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uses for a walking stick

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by susanneb, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. susanneb

    susanneb New Member

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    In a recent post, in reference to a question I asked about my old walking stick, someone answered me by saying:

    “…as for the walking sticks-unless you are a senior citizen and unsteady on your feet why bother?”

    This really got me thinking, and all I have to say is, it does not necessarily
    have anything to do with age or your physical ability. I used a walking stick on my first camino and I liked it so much I am thinking of taking it with me on my next one in 10 days. Here are some reasons to use a walking stick:

    USES FOR A WALKING STICK:

    1.Identifies you immediately as a pilgrim

    2.Can hang your jacket on it at night (or wet clothes)

    3.Gives your upper back a stretch as you’re walking (reach back
    behind your neck)

    4.Great for shooing bugs away

    5.To shoo dogs away (although this doesn’t happen often)

    6.Balances your weight as you’re walking – (especially if you have blisters)

    7.Helps especially going up and going down a steep hill –easier on the
    knees

    8.Creative way to pass things to people (ex: while you’re in one bunk and
    your friend is in another and you don’t want to get out of your sleeping
    bag. Hee hee)

    9.The melodic sound it makes as it taps the ground can become soothing
    and meditative during certain times, like the walk through the Meseta,
    or times when you’re walking alone for really long stretches

    10.Great for playing games like swashbuckling or the limbo – yes, this can be fun when you’re on the camino!

    11.Very useful when coming upon a candy wrapper that someone has thoughtlessly thrown onto the path- use it to pick up and put into trash can nearby.

    12.Comes in very handy if you’re walking through a stream or river and you want to know how deep the water is before you take your next step

    13.Same concept when it’s been raining for a long time and you’re ankle deep in thick mud. Helps keep you from slipping.

    14.Believe it or not, after using one 500 miles – especially if you found it along the way, or someone gave it to you, or someone made it special for you by carving out your name, it becomes very special to you – it becomes a friend. You may even take it home with you to remind yourself every day of your personal success.

    15.Last but not least, it is part of the original custom – pilgrims carried four traditional items: a hat with a scallop on the front, a walking stick with a gourd attached, a bottle to hold water and a leather purse. If it’s good enough for St. James, then it’s good enough for me.

    Please feel free to add anything you can think of! Buen Camino!

  2. ivar

    ivar Administrator Staff Member Donating Member

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    16. If you are walking on a road with a bit of traffic. Walk with the stick in such a way that the cars do not come too close... the last thing a driver want is to get a scratch on his car.

  3. frescotours

    frescotours New Member

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    Susanneb,

    Funny stuff!!! I like the not get out of your sleeping bag!

    I actually read that if you use two walking sticks, it reduces the pressure in your knees by 30%.....

    On another note, I spoke to an ex-client of mine that just returned 2 weeks ago (post London) and he flew American Airlines from Madrid and they let him check-in his stick (not carry on), with the disclaimer that they were not responsible for it arriving in 1 piece. I've also known people that wrapped it up in a cardboard tube and didn't have any problems.

    This was Spain to USA, so not sure if it will be different the other way around.

    Good luck and enjoy your stick!

  4. wulf

    wulf New Member

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    A good list! Most people can walk without a stick but carrying one (or two) is far from a sign of weakness. I'd say that (from the couple of caminos I have done), the majority carry something in that line, although there is a rich variety in form and usage.

    Wulf

  5. omar504

    omar504 New Member

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    I made the comment about walking sticks being useful only if you are a senior citizen--I was being a trifle sarcastic but I still dont see that their 'uses' out weigh actually carrying something extra which you dont need (in my opinion).As for the sound it makes----I prefer the solitude. The bloke I walked with now and again was from Denmark and he used one but even he thought the very few other people we saw with TWO sticks each were following something of a European fad. Anyway of course it's up to the individual.

  6. alan_hogarth

    alan_hogarth New Member

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    On the Camino in 2002 from Roncesvalles I used one thumb stick and one telescopic walking pole, sometimes just one and sometimes both depending on the gradient and roughness. The top of the walking pole unscrewed so that a camera could be mounted on it, then with a delay set I could include myself in photos.

    In 2007 I intend using two telescopic walking poles, easier to transport on airlines, and am currently training using the Nordic walking technique, why not look it up on the net and possibly give it a go. It works for this Senior Citizen and may even be possible for the immature!

    Alan

  7. beckany

    beckany New Member

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    at the madrid airport, there is a blue shrink wrap service for luggage with loose pieces. our camino group (8 walking sticks; and 4 sets of trekking poles) got them all wrapped together and tagged before they were put under the plane. we got a lot of funny looks, but it worked, and none of them were damaged.

    i'm a young backpacker (23) with a torn ligament in my knee, and am a huge fan of the two pole system. it made my first camino much more comfortable, and i plan on taking them back this winter.

  8. JustRob

    JustRob New Member

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    Sticks

    It takes a little getting used to, but I rely on my hoking poles for long walks and travelling with a pack.

    Four legs good, two legs bad.

  9. Lupita Tequila

    Lupita Tequila New Member

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    walking stick

    I got bitten by a dog outside of Samos (dog came from behind and my daughter and I never saw him/her coming) but I turned around with my walking stick in hand ready to strike if necessary to protect both of us.... never had to use it like that before.

    I have had my walking stick or my shaman stick as I fondly call it forever and refuse to get on an airplane unless my walking stick gets in too!

