To Pole ...or Not to Pole?
stubborn me, wrote off using trekking poles without ever giving them a try. I was convinced that since I had always hiked without poles, that I didn't need them. It wasn't until someone messaged me on instagram saying "wow, I'm surprised you don't use poles! You should really give them a try" that I said thought maybe I'm missing something...
I reached out to my friends at Trekology to see if I could test their poles. Back story on my relationship with Trekology - I had tested their collapsible chairs and table set back over the summer and really liked and trusted their products. Lightweight, durable and perfect for carrying while hiking - their collection proved to be something I could trust, making them a perfect choice for testing out trekking poles.
I received my trekking poles back in the end of September. They arrive in a small black bag, all folded up and ready to go! I took them out and assembled them, they come with instructions but these poles were definitely self explanatory to put together. They were lightweight and easy to collapse, which made them perfect to clip on my backpack....now to see what all the hype was about.
I had a 15 mile high peak hike planned for the following weekend and decided to bring the poles on my journey.
The day had come to use my poles, I had been hiking for about an hour and when we started hiking up Bear Den Mountain via the HG Leach trail, I started getting a bit fatigued. And this is when my boyfriend said to me, "maybe this is a good time to try out your poles!!"
I pulled them off of my backpack, quickly snapped them together and continued on my ascent up the trail. WHAT?! This took a HUGE weight off my leg muscles, giving them a bit of a break, I was able to power through this section of the mountain. It also helped me with balance, I was able to ground myself more in the sections of loose dirt with these poles and that made for a sure fire way to give my calf muscles a nice and well-deserved break.
We ascended and I said to Greg "phew! That actually was a huge help!" I used them for the remainder of my incline and then when we began to descend down Elk Pass (a very steep section of trail down from nippletop featuring lots of slab climbing), this is where the poles turned from a help to almost a necessity!
I had one pole in hand at this point (because I like to keep the other hand open to hold the rock, or roots on the path) and helped stabilize myself throughout the grueling mile descent down this vertical section of trail.
I reached the bottom and realized how much these poles helped alleviate pressure on my ankles, knees, hips, and overall joints on the descent. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL THESE HIKES??
Well there you have it, try new things, be open to tools that can make your life (on and off the mountain easier) and don't be stubborn like me.
The answer is: TO POLE. (and I've been doing it ever since)
Definitely use trekking poles, they help alleviate pressure on your joints, help your balance and definitely assist in your climb - giving you a full body workout!
The exact set of poles I used were these: TREKZ-Cork