Of trekking poles and hiking staves


Photo courtesy misterlevel at Flickr

Photo courtesy misterlevel at Flickr

I knew I’d never give up using a wooden hiking staff completely on the day I first heard the sound of trekking poles on a mountainside.  Clink…clink-plink…tink…zink!  Such a weird sound they made.  They were my own poles of course; but I was already feeling self-conscious about the noise I was making.  Pretty soon, that sound was re-echoed by someone coming down the summit.  Pink…tlink…pink-tink.

And then there were the…”chicken-scratches.” Short, chalky-looking white marks on the rock ledges — most everywhere!  The many times I’d climbed the same peak in the past they were not there.  Now here was a sea of white cross-hatches, the indelible marks of the metal tips of trekking poles.

I wished for my maple hiking staff.

Now, don’t mistake me — I am not an anti-trekking-pole hiker.  They have their uses, especially since my knees appreciate the added support.  And coming downslope has proved their worth to me time and again.  Still, I oftentimes will collapse one of the two Leki’s I carry and lash it to my daypack, using just one to negotiate the trail.  When I do, I begin to feel like that confident old tri-ped I was when I last hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail in Vermont.

Photo courtesy skidargo at Flickr

Photo courtesy skidargo at Flickr

I still have the original staff I used during those long hikes, though sadly it’s in two pieces and stored in a closet.  Age, use, and time had dried out the wood, and the trusty staff broke during a Vermont trip by accident.  Can’t glue it together; that wouldn’t be safe.  Can’t throw it away either.  It’s close by my worn out Fabiano Trionic backpacking boots.

Sentimental, I know.  But, you understand…

Meanwhile — trink-tink…plink…wrink…

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2 Comments

Filed under Appalachian Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, Hiking staff, Long distance backpacking, The Appalachian Trail, Timothy J. Hodges

2 responses to “Of trekking poles and hiking staves

  1. Pingback: Hiking to the Top | Medium Town America

  2. Pingback: Ski and Trekking poles@123Mountain.com | Official blog of 123Mountain

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