Hike Like a Goat: Part 4—Hiking Poles

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My Honey, using the hiking pole for stability and to pull herself up out of the creek bed

Hike like a Goat

A 7-Part Skills Series

Part 4—Hiking Poles

This 7-part series came out of a conversation that my Honey and I had about being sure footed on the trail. She wanted to leave the fear of falling behind with all of its timidness and tentativeness. In other words she wanted to Walk Like a Goat. When I said that the first time to her, she wanted to know what that meant because it sounded derogatory…until I explained: a goat is confident  and relaxed on rugged and uneven ground—so stable and skilled on her feet is that goat that falling is not even a fleeting thought. Walking Like a Goat is a high complement for any Honey on the trail.

We are going to unpack Part 4 of this series called:

Hiking Poles

“That’s for sissies,” I would mumble under my breath as an 8 year old boy. I saw ‘old people’ using ‘walking sticks’ and thought that was nice since they needed that to keep from falling down…in their old age. At that time I divided the whole world in sissies and heroes.

What I didn’t know then is that the hiking pole is a highly developed skillfully designed tool of the craft. A true hero type tool! I also didn’t know that those ‘old people’ were just grown ups!

Hiking poles are not just for balance—

  • Use at least one if the darkness buggers up your depth perception
  • Use two to climb with—actually forcing your body up with your arms
  • Use them to provide relief to your lower back especially if you are carrying a heavy pack
  • Use them when the trail is slippery so that you always have one foot and opposite pole on the ground at all times
  • Use them when the surface is hidden like in snow or leaf cover so you can tell where solid ground is
  • Use them down in the creek to steady your self when crossing on stones
  • Use them out in front of you in deep water to test the risk of the next step
  • Use them to clear spider webs that are ofter across the trail
  • Use them as two more poles to support a tarp
  • Use them between two stumps as a drying rack for wet socks
  • Use them for ______________________(you fill in the blank)

I recommend keeping your wrist through the strap on each pole so that you don’t lose one in the creek or off the side of a mountain. The strap will also allow you to hold the pole loosely to avoid having your hands go to sleep from constant gripping.

Hiking poles can be as little as $30 for a set to some super nice ones for a few hundred bucks. The material the pole is made out of for strength and how they fold or telescope will affect the price.

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Hiker Honey using her “steeek” for control coming down a steep incline

In these pictures, my Honey, Loral, is demonstrating two of the many ways to effectively use a Hiking Pole. She prefers to use one (and then ask me to carry it when she doesn’t need it 🙂

Having a hiking pole and using it well is another way to increase your confidence and fun quotient on the trail. You wouldn’t want to add slipping to the Oopsies of the Trail.

In this series so far see Parts 1-3

1. Plan to Fall

2. Center of Gravity

3. Surface Contact

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4 thoughts on “Hike Like a Goat: Part 4—Hiking Poles”

    1. Thanks Donna for helping to lead the way to a great learning experience! It has helped to define What, Who, Why and How for defining the niche.

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