As some of you already know from my pre-hike ramblings, I was not a huge fan of trekking poles.
However, I must admit that my last-minute decision to bring a pair along was a wise one.
To give you an idea of why I have converted, here is a list of things poles are useful for:
- Leaning on when exhausted
- Hanging your laundry
- Moving undesirable plant life out of your path (poodle dog bush)
- Checking the depth of water or the stability of rocks
- Combating wild animals (bears, snakes)
- Combating rogue hikers
- Butt scratching
- Long-distance waving
- Forgetting places
- Letting hitches know you are a bum by choice
- Writing messages in the dirt
- Countless other incredibly useful functions that currently escape me
Oh, and they do help with the whole hiking thing too, especially for the up and down mountains part.
But poles are not without their flaws as well.
For example, I don't think I'll ever be able to use a pole to scratch my leg whilst hiking without tripping myself (though I continue to try), and my poles have proven rather ineffective when it comes to impressing the ladies in town (maybe they are just intimidated).
I will not be using poles on any short hikes I embark upon in the future (that is, if I ever decide to hike anywhere ever again), but for long-distance hikes, I would name them a worthy investment (unless of course you have gone the way of the über ultralight and you see no benefit to using these glorified walking sticks (or repurposed ski poles)).
If my poles avoid being left behind in a restaurant or hotel lobby, and they somehow end up in Canada (if I somehow end up in Canada), then they will surely have proven to me that they are more than just another hiking gimmick. Maybe I will even invest in my own pair someday (that's right, I borrowed my poles), but probably not since, as I said, I will likely never hike another day as long as I live.
Though not the most glamorous or fun or hiking accessories, trekking poles are marginally useful and I am glad to have them along for the ride.