One of the other casualties of my pre-empted backpacking trip last summer was one of my hiking poles. As I planted the right pole after my foot was stuck in the rock, I fell to my right and the pole snapped in half. Now I had used these Black Diamond poles for many years and never had a problem with them. Of course, this was an extraordinary circumstance so the years of service they had given me made a new pair of them worth looking at again.
So now that hiking season is almost here and my ankle is pretty much operating at 100%, I decided to get a new pair of hiking/trekking poles. As I do with any potential gear that I might purchase, I spend a great deal of time researching what would be the best poles to buy. After doing what amounted to several hours of comparing specs, prices, and reviews, my search brought me right back to Black Diamond. Although I have used Leki poles in the past, I now always end up with Black Diamond.
So I ended up buying the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles. Originally priced at $139.95, I paid $83.97, a nice 40% savings (from Amazon). Here are the specs:
- 2″ high
- 3″ wide
- Dual-density grip and 360-degree padded webbing strap
- Non-slip foam grip extension
- Control Shock Technology
- Double Flick Lock Pro
- Interchangeable carbide Tech Tips and low-profile trekking baskets
Although I haven’t been out hiking with these poles yet, I have had a chance to use them.
Trying to get to down the hill to my car on ice-laden snow is no easy task. Using the poles
made it much easier to down the hill and into my car. I can’t wait to get out on to the trail
to really test them out. When I do that I’ll post a more in-depth review.
As I made my way through the woods today, I found myself thinking about my hiking poles. This pair, as well as the many I have owned over the years, have served me well. I never really gave much thought as to the reason why I actually used them in the past, but I do know that because of weak ankles and bad knees, I have a need for them at this point.
But today, as my poles were clink, clink, clinking on the rocks, I actually starting thinking about the mechanics of how I was of using them. Was it just a mindless action? One where you just put one pole in front of the other or is it something more calculated? As I walked on a nice flat section of the trail, it did seem like more of a mindless repetitious act of putting one pole in front of the other.
As I made my way onto a portion of the trail that was downhill and much more rocky, the placement of my poles didn’t seem so random. I thought of a comparison to something that has absolutely nothing to do with hiking. I am thinking of chess players. When you think about it, they say that chess players have to be thinking 4-5 moves ahead of their current one in order to stay in the game. The same is true when you are traversing difficult terrain.
Although it may seem random, I really don’t think that it is. Somewhere in my subconscious something is telling me where to place my trekking poles to save the wear and tear on my knees and ankles. This is especially true when I am moving quickly. Your mind has to be thinking at least a couple of steps ahead of your current one in order for you to stay on your feet.
So what does that mean for you? I think that if you take a step back and look at how you use your poles, you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have-that using trekking poles is a conscious act but what happens when you are hiking with them is not. Think about it…