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[pct-l] Trekking Poles? YOU BET

"n a couple of shakedown hikes, I've used trekking poles, but both times I
found them to be more of a hassle that a help.:"

<set passion on>
After a good 5 miles of training with a 45lb pack, on totally flat farm
roads, I was sure they were worthless.  Having spent $80 for them, I
persisted for another 5 miles.  The light went on.  The rhythm, a slight
lean to the front, and a constant use of the arms to "pull" me forward...I
LOVE em now that I finally figured out how to use them properly.  I used
them on a leisurely 6 day/40 mile/two pass trip this summer...wow, MUCH
easier climbing, and none of those adrenalin pumping near sit downs on the
down side.  Finally, they saved my, and my companion's butt (he didn't have
any).  We were climbing up the "back way" to Gooddale pass, and came upon a
foreboding ice/snow chute.  The choice was to give up a 1000+ feet of climb
and go back, or try to go up.  With my poles I had no problem. Stick one in
the hardpack snow, place boot against it, and move up...Dick was "frozen" in
a steep spot.  I passed him one of my trekking poles...turns out one is
enough to give you a sure purchase.  We made it up the shoot...saved a major

A story:  My daughter and I climbed up to Half dome (in Yosemite) (16
miles/3000+ foot climb).  We got a very late start, and by magic, it was
tender, shirtsleeve weather up on top. Of course I used my trekking poles.
We lingered until almost sunset (bad idea...eight miles of down trail with
an hour or so of good light).  We did have a small flashlight.  Still we had
to share it.  Walking at night with poles is EASY...we each used one.  No
falls, and could easily avoid holes and obstructions.  I know, it was dumb
to be up there walking in a moonless, starry night...but I'd do it again
(with a bigger flashlight, of course!)

Another story:  My son (with bad knees) went straight to REI after a
training hike with me, where he went downhill with almost no pain using the
extended poles.  I would not/do not hike without them now.
<set passion off>

PS there are some pictures of that hike on the website below if you're
interested.  A couple of them make good screensavers.

"When you feel the winds of change, build a windmill, not a windbreak"

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