Like most outdoor sports, hiking can be a lot of fun. Go out for a couple hours on a well prepared trail or you can venture out into the wilds with a good compass and map.
The nice part about walking on established trails is that volunteers usually keep them in good order, and signs are placed, letting you know various information about the environment and nature. There is plenty to learn as you go.
The other thing that we enjoy is meeting new people. We do like to hike in a group when a bunch of us decide on an outing, but it is always pleasant talking to others on the way.
Now, when we venture out for a couple hours, we don’t take much gear beyond our smaller backpacks. Needless to say, we take lots of water, a few snacks, and maybe even some sandwiches.
Grapes, for us are necessities because they rehydrate the body very quickly, provide sugar if energy is needed, and fill us up when we are hungry. Such a nice treat. I remember one time we took cucumbers and they are very refreshing!
One problem we had though, the last time we chose a trail, is we didn’t anticipate all the hills.
We went with two others, so there were four of us, and we are all quite robust and fit, but I have to admit, we really wished we had some carbon fiber hiking poles to give us stability and take the stress off our joints.
If you haven’t heard of trekking sticks or know what they do, here are eleven facts that can quickly get you up to speed.
- They are not only for hills or mountains, but work great when walking in the park or even on the city sidewalks.
- As long as you are using them properly, they do take the pressure off your elbows so that you are not so sore the next day. Plus, you save the wear and tear on your own body. Studies have shown that the sticks can support your total weight plus what you are carrying, which means your back is more relaxed.
- Helps to keep knees from buckling and giving out.
- Much more stable than your own body. Typically, if you lose your balance, you sway back and forth or side to side. By digging in with your sticks, ideally, you should stay upright and on track.
- Because the poles give the body strength and help to support the overall weight, you actually benefit from better posture. Your body is not all hunched over from the load and fatigue.
- Sticks should be bought according to length. This means that if one person is much taller than another, the same pair won’t be as effective for both persons.
- If you are into power and endurance exercising, then the poles can help trek longer.
- Circulation and breathing are better if used properly. Ideally, your arms should be above the heart.
- The sticks are a necessity when crossing streams, simply because the rocks are very slippery. You can put your sticks between the rocks, stones and mud to get better traction.
- You can push away brush or plants that are in your way. Now, the sticks are not a machete, but if you see poison ivy, for example, your sticks work wonders instead of getting it all over your skin.
- This last point is kind of obvious, but if you love trekking in the winter, you will be glad to have poles for the snow and ice.
There’s no doubt that there are lots of walking sticks on the market. And they do range in prices from as little as $30 all the way up to hundreds of dollars, so finding the right ones can be a daunting process.
But we narrowed down our list right away by only looking at carbon fiber hiking poles because they are the most durable. They are also compact and lightweight which makes them the best option for our group of walkers and hikers.