Everyday that goes by I learn that there is so much more I have to learn about this entire trekking/hiking/camping in the middle of the mountains experience I am setting up for myself. Some days I’m learning about socks. Some days I’m learning about what my body can and can’t handle already. And today I learned about trekking poles and why they are one of the most important pieces of equipment I could have.
I had seen trekking poles before but never truly appreciated them until my injury. While I wasn’t hiking I did a lot of reading about gear (and OMG you could read about hiking gear for ever and still not get through it all) and discovered that a lot of hikers start out thinking they don’t want or need them and then change to them, never going back.
The obvious benefits are you can use your arms more to climb hills or navigate down slopes. This is where I got hurt. I learned a critical lesson that day about always having at least one point of contact on the ground at all times. The poles help with this. All of the studies also show that they reduce the wear and tear on your legs and knees over long distances. They can help with rocky surfaces like we have in Pennsylvania and my favorite reason I’ve seen is that they can “Help deter bears, wild dogs, and other wildlife” The more I researched all of this the more I realized it was not an option to be hiking without them any more
I took advantage of the holiday sales and purchased my own set of Black Diamond 4 Season Trail hiking poles. Black Diamond has a fantastic reputation and these poles were highly rated by users online. What I particularly like about them is that they have a clip and release system they refer to as the “Smashlock System”. It reminds me of how my old cymbal stands used to lock together so I find an enormous amount of comfort in the system. The shafts are an Aluminum Carbon Fiber comb that makes them durable on everything under a tundra rated trek condition. They have cork handles which are easier to maintain and less wearing on the hands. I learned that these poles range in price from $50 to $190. These were in the middle and seemed like a reasonable expenditure for the benefit I’m going to receive from them.
There is a link below to the pole I purchased. I’ll be trying them out tomorrow for the first and I’m excited to use them. I know it may seem a little silly to be talking about trekking poles on a blog but for me, each time I buy a new piece of gear that will be going on the trail with me it because a little more real. Hiking Montgomery County PA and talking about the Appalachian Trail is one thing. Having the gear in your hands and going out and doing it something very different. This is another step closer to my first section. It’s exciting and I’m glad you’re here with me.
See you on the trail
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles