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Live - Camino Francés So glad I brought

Discussion in '"LIVE" from the camino' started by Deanpf, Jun 5, 2016.

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  1. Deanpf

    Deanpf Member

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    today will be day 6 walking for me. I am in el burgo ranero now and I started in Burgos. So I have done a number of relatively long walking days. I have been careful with my feet and, knock on wood, no blisters yet. But a couple of big downhills ( there are only a couple on the meseta) really did a job on my knee which was already an issue. So I have to say without my walking poles, which I almost left at home for fear of having to check my bag,I would be in big trouble. They are amazing!
    My bag is about 13 pounds without water and I feel good about almost everything I have it decided to leave at home.
    But poles... So good!
    Today I will only walk 13 km to reliegos so I can give my sore knee and body a break.
    Buen Camino to all. This is quite a journey.
     
  2. NualaOC

    NualaOC Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Buen Camino @Deanpf. Hope you had a nice night in El Burgo Ranero. I loved that village.

    I agree 100% about the walking poles. They really help to take the strain off the knees and other joints.
     
  3. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Agree entirely, @Deanpf. Without my poles I would feel like I only have 2 legs!
     
  4. Sur Plus

    Sur Plus New Member

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    Hope you are recovering well. I tried using walking poles after being preached at for so long, but, meh. I like keeping my hands free.
     
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  5. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Buen Camino Dean!

    With my current foot issue I certainly will take poles with me next time after five Caminos without.
     
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  6. dariosilva

    dariosilva Member

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    Dean, here is a suggestion: go to a pharmacy and get a tube of Voltran, it is a topical anti inflammatory (ibuprofen). Works great on joints and muscles. It is over the counter in Spain/Portugal. Ask pharmacist. It may add 2 oz to your back pack but your knee will love you for it.
     
  7. Dutchwalk53

    Dutchwalk53 Active Member

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    If I had to pick a my "can't do without " items for the Camino, my hiking poles would be in my top 3. Together with : Leukotape (to preventative tape my sensitive spots on feet) and my Cho-pat knee straps.
     
  8. J Willhaus

    J Willhaus Active Member

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    Also relying heavily on my poles to protect knees and ankles. I turned my ankle last week and it would have been the end of my camino without my poles to take most of the fall. Ankle is sore and swollen, but it is not so bad that I can't walk. It is healing. The ibuprofen gel does not help me as much as some oral ibuprofen. The gel makes my foot and ankle swell worse so I may be allergic to something in the gel carrier.
     
  9. Dutchwalk53

    Dutchwalk53 Active Member

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    I did the same twice last year.....SO happy I had my poles !
     
  10. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Guest

    Camino Frances, April 2016, SJPDP to Santiago. Walking poles - Absolutely. I cannot imagine some of the worst descents without poles. Descents: nice slippery round rocks, standing and flowing water, weirdly paved sections, mud - poles please. Hills: another pair of legs pushing you up that hill! I've read that poles take 10% or more of the weight off ones legs/knees/feet. If they didn't make a difference to you doubters, I'll bet you didn't use them properly. Also used Mueller knee straps every step of the way as a precaution - knees OK. And Voltaren anti inflammatory gel twice a day for a minor plantar fasciitis issue.

    Buen Camino, - Mike
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2016
  11. Sur Plus

    Sur Plus New Member

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    How can anyone claim the deamonized-doubters were probably not using the poles properly?

    In my case, I was hiking with a very experienced companion. I tried the poles for a few miles and felt it made no difference to me. I'm not asserting they are useless to everyone. Simply, that they seemed to make no difference to me. Just like a knee brace or voltaren - if I applied them and felt no difference, the extrapolated logic follows that I'm a doubter and probably not doing it properly.
    Buen camino to all
     
  12. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Guest

    By saying "properly" I meant to emphasise that doubters try them over a variety of terrain (both ascents and descents) and weather/surface conditions. I therefore carefully avoided demonising them, it seems to me. I even tried my poles repeatedly on level surfaces - in fact a long paved section on my way into Pamplona, then later into Burgos. With poles, then without, repeat.

    I walked a very long way and paid close attention all the way. I often passed people who were moving very slowly over very difficult ground - descents were sometimes quite dangerous.

    I saw the result of someone just having had a fall on level ground in broad daylight. His poles were in his pack. Next time I saw him he was using his poles. The blood was gone but a black eye lingered.

    Some people just don't like to use poles, like to have their hands free. Good luck to them. Many people are much stronger and more athletic than I. I choose to take a few precautions and shorten the odds of injury/trouble.

    Buen Camino, - Mike
     
  13. katie@camino

    katie@camino Member

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    I used poles for the first time on the CF and loved them coming over the Pyrenees. However I've had persistent knee pain, especially going downhill and have realised that, while not the only culprit (going too fast takes first prize) they really negatively compounded my knee issues. If I knew how to use them properly and had practiced, they might have been a help rather than a hindrance. So yes, while I agree on their usefulness, it only goes as far as the owners knowledge and experience.
     
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  14. Gareth Griffith

    Gareth Griffith Active Member

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    It amazed me how many people had their poles tied to their backpacks or were using them to tap along like blind people using a white stick!
    My poles saved me from going head over heals when tripping over a tree root. Hitting a rocky path face first and then getting bashed on the back of my head by a 10kg backpack would not have improved my handsome good looks!
    I heard on my Camino about a girl that tripped and broke her nose coming down from the Cruz de Ferro, when phoning for an ambulance I heard that the response was "put her in a taxi". Which explains the taxi that I saw hairing up the hill at a terrific speed. Poles are not just about reducing strain on legs or increasing speed, they are also great for giving stability in rocky, muddy or wet conditions. They are also good for beating down weeds in overgrown areas or for having a swipe at aggressive dogs. A Canadian bloke I kept meeting up with had got himself a sturdy staff rather than buy a trekking pole and was exceedingly pleased that he had it with him when two sheep dogs decided to have a go at him.
    There are numerous videos on YouTube to help the uninitiated.
    Having said all that, my wife is still among the tappers along the road, that is when she can be bothered to bring them with her.
     
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  15. Rghaskins

    Rghaskins New Member

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    So, Dean, hope your knees have carried you thru, so far. If you don't mind my asking, what did you do with your polls and what happened to your back pack when you got on the airplane? Ric
     
  16. Christian Hiriart

    Christian Hiriart The Camino keeps calling. Donating Member

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    I agree with you, I have used poles for days and see no difference. I now take one pole as I use it for uneven terrain and allows for a free hand which is what I prefer. Having said that, I do know that poles are a big help to others.
     
  17. jdbp2016

    jdbp2016 New Member

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    I also find that poles are useful in keeping the swelling down in my fingers.
     
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  18. Jennifer from Colorado

    Jennifer from Colorado Member

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    Sur, an American woman and a French woman both ended their Caminos this week due to falls that would have been no big deal with poles. One broke her shoulder and the other twisted her ankle but broke her wrist when she fell.

    Hands free are nice but I like my legs too much! Trekking poles rock my world!
    BC,
    Jennifer
     
  19. Jennifer from Colorado

    Jennifer from Colorado Member

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    Christian, if you don't see a difference between using and not using, you may not be using them correctly.

    They pull you up hills, help you break your speed down hills, and accelerate your walk on straightaways.

    There are good youtube videos on correct procedures. Check them out and test the results!
    BC,
    Jennifer
     
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  20. Christian Hiriart

    Christian Hiriart The Camino keeps calling. Donating Member

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    Not really knowing what caused this accident, you are just assuming. For all we know the poles could have made it worst.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  21. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Guest

    Christian,

    Keep an open mind and try them in September - but may I suggest that you give them a decent try in varied weather conditions and on a variety of surfaces. Try a two-hour descent in a gully called The Camino paved with a jumble of loose round wet muddy rocks. Your ankles will twist to a different position every time your full body weight x momentum lands on them. Poles will take some of that weight and give your screaming ankles some very welcome relief. I also remember a few short very steep sections out east somewhere which were paved(!) with large flat stones which were very slick in the rain. My poles have large studded rubber tips which grab very nicely. I passed a couple who were stepping sideways very slowly down one of these paved sections. There's a cutting through solid rock out west near Portomarin, I think. There was a warning sign at the top. Weird, steep, very narrow, uneven, and wet that day. I came up behind a large group who were picking their way through. (There was an alternate, road route skirting this section but it was late in the day and none of us wanted to take the extra time.) There were two women at the tail end of the group - one was limping badly, with blisters, I assume. Neither had poles. They kindly let me past and I very selfishly rushed on hoping that neither of them would land on top of me and take me bouncing down the obstacle course.

    The Camino is not Mount Everest. In fact most of it is pretty level and easy. All the more reason not to get complacent about the tricky bits.

    After some practise, I surprised myself re how much difference poles made going uphill. Remarkable. The most easily felt positive effect - completely non-theoretical.

    I don't feel a need to win an argument. I often stopped to listen, look, take photos, meditate. I took as many precautions as I could on my Camino in order to avoid distraction from, and to keep my attention pointed at, the beauty.

    Buen Camino, - Mike
     
  22. Christian Hiriart

    Christian Hiriart The Camino keeps calling. Donating Member

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    Hi Mike
    I do have poles and I'm debating whether to bring one or two, I have become accustomed to have one with me which I do use for those areas as you describe. Living at the bottom of a ski hill which I use for training all summer, allows me to experience some interesting conditions. I also believe that there are other factors at play, like fitness levels and flexibility or whether I want to increase my cardio which poles do. At the end is a personal preference.

    Buen Camino
    Chris
     
  23. Sur Plus

    Sur Plus New Member

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    I'm with Christian Hiriart - how do we know the unfortunate peregrinos weren't using their walking poles; how do we know the use of walking poles could have prevented their particular demise. I'm beginning to think there are assumptions by Jennifer, and we all know what Steven Segal had to say about assumptions.

