Hiking Poles. They Are as Necessary as Your Best Hiking Shoes.
Many people scoff at using hiking poles. Perhaps they equate them to old age and should only be used by seniors while on the trail.
What a myth. Hiking poles should be on the top of your list whenever you set out for a hike in the wilderness. Here are our three best reasons why…
- Safety. There is no question about it, if you use the poles you will be much safer during your hike. Hiking on a trail in the woods is not similar to a paved sidewalk. The trail is possibly full of obstacles that may easily cause a person to trip and fall. This is especially true while hiking in an area of steep hills and gullies with creeks crossing periodically. Along the many hiking trails on the west coast and in the Appellation mountains of the east it is quite certain you will be required to cross over or through fast running creeks. Rocks are mostly slippery and you may fall quickly. Possibly the creek may be bridged by felling a large tree. These might be so slippery a centipede could not help but slip and fall.
In these situations your hiking poles will add stability and help to keep your balance.
- In a medical emergency. Tripping over a root or rock or stepping into an unseen hole is easily done and many an ankle or even legs, arms or collarbones has been broken while doing so. My wife and I were hiking on a fairly flat, well maintained trail on Vancouver Island after a rain. Near the turnaround point we had to climb over an innocent boulder that was about three feet high. As a rule we always held hands while hiking but she let my hand go to get better balance while mounting the boulder. Her intent was to easily jump down the other side. Unfortunately she slipped on the wet surface and fell with her hand out to break her fall. in a moment her wrist began to swell and after walking the two miles back to the car we headed to the hospital where x-rays revealed he wrist was broken. Hiking sticks may have saved many weeks of pain and discomfort.
A friend was hiking in a remote area well away from his vehicle. He fell over a root and even though he had hiking poles. He suffered a broken tibia. His companion was able to break his hiking sticks in pieces and using shreds of material from a shirt, created a splint, bound his leg, and he managed with a great deal of pain and support, hobbled back to the vehicle.
- Animal attack. A few years ago a hiker in Montana was stalked by a wild cougar. The animal must have been injured and unable to catch food. It had followed the hiker, stalking him. Fortunately the hiker had hiking sticks and decided to attack the cougar first. He made for the animal swinging the poles from side to side. Luckily the animal got the message and backed off and left the area.
For your own good, get a pair of good solid poles and use them. They may save your life someday.
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