Should I Use Trekking Poles?

The Farming Daughter Blog: Should I Use Trekking Poles? (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2017/02/20/should-i-use-trekking-poles)

Should I use trekking poles?

As I started hiking more frequently I remember asking myself this very question. It seemed like the mark of a thru hiker was a pole in each fist, and if the “professionals” were using them, then I should as well, right?

On the other hand, I’m not a very graceful person so if I couldn’t even walk without tripping over my own feet how would I manage while worrying about two extra sticks? Plus, would the benefits of trekking poles outweigh the hassle of not having my hands free to snack while walking or snap a pic? And I have to admit, I was secretly afraid of projecting a facade of more hiking expertise than I actually possessed.

These concerns, coupled with a reluctance to spend money on something I might end up disliking kept me from buying trekking poles. Thankfully, my sweet mother made the decision for me and bought me a pair for my birthday last year. After using them on almost every hike I’ve gone on since then (including snowshoeing) I’d like to share my reasons I think you should at least give trekking poles a chance.

1. Trekking poles give you stability.

The first 5 minutes of using my trekking poles I doubted I would like them. I seemed to knock them against every root and stone in my path and they felt awkward and cumbersome in my hands. So much for supporting me, I thought. These things trip me up more than they help. Good for me I didn’t quit, because I quickly picked up the rhythm of stepping with my feet and swinging my poles. Once I was in the groove, I soon realized how helpful my poles were at keeping me from stumbling. They provide two extra points of contact with the ground that help to keep my balance. They also work splendidly to help you feel more secure on steep downward descents.

2. Trekking poles put your whole body to work.

Hiking is essentially walking long distances in the woods. It’s great for giving your lower body and cardio a workout, but no so much the rest of your body. That is, unless you use trekking poles. Using trekking poles causes you to engage your arms and upper body, giving you an awesome full body work out.

3. Trekking poles help you to power through challenging parts of the trail.

Because you now have your arms and upper body engaged while hiking it makes it easier hiking through steep or challenging sections of the trail. I have often found my poles are just the extra “boost” I need to assist me up a daunting incline.

4. Trekking poles take stress off your knees and lower joints.

Since your whole body is engaged while using trekking poles the impact is also distributed. Ironically, for being an avid hiker I have problems with feet, leg, and knee pain. Using trekking poles makes my arms and upper body go to work and helps take some of the stress off my knees and lower joints. I really wish I had used trekking poles on my September 2015 backpacking trip when I was hiking on a sprained ankle!

5. Trekking poles are multi-purposed.

Trekking poles aren’t only for helping you to walk! They work great for sounding out the depth of creeks or snow. There are some ultra-light tents that shave weight by using your trekking poles as the poles to hold up your shelter. You can purchase camera mounts that attach and turn your trekking poles into a mono-pod for photography. And lets all admit, who doesn’t feel at least a bit more protected from predators with two sturdy sticks in their hands?

And finally…

6. Trekking poles help you to hike faster.

The combination of stability, a fully engaged body, assistance on precipitous parts of the trail, and decreased hiking pain naturally means you’re going to hike faster. Granted, speed isn’t everything, but sometimes I appreciate being able to maximize my time in the outdoors and cover more ground.

Is there any time when you shouldn’t use trekking poles? If you’re planning on walking at a more leisurely pace trekking poles aren’t always necessary, when you’re going to be doing an activity that requires the use of your hands (such as photography) it might be best to leave them at home, and if you’re in a group walking close together poles might get in the way of others.

If you’re still not fully convinced that you need trekking poles and are hesitant like I was to drop the dough on them, I recommend you start out with a cheaper pair just to give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised with how well my Yukon Charlie’s Trek Lite Anti-Shock Poles worked! So far they’ve proven very durable, it’s relatively easy to adjust the length, and for only $50 they surprisingly still have the high-end feature of cork grips. You can find them here, or search on Amazon.com where certain colors are even cheaper.

my-trekking-poles

I hope this post has convinced you to at least give trekking poles a chance, but whether you prefer a pole in each hand, your trusty walking stick, or to just let your arms swing free, the important thing is to get out there and go hiking!