    I'm starting to think that for peregrinos with a pre-existing knee problem, the walking poles may be a good aid for them. However, if I don't have a predisposition for a problem knee, then the use of walking poles may not be of any benefit. At this juncture, my dear mother would say, Surri prevention is better than cure. But maybe I just need to simply be aware and in tune with my body.

    Buen camino all
     
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  24. Montana Jayne

    Montana Jayne Active Member

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    I'd never used poles before, but they we terrific on the CF. They were so important for me on the ups, downs, and rocky ground ... which was where I was most concerned about falling. On the straight, flat, and roads I just strapped them on my pack. My husband used a staff which worked well for him. At 69 and 71 we decided to be prudent and take any "help" we could get.
     
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  25. Christian Hiriart

    Christian Hiriart The Camino keeps calling. Donating Member

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    Hi Montana. That's smart, especially when we get to a stage in our lives when we are not as nimble as we used to be. Congratulation on doing the Camino, this is no small accomplishment.

    Chris
     
  26. BShea

    BShea Active Member

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    So glad I brought... (and would never walk without)
    1. Poles: saved me countless times from falling, especially during rain and in muddy sections.
    2. Mid height boots (Voyagers): kept my ankles from buckling (also non waterproof kept feet less sweaty).
    3. Toe socks: kept toes from rubbing against each other.
    4. Gel (hammer toe) pads: kept toes from hitting soles (only got 1 blister the day I didn't wear them).
    5. CEP knee high compression socks: kept swelling down on injured tibia (r.i.C.e.) and allowed me to continue walking. Also helped with recovery from fatigue.
    6. Jumper's Knee Straps: used preventatively to support knees on downhill stretches.
    7. Micropore tape: wrapped areas threatening blisters (available at pharmacies 2€).
     
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  27. Jennifer from Colorado

    Jennifer from Colorado Member

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    Sur...assumptions?
    I was with the French woman who fell, and directly behind the American.

    The French woman also likes her hands free, which is a good thing since she's now wearing a cast on her arm.:rolleyes:
     
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  28. Jennifer from Colorado

    Jennifer from Colorado Member

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    Christian, since I was beside one woman and behind the other. I know precisely what caused the two accidents. One woman stumbled on a steep stepped descent and having nothing to prevent her fall, fell into a culvert, breaking her arm.

    The other woman, just one hour before having mocked trekking pole users, airily dismissing them since she liked her arms free, slid on the descent from Alto de Perdon, on the little rocks that more closely resemble ball bearings.

    Twisting her ankle she went down, arms flailing wildly, looking for something to grab to abort her fall. She hit the ground on her right hand, breaking her wrist.

    Both pilgrims' Caminos over in a flash, and both could have been prevented with 2 trekking poles, and a wee bit less ego.

    The woman who likes her arm free has now found it imprisoned in a cast.

    How could you imagine trekking poles making it worse?
     
  29. Gareth Griffith

    Gareth Griffith Active Member

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    Years ago when trekking poles were a bit of a novelty I too used to joke about people using them and ask "where's the snow" as it seemed to me that they should be skiing with those poles. However I am now a convert and used them almost all the way from SJPdP to Santiago. I strongly recommend the rubber tips as well, very useful for rubbing out any mistakes ( like therubber tip on a pencil!)
     
  30. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Guest

    The only time I didn't use my poles was on The Meseta during incessant rain. My gloves were wet, my hands were cold, but the path was level. So I pulled my hands and my poles inside my poncho and put one hand at a time in a pocket to thaw out.

    Do I detect a condescending tone towards we older folks who perhaps are seen as less "adventurous" than some anti-pole youngsters? I'm 71 (and a half) years old. I like to think that I've lasted this long without breaking my neck/skull/limbs because I've developed a useful degree of curiosity and risk assessment ability.

    Most of the research and training I did in the 12 months leading up to my Camino Frances panned out. Fails: My poncho was crap - next time, Altus; I'll try to find waterproof gloves, which I'm told don't exist; My rain pants got heavy when wet and sagged down around my ass, I have a second pair (Which I decided not to take. Idiot me.) with stronger draw-strings - and I might try suspenders! Wins: Poles. Mistakes: Not getting massages as my legs gradually tightened up during the last 3 weeks.

    Buen Camino all you polesters and even you non-polesters.

    Mike
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2016
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  31. Georgina77

    Georgina77 Vancouver Island in December

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    After reading some of these comments I must comment when I was young I had perfect balance I was a acrobat and could stand on one leg or on my hands all day long but in my older years I got arthritis through out my whole body and wound up having to use a walker for 10 years until I decided one day 5 years ago to see if I could use trekking poles instead of my walker , they were lighter than canes and taller ; and after some work eventually I did manage to replace my walker with trekking poles .. Don't judge what you don't know and for the love of God don't be so proud and arigant as to think you can't fall down because we all fall down at some point in our life and if you want to go a head and not take some good advice then don't that is your choice but for those who will listen all I can say is good for you; you are being smart to take care of your body .
     
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