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Re: Hiking pole holes

Michael Vaughn wrote:
>As for poles, they can certainly help if you are an infrequent hiker
>and/or you're carrying a heavy pack- particularly on rocks, stream
>crossings, and steep climbs. But, in the spirit of the "less is better"
>philosophy, I've always tried to make it without hiking sticks or poles
>of any kind. I believe it strengthens you and improves your balance and
>concentration to the point of not needing them in most situations. 

>I know the inveterate stick/pole users will disagree, but I would
>encourage you to try hiking sans poles for a while first. 

Less is worse, in my case. I have less padding, nee cartilege, in both of my 
knees and have degenerative arthritis in both joints, so hiking poles are 
now a necessity for me. I started hiking in the early 70's using neither 
staff, nor poles. I started using a staff in the late 70's, ala Colin 
Fletcher and really loved it. Then I got injured/old, whatever, and my knees 
just don't want to go down hills anymore, so in '96, I gave in (sold out?) 
and purchased poles. Best piece(s) of hiking equipment I've ever purchased. 
At least I can hike now. Without them, I would have to give it up. They do 
take some major weight off of the knee joints. 

Peter H. Fornof