Adventures of the Pacific Northwest
By Gene Hancock
Getting into a new hobby or sport can be exciting and rewarding. To make the best of it, do some research and become familiar with the activity that you want to pursue.
This week’s topic we’re covering Trekking Poles. Contrary to public opinion, poles are not recommended for elderly or poor footed hikers. For those unsure of their footing, poles will only enhance the problem.
For experienced veterans, however, having Trekking Poles in hand or at the ready is a must. Poles not only help with balance and safety over treacherous terrains, but they also take some of the load off your legs during a long-haul hike. Trekking Poles distribute your weight primarily onto your arms for a full body workout.
To better prepare you, remember that downhill is where most injuries occur. Let’s say that your descending down a trail while carrying a 20 or 50-pound pack on your back. In that kind of situation, Trekking Poles serve as your insurance. All it takes is one misstep and the next thig you know, you’ve fallen. You’re injured and the weekend is ruined. Thus, it’s best to keep poles in mind if you like to hike with a lot of equipment.
There are many different styles of poles ranging from $20 telescopic models to more expensive $200 retractable types. While the latter is pricey, they can be packed inside your pack and are usually easier to assemble when needed.
The different types of removable tips and globes for the poles also depend on the price range as to how many styles you can choose from. What you want to be looking for is a good cork handle grip. A strong lanyard is also an important feature.
If you have bad knees or weak ankles, Trekking Poles can turn a few miles of grueling path into an enjoyable excursion rather than a painful, unpleasant return to the car. Whatever the aches and pains, remember that a good pair of feet will always be a requirement.
If you are new to hiking or have just never considered using Trekking Poles, I say give them a shot. You will be glad you did. As all the best hikers say, it’s better to have something and not need it than to need it and wish you had it!
There are some great trails and good times waiting for you out there. Get out and claim your Pacific Northwest! Safe Travels.