December 9, 2010

Hiking Poles – My Edge Against Disaster

“Just don’t don’t fall down, and whatever you do, don’t hit your head.”

That’s the first commandment of Dr. S regarding my wanderlust to off-the-beaten-path places that usually involve some combination of mountain trails, steep slippery temple steps, forest undergrowth, or slick muddy patches. The doc  doesn’t have to get graphic on me. He doesn’t have to spell out what will happen if super-thinned blood leaks into my brain.

For this reason especially – not to mention my general klutziness – hiking poles are a critical component  of my gear on many trip.

I tried my first pair of hiking poles more than 15 years ago, before stroke, before blood thinners, when I simply needed any edge I could get when I acceded to Jack’s ludicrous declaration that we would climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

I’ve been using them ever since, anytime the going is likely to get steep.

This photo was taken at China’s Yellow Mountain.  I was astounded to find all the trails paved in cement. But the stairs – seemingly endless stairs – were steep and I was thankful for my pole, a Leki model I used with success until a few years ago.

Then I discovered my all-time favorite hiking pole – the one I use today –The REI Four Winds Travel Staff.

Collapsible REI Four Winds Hiking  Staff

It’s incredibly lightweight (just 8 oz.) and collapses to less than 23 inches – short enough to fit in my roll-aboard suitcase. Yet it’s sturdy enough to give good support.  There’s a camera mount under the removable grip.  I’ve been using mine for about two years.

The Fours Winds is also a favorite of hiking expert Dan Nelson. He reviewed the Four Winds ad Leki Ultralite in the Seattle Times.

Filed under:Travel GearTravel Tips

Like Jungle Pants

Put on Your Jungle Pants

sign up for free updates
Stories, Tips, Resources and much much more.

Anne Sigmon

For more information about stroke and autoimmune disease, visit