    It is a branch from a Boj tree that I found outside of Rocensvalles on my way towards Larrasoana.... I love it!.... Not only that, the wood is hard, as it ages it looks more beautiful and is quite unique.... helps me going uphill, steadies me going downhill, nice to be able to use it to stretch and rest my chin, helps me keep rhythym (if I happen to be badly singing)............I even play Camino baseball with peebles, Camino golf and Camino hockey!.... Even Ortega Cano, the bullfighter was playing with us Camino golf with an empty water bottle! (which we picked up by the way, we always take our garbage with us).....

    I am more fond of finding your own stick on the Camino rather than high tech walking poles but then again, it is just me.......

    My walking stick and a dry albeit maybe not clean pair of socks is all I need....... The Camino provides everything else.

    Ultreia!

    Lupita

  10. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Walking stick

    I agree with you Lupita.
    I do think, however, that the stick found you - not the other way round!
    Pilgrims hugs,
    Sil

  11. Athena

    Athena New Member

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    My walking stick was my companion on the road and such an integral part of my experience, I couldn't be parted with it and took it home!

    It was just an obliging tree branch on the side of the road outside Arcade that picked ME. After a day or two of walking without one, a stick significantly helped me through steep up and downhills, as a visual guide for on coming traffic and definitely comes in handy as protection with overly eager dogs. I know most of this has been said, but I just wanted to add my two cents to the conversation!

    My stick was lost in transit - claiming it as lost baggage was quite the experience ("it's a brown stick...like a tree branch...this tall...?")- and fairly heart wrenching. I thought to myself, that's what you get for attaching so much of your experience to a physical object! But the airlines found it and it made it's way safely back to me! It was like seeing an old friend.

    It now serves as a reminder of my camino experience. Picking it up and having my hand fall into the grooves which I made over kilometers of walking transports me back like nothing else. I judged the time of day by the length of my shadow on that journey...and that familiar shadow always included my stick.

  12. Liv Marit

    Liv Marit New Member

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    Hi all !

    Funny uses for sticks, you guys !!! I had a good laugh.

    Well, I did not bring a stick - or two - and no stick found me along the way. I never missed them either. I borrowed one or two for a very short time, but it didn't work for me. I met people who were very glad they had their sticks, and I met people who left them or carried them on their backpack.
    Unless you are used to walk with one or two from home, there is no use bringing in my opinion. I belive if you are ment to walk with a stick for some reason, the stick will find you, or you can buy one along the road.

    PS ! I was SO close to buy one in Rabanal, but I left it for someone else to buy.

    Liv :)

  13. Lupita Tequila

    Lupita Tequila New Member

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    pick up sticks....

    Hi everyone,

    Yes, some of us are quite fond of our walking sticks.. and yes, Sil, was right, the sticks find us.... Just yesterday, I had to go downtown and was walking by the square and found myself moving my arm and making with my hand the movements of holding my stick of when I was in the Camino a few weeks ago.... My daughter had a good laugh, my "Camino walking with my stick" kicked in "naturally".... thank goodness! no need for a walking overhaul yet!

    My daughter went through 4 or 5 sticks, including one given to her by Marcelino... kept forgetting them, losing them, etc..... But when the going got tough, the tough asked MOM for HER walking stick....

    I also met pilgrims who walked back more than just a couple of kilometers back to get their forgotten walking sticks...

    Walking sticks are a great topic of conversation at airports!.... and as a footnote.... BRITISH AIRWAYS ARE THE BEST!.... I have told them (at check in) how much my stick means to me and every single time at baggage claim there is someone, standing in the middle of the area, holding my walking stick to hand deliver it to me! Like a child!....... Now that is what I call service and caring for pilgrims!

    Ultreia! :arrow:

    Lupita

  14. jbgreer

    jbgreer New Member

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    Like you, I found my walking stick on the road, but my reunion with it might take a bit longer. I carried my stick with me to Finisterre, where I cast it into the sea. I had decided that couldn't take it back home - my walking stick was this enormous branch I found by the road, so large that it instantly became a topic of conversation (and occasional friendly ridicule). I was so disappointed at the thought of not having my road companion that I thought flinging it into the ocean might perhaps allow for something miraculous to happen, and it would find its way to me.

    No stick yet, but sad photos in Finisterre,
    jbgreer

  15. malcolmrobert

    malcolmrobert New Member

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    Any problems bringing a wooden walking stick into Spain. Do the authorities there frown on importing wood from away (North America)? Big problems with invasive species here and some jurisdictions prohibit importing foreign wood. I am creating a stick. I will cut it down to 3 sections of 20 inches and create screw attachments to reconnect them. Have seen this for other long poles.

    Any problems carrying such a shortened concoction in my carry on?

    Also have a metal stick which folds and collapses. Can a collapsed metal stick generally be brought on board a plane in carry on?

    Am still sorting out which stick to use on my Camino. Maybe I should use both. All suggestions welcome.

  16. Sojourner47

    Sojourner47 Guest

    On a similar note, what about collapsed metal tent poles in carry on bags? Anyone done this/ or have any info? Just one (bendy) pole which is in short - about 225mm - sections for hooped bivi bag.

    But on second thoughts (Jan 23rd) I will post tent pole/SA knife/scissors to myself via poste restante Bayonne...

  17. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    Some countries and some airlines ban walking sticks as carry-on items. It may depend on the mood of the screener when you arrive! It is safest to check it.

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