Do you use one when you hike?
June 20, 2007 8:19am CST
Summer is here and many people are heading to state parks and other areas to hike. I have noticed that some people carry a long walking stick when they hike. I can see the usefulness of a hiking stick for going up inclines or down inclines, but I have noticed that some use them when just walking a flat path?! I'm not sure I fully understand the purpose of the walking stick. Do you carry/use a hiking stick when you hike?
• United States
20 Jun 07
I haven't taken any major hikes in quite a while. The last time I was on a nature trail was last year and it was relatively flat. I happened to find a nice stick to use as a walking stick. So I used it for much of the hike. They are good for warding of critters if you should be attacked, or if you accidentlly step in a small hole and lose your balance. Also, if sombody gets daring and falls into a small creek, you could use you stick to help them get out. Also they are good for probing various "areas" in the brush as you hike, you know, snake holes or animal burrows. Just to see what might be going on. Or if you see a big hornets nest in a tree, you might have the urge to poke it to see if it is active (I am kidding with this idea). As you can readily see, a walking stick preforms many functions while on a hike, even if the terrain is flat. And for us older kids, it is like a security blanket in a way. Especially if we happen to meet a grizz or some huge animal on the path. At least we would have a fighting chance..lol. And so I left my walking stick near a bench for the next hiker to use. Take care, you never know what is lurking in the woods...lol.
• United States
20 Jun 07
I have to admit I use a walking stick the past couple of years now. My legs aren't what they used to be and they get tired easily. Using a walking stick helps give me balance, and helps take some of the weight stress off of the legs and puts the stress to the forearms. I find that when I don't use it my legs get far more tired than when I do use it. If I started out hiking without one, it won't be long till I grab one to use. For me it makes the difference if I can hike or not, how far I can hike, and how much energy I expend with my legs. (Often I have to use a regular cane anymore in the house, shopping, and in the yard. I find a big stick is easier in the woods and fields than a regular cane is...grips the ground better:-)
• Marion, Kansas
20 Jun 07
I remember reading in Prevention magazine about using walking sticks, even on level ground, kind of like ski poles. It is supposed to help burn more calories, I do remember that. Useful for blocking attacks by vicious dogs, I imagine. I can see them giving better balance and possibly some upper body work. I have not seen them around here--I would feel rather conspicuous using them. I believe that in the Prevention features you got them in pairs and they were adjustable and often metal. I will look to see more on this discussion, because my memory is somewhat shot.
22 Jun 07
I've quite often picked up a long stick to hike with. Not so much on a short walk but if I'm going to be hiking a fair way or in rough terrain. I've never thought about it to be honest and it's been a while since I did any hiking. I think it's because it just makes things easier. Instead of feet and legs doing the work, by using the stick you get more of a distribution of movement and weight when you use a stick. It helps with sure footedness on rough terrain where it would be easy to tumble and twist an ankle or damage a knee or other part.