Now your gift-giver has several ideas from you to make you very happy on Dec 25. Here’s an essential item that, like boots, is a little pricey (I hate that term – use “expensive.”) I’m talking about Trekking/Hiking poles. They are synonyms. Why is a a trek different than a hike? Beats me.
When I first started my obsession with Half Dome in1990, no one used poles. Then I noticed a few Europeans with them. Hmmm, Whazat? After hearing the explanation, I decided to try them. I since do every hike (training or real McCoy) with my poles. 3-section adjustable poles easily fit into my trunk.
The bottom line as to why you want poles is 3-fold. 1) They can take about 5% of the work off your legs when going uphill (keep them behind you and push.) 2) On level ground they give you stability and balance. Not a big deal in many places like Little Yosemite Valley, but if you are near a cliff, or on unstable rocks, they are pretty handy in keeping you upright. 3) Going downhill is where they shine. They take the stopping force off your knees (lengthen them and keep them in front.) I honestly feel I can get up or down pretty much anything with my poles.
Next – what kind should you ask for? There are a few brands to choose from. Komperdell, Black Diamond and LEKI are the big 3. Good poles will have left/right grips, shock absorbers in the shaft and quick adjustability. You can get aluminum, alloys or carbon poles, depending on your budget. Steer far away from Big Box store attempts at poles. They are made of low grade steel and don’t last. Your poles are a big investment in your hiking hobby. Look for a lifetime warranty.
One of my favorites is the LEKI Summit AS for $140.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.” – Edgar Allan Poe
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com