Legs 11: poles are the way forward!


There’s some things that I will have to get used to, and the evolving differences that come with it. The knee is one of them. I love hiking (tramping!) specially with so much wonderful scenery to look at and so many ‘great walks’ so close to where I live. Alpine crossings, mountain hiking, sounds fab. But with a knee like I have, it’s ambitious.

Over 90 minutes of tough walking and I am in agony these days. Not good. So today was stage one of project ‘this knee won’t stop me’ and walking poles are where I started.

We joked (well actually OH did and I corrected) about the ‘walking sticks’ and how I set the height and use them. After we established their correct name was ‘walking poles’, that I wasn’t an old lady and that it was ok to need an extra set of pins, off we went.

But wait, how do you use these things?! Together, one at once, same leg, opposite, I have to admit I felt like I needed lessons to begin with. But quite quickly I realised that alternate and same leg worked best, but three steps to every two sticks. I was in a rhythm. Some other uses included being able to check ground ahead for sturdiness.

The most useful thing of all though is being able to share the load between my knees and my arms.

I’ll tell you one thing, using these I will have triceps of steel and will never ever be in danger of having bingo wings!

The route took us through some bush down a steep slope to a beautiful secluded beach and coastline. We have walked this route before and it is a beautifully isolated walk that takes around two hours, including a huge hill down and up. But the views are worth it. We never ever see anyone either which is amazing. The beauty all to yourself.

20140503-201145.jpgI was able to compare the walk and in particular the tough steep climb back up from the beach to the last time we walked the route, without poles. Last time I had to stop two or three times on the way up and was in pain by the time I got to the top. The knee just can’t take heavy stress when bent, specially on uneven ground. This is something I have to accept and something that will just get worse. But that won’t stop me.

This time round, the arms were working hard to share the load with the legs, so much so that I felt like I was doing millions of tricep dips whilst climbing this steep hill. But, no knee pain, yippee! Straight to the top, no hesitations or stops!

I can’t quite believe how much of a difference the walking poles make and can now see how valuable they are to trampers.

It’s given me new hope in my quest to eventually complete one of the great walks and scale the top of one of the local mountains.

So what if I need four legs instead of two? 😉

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