What is your experience with trekking poles? Have you ever tried a piece of gear and wondered where it had been all of your previous hiking life?

-Michaela “The Farming Daughter”

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Happy 1st Birthday, Blog!

from pinterest
from pinterest

Today is my blog’s first birthday! Whether you’ve been around since I started blogging last February or you just found me today, thank you for following my corner of the blogosphere!

I was inspired to start this blog so I could talk about life on a farm, but also to share my passion for Civil War reenacting and books, among other things. This coming year I hope to blog a little more frequently and give you some really great posts about how cows are cared for on our farm. But I need your help! What would you like to hear me write about? Maybe you have a question about dairy farming, history or growing up in a family of nine soon to be ten. Leave a comment or shoot me an email with your suggestion, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again for following along, I hope to celebrate many more blog birthdays!

 

P.S. Thank you to everyone who is thinking of and praying for my mom! I know she really appreciates it. I promise to post pictures as soon as our bundle of joy arrives!

 

Antietam Reenactment

In my last post I told you a little about the bloodiest day in American history, the Battle of Antietam and showed some pictures from the actual battlefield. Now I’m going to share pictures from the reenactment.

our boys
our boys
the battle around Dunker Church
the battle around Dunker Church
Foxy taking a hit
Foxy taking a hit
Me and one of my favorite Bucktails, Sgt. Clarence!
Me and one of my favorite Bucktails, Sgt. Clarence!
giving ice to the troops, or being an "Ice Angel"
giving ice to the troops, or being an “Ice Angel”

 

 

Union Artilleryphoto courtesy Stephen Hardman
Union Artillery
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
one of our wounded soldiers
one of our wounded soldiers
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman
photo courtesy Stephen Hardman

Special thanks to Stephen Hardman from Hagerstown, MD for emailing me all the Antietam pictures! Photos that say Stephen Hardman were taken by him. All photo editing and color effects was my doing.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

“What’s today?” cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

“Eh?” returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

“What’s today, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.

“Today!” replied the boy. “Why, Christmas Day!”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! And I hope as you tear open all the wonderful packages and boxes you pause and remember The Gift that this day is all about. Although it didn’t come wrapped in brightly colored paper, only in humble swaddling clothes, it did come with a tag that said this: From: God To: Everyone who will recieve it.

“God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die but will have the gift of eternal life.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

You are Not Forgotten

I have been silent on the tragedy that devastated our nation one week ago today simply because I was at a loss for words. Then I realized that nothing can be said to express or reduce the overpowering sorrow, confusion and loss we are all experiencing. So I would simply like to say my prayers go out to you Newtown. May you feel the presence of God holding you tightly even in the midst of your incredible grief. We love you and cry with you. You are not forgotten.

It’s Been a Long Time

For all of you who are wondering, I did not fall off the face of the earth, forget about my blog, or break all my typing fingers. It’s simply been a very busy and action packed summer. Figures, when you have exciting things to blog about you don’t have enough time to blog about it! I promise I’ll try to be a better blogger and post more frequently now that things are slower. For several posts I’m going to back track and catch you up to speed about the summer.

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog. My name is Michaela and I am the farming daughter! I live on a dairy farm in western New York where my family has been farming since 1835. I am a homeschooled Junior in highschool and the 7th generation of dairy farmers in my family.

Many people don’t know what living on a farm is like. They have questions about where their food comes from, how it’s raised, and if it’s safe to eat. I am writing this blog to show you what life is like growing up on a real farm.

I have lived on the same farm my entire life, in fact my great-grandpa built the house I live in. My dad grew up in the same house and my grandpa was born in it! Our farm has survived family deaths, bad milk prices, blizzards, and the Civil War.

Although life on a farm is not easy, there is always something to do. You never get bored on a farm, and you appreciate your free time more. There are lessons to be learned, some harder than others. You never know what a day might bring. The tractor might break, the unloader conk out, or the hay get wet. Some people ask us why we stick it out. Why not just find an easier job? The truth is, farming is our passion, not matter how hard it gets our family has been in it for the long haul. As my grandma said to a reporter once, “farming just kind of gets in your blood.” I hope you enjoy the adventures of a farming daughter!