fire. Even if you have to carry a little more, it's worth it.
- Wetsuit and socks): It works quite well without. If you go on a long tour in colder water, neoprene socks and a wetsuit are worth their weight in gold.
- Seil: A 20-30m Static rope should always be there for a tour. It can give you a lot of security on difficult passages. Depending on the tour, there are also abseiling spots - then of course you also need a climbing harness and abseiling equipment.
- Eat Drink: Definitely take something for the energy in between and of course water to drink. We also had our cook set on our tour (Sigma pans from Seat to Summit) included. So after our “work” we could have a beer and delicious food to finish off the day. Priceless.
- First aid kit: Something can always happen. Of the First Aid Dry Sack is always with us.
Series of articles with ideas and tips for micro adventures
Now it's your turn. Over the next six months, with the support of Sea to Summit, we will introduce you to one micro adventure per month and let you immerse yourself in the world of micro adventures. As part of our series of articles, we will give you monthly tips for your outdoor excursions until the end of the year. Until then: Call your friend or delight your girlfriend, go out with your family and pack your backpack. Now is the right time for a little big adventure. We'll see you outside!
Fajro specializes in experiential pedagogy and action-oriented learning, nature coaching, accompanying development processes and jointly exploring new paths. We are outside and make use of nature as a living space of experience.
When we at Fajro speak of micro-adventure, we mean the pleasurable and playful immersion in nature. An immersion that will sooner or later take everyone, young or old, out of their daily grind - into a world full of voyages of discovery and deceleration. Micro-adventures should open up the little wonders that are often unseen on the doorstep and inspire individuals and families to go outside. Having time for yourself, with friends or for family is almost as valuable as gold in our current reality and if you don't have enough time for big adventures, then you should just make them smaller. With the series of articles we would like to invite you people to brave the outdoors and immerse yourself in many micro-adventures.