I believe in trekking poles.

Austin - York, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 5, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

As an outdoors enthusiast, I have slowly accumulated quite an inventory of hiking equipment. My most recent and most hesitant addition was a set of trekking poles. Trekking poles have been used by hikers for centuries and are scientifically proven to have considerable benefits. While impressive in their claims, trekking poles also carry an impressive price tag. I first began hiking with these expensive sticks through the insistence of a friend.

We had hiked great lengths on numerous occasions without any strain; however, he felt we needed to give these poles a chance. After some debate, we both ponied up the cash and each bought ourselves a pair. I personally believe he was more nervous about an upcoming hike than curious about trekking poles. When that hike began, my friend had good reason to be nervous.

The first day of hiking was ridiculous. Either we were really out of shape or our maps were wrong. Inclines were never ending and the declines were cliffs. We didn’t even reach our planned campsite before midnight. After a week of hiking, our position was 20 miles behind where we were supposed to be.

We vowed to hike until the loss was made up. Boots were pounding earth all day and all night. We did not stop until the sunset fell on the second day of continuous hiking.

We felt like champions as we fulfilled our vow. On that second night, we never gave credit to our trekking poles, but held smugly to our opinions that trekking poles were for the old guys in lederhosen. When the hike resumed, we gained a new appreciation for out trekking poles.

Even though we didn’t have the energy to start moving, those sticks started without us. They just swung in our arms and kept going. They led and we followed. Those sticks didn’t give up, and since we were attached to them, we couldn’t give up either.

When that hike finally came to an end, I left the trail without many of my old opinions. I thought I was capable of finishing the trek on my own; I learned that trekking poles are necessary to complete the long haul. Life is one of those long hauls and it too has its trekking poles.

Whether family, friends, religion, or two sticks, my trekking poles take many shapes. They are the pillars of support that I can lean on and find rest. At the same time, they push me forward and find the strength within me that I could not find myself. Whether two sticks in my hands or a thought in my heart, I take my trekking poles wherever I go. I always carry them and they always carry me. Trekking poles are much more than two sticks.