My First Hike Using Trekking Poles

hiking poles and bench 9-23-15
My waist pack and poles and the trail. There are benches like these every few miles with a view of the lake

It was awkward at first and for the life of me how do people move arms as fast of their feet using these things.  Not for me; no can do.  I take 3 to 4 steps with every arm swing with the poles and honestly if I didn’t… well, can’t imagine getting anywhere that way.  A few times I had to stop and laugh at myself because I tripped over one.  Really Joy?  That was excellent and helps a lot!  ha ha

Sometimes I thought it was like swimming, reaching out with the poles in harmony with leg rhythm.  Yep, I’d think.  I’m just here swimming through the woods.  And I’d laugh again.

I probably laugh too much when I hike.  Like when I’d not seen a soul for an hour or so (weekday) and it was just me and the trees and a few squirrels for the longest time (didn’t see any deer that day)… and it was the breeze too–wind just moving through the trees steadily and leaves falling.  Well, anyway at one point the breeze really picked up to a wind and the trees really danced and I looked up and called out in a fairly loud voice, “Yeah, that’s right mother!”  (Mother nature and Goddess).  And then right after that I look up to see a man coming toward me on the trail with his dog.  Had to laugh again then too at being caught talking to the trees et al.  

Whatever, because I get a really don’t care attitude when I hike anyway.

Anyhow, back to the poles.  I see the pro’s and con’s and the jury is still out.  It’s a 50-50 thing.  I see they do help or better said, it’s more of a “feel” that they help, especially on the uphills.  But they will take more getting used to.  There’s a lack of freedom that comes with them somehow–like slight entrapment with the hands in the straps, but of course I need the straps, don’t I?  

I kept thinking I may be using them wrong because in videos they show opposite hand with opposite foot but I gave up on that in a few minutes and gave my arms and poles intuitive ruler-ship like I did with my feet a few hikes ago.  I trusted in the wisdom of the arms like I trusted in the wisdom of my feet realizing overthinking this stuff is more of a detriment.

Besides, I thought, I dare one of these trees or squirrels to tell me I’m using my trekking poles wrong!  Ha!  

I biked (spin biking interval workouts) at the gym the two days prior to my hike that day and my knee was hurting even before the hike started and the poles didn’t prevent that.  I was a little despondent about that because the last hike was virtually pain free–the feeling of having engaged in some back sliding was tough to shake.

Joy 9-25-15 hike traihead
At the 5 mile trail’s end

I make the 5 mile trek and it took 2:25 min. this time–a little bit longer due to figuring the best way to used those poles.   I stopped the clock to sit a  few times on a bench not that I needed the rest but to simply enjoy the trees, the silence and the awesome breezes of the day.  It was the Autumn Equinox–the first day of Fall and the official end of summer and the weather felt like it too!

Now, however, we have a rain system that moved in and so…

…the trails right now will be bubbly muddy mess.  If my knee wasn’t so temperamental, I’d put on old shoes and just go for it but I think better to use the time to return to my search for scholarships for my grandson for now.  Dryer, cooler and sunnier days are ahead.    Current humidity is 98%.    My daughter and I were going to attempt the 9 1/2 mile trail with higher elevations on Sunday, but doesn’t look like it will be the best day for it.  Gosh darn rain!   She wants to wait for a better day and I promised her we’d have the adventure together and that I’d wait.  

I was going to hike 15 miles this week again–that’s not happening.  

Well, anyway, I got trekking poles– my first piece of equipment for my “someday-over-the-rainbow-why-can’t-I?” Appalachian Trail hike!

BOOK UPDATE: I finished the book Lost on the Appalachian Trail and while …

…really of all the one’s I’ve read, it’s right up there at the top!  He hikes with is dog and it’s quite an adventure. His accounts of snake encounters gave me the shivers but when I reached the end of the book, I felt a bit less fearful and apprehensive about a possible snake encounter of my own.

I’m now reading a book by an English guy called Balancing on Blue about hiking the A.T. also; yet felt bored with it within the first chapter.  I clicked off and started reading someone’s trail journal blog and find it more enjoyable.

PS- the poles I got were the only ones available in this town (Dicks Sporting Goods).  I didn’t want to wait to place an online order and read the reviews on these on the DSG website so I figured I’d give them a try.  They are made by EASTON and they are aluminum (Series 7075).  I just don’t know about the wrist straps.  I have small wrists and have them shortened to the maximum the straps permit.  I’ve read conflicting information about if you put your hand into the strap from the bottom or the top.  And then I’ve read some people cut the straps off completely.  So who knows.  If any readers have input on that, I’m open to receiving comments.  Oh and there are rubber tips on the poles but you can remove those if you need more of a pointed spike to dig into the earth I guess.  Also it comes with wider baskets at the bottom for use in snow or mud to keep the poles from sinking down although I’m not sure how well that would work.

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3 thoughts on “My First Hike Using Trekking Poles

  1. I have yet to try them. I’ve been hiking with a “walking stick” for years. It’s light and strong and does not get in my way. It’s even scooted a critter or two out of harms way, if you get my drift. I think I’ll stick with my stick for a while, no offense to those who favor modern technology in the wilderness.

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      1. I’ve been a “woodsman” since, well, forever. Not so many overnights but covering ground. I used to be a hunter but switched to a Nikon years ago. The walking stick did not get much use during hunts (hands were busy with the tools of the hunter) but the stick came out when I started hunting with just a camera. More recently the long put off plan to hike the AT got reactivated and the stick got dusted off to help my aging knees on the ups and downs. I have read with interest the many words written by those much wiser in the ways of the trail than me about the invaluable assistance trekking poles provide. I’m just not convinced. I’ve been over all types of ground with no stick or poles at all and faired just fine so i guess to each his own. I’ll carry my “Moses Staff” for now as I train for my AT 2017 walk.

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