[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

hiking pole holes & hurricane

While out hiking on Saturday, I got to thinking about the hiking stick hole
complaint - you are right, in soft soil on downhills, where I put weight on
the pole, there is some temporary damage.  Most of the time though, I don't
put weight on the stick.  That's one reason I use an old ski pole, I can
carry it with two fingers - no weight.  Mostly I use the stick for rough
rocky ground, getting over big blowdowns, stream crossings and steep
downhills.  The other, and sometimes most important use, is that I can clear
the trail without having to stop and bend over.  The trails we hike tend to
get a lot of downed branches, and a flick of the stick clears the trail. 
Easy and fun.  We get points for making them spin and circle, lose points if
they jump back into the trail.  I figure that the good I do probably
outweighs the occasional hole in the ground.  A point that hasn't been made
about hiking sticks - on a thruhike, your stick will shorten - sometimes as
much as 4 inches.A bolt at the end will help, but be aware that your $100
stick may not last the distance.  If my $5 pole wears down or breaks, I
haven't lost much.  And they seem to take a lot of abuse.  Bamboo poles can
also be good, though they can crack. They are light weight though, and
flexible, so when they get stuck between rocks, they may not break.
As a westerner, I didn't see the point of hiking sticks except for fording
rivers, after spending 4 years in the East, clearing trail as I hike, I do
appreciate the flick of the stick.
Ginny "Spirit Walker"

PS - Thanks Marti - good write up of Sunday's fun.  Shenandoah N. Park will
not be the same.  It used to feel like a city park - now it is much more
raw.  The winds must have been ferocious up there.  In one area at least one
tree in three was down.  We cut at least 100 trees, and left some of the big
ones behind because they would have taken too much time to clear. The
district manager said that we got all but a couple of miles of the northern
district cleared over the weekend.  Of course the side trails were
untouched, and they are a mess!  It was good to be part of the big effort.