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Re: [John Muir Trail] Trekking poles vs. hiking stick

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  • John Ladd
    Some trekking poles convert to a traditional walking stick as needed. I like this one, a no-longer sold Leki Extreme Probe with Photo System (removing one
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 27, 2012
      Some trekking poles convert to a traditional walking stick as needed. I like this one, a no-longer sold Leki Extreme Probe with Photo System (removing one handle reveals a camera mount screw)

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      The handle screws off and fully extended (it's a 2-part pole) it makes a nice hiking staff.  I mostly (90%) use it in the usual "trekking pole" configuration but on steep, uneven descents I find I like to take off the handle and use it as a staff.  It has a camera mount under the handle, so it also serves as a monopod for camera or binoculars.

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      That all said, I usually prefer the three-part Flip-lock poles from Black Diamond because I think it is important to adjust the length properly to the changing terrain and the flip locks do a great job of facilitating easy length adjustments.  On my last trip, I took one of the Leki's and one of the Black Diamonds and they made a good combination. When using the Leki as a staff, I lashed the BD to the pack.

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      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279


      On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM, Gail <forgetwho@...> wrote:
       

      Is there anyone else out there who prefers a hiking stick to trekking poles?

      Back in the 70s when I started backpacking I just picked up sticks along the trail and used them as hiking sticks. In the early 90s someone gave me a beautiful hand-carved hiking stick that I still mostly use. But in 2002 I went on a commercial trip that specified trekking poles on its equipment list, and I bought a pair of Komperdells at that time. I used them but didn't like them - I felt awkward using them, found that they either collapsed on me when I least wanted them to or else that I'd tightened them so much I couldn't retract them, sometimes got tripped up when they caught between rocks, felt like they were often in the way, and just didn't feel like they helped. So I put them in the closet after that trip and went back to my hiking stick.

      Recently I've come under considerable peer pressure to give trekking poles another try. I borrowed and watched a video on their proper use, and I've practiced what I learned there. I've carried the poles on several day hikes and on two backpacking trips this summer (short ones - two nights and six nights, respectively). And I'm still not convinced. I'm told the poles help with back and knee problems, but I'm fortunate enough not to have physical issues. (Then I was told that the poles would prevent such issues from arising - a claim that strikes me as impossible to either prove or disprove.) I'm told that they reduce fatigue, but I haven't felt that they've made a difference to me. I continue to feel that they are awkward.

      The one area in which I think I MIGHT find them helpful is in stream crossings. Neither of my trips this summer presented an opportunity to check that out. But wouldn't a hiking stick be just as big a help in stream crossings?

      Am I missing something? Thanks...


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