Trekking Poles are the Secret Weapon of Happy Hikers in the Canadian Rockies and Beyond

It’s now a year since I bought my first set of hiking poles.  I bought them because I wanted to do more day hiking in the Canadian Rockies.

Shortly thereafter, I did several day hikes in Jasper and Banff National Park.  I loved having the trekking poles.

If you are planning to at least a few day hikes in Jasper National Park, I think that hiking poles are a great accessory.

I feel like my balance is better.  My knees feel supported.  It seems like my chance of stumbling is reduced.  I have more endurance.  I am a happy hiker.

Yours truly hiking on the Sulphur Skyline Trail near Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park

Me hiking on a rainy day on the Sulphur Skyline Trail near Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park

It may sound strange, but I sometimes find myself walking rough terrain without looking down.  Instead, I’m somehow feeling the terrain with my poles and able to step softly.  Without poles, I’m watching my ever step.

On steep hills, I push on the poles with my arms and it seems to reduce the stress on the leg muscles, allowing my to hike further.  This was useful on the Sulphur Skyline Trail near Miette Hot Springs.  At the time, it was one of the longer hikes I’ve done.  The trail is uphill the first half until the summit and the trekking poles made a big difference.

The poles I used helped on the descent too.  I have antishock ones – which basically means a spring is inside the poles like a shock absorber on a car.   The antishock is nice when going downhill and putting a lot of force on the poles.  I also like the antishock feature because sometimes the ground is hard.  It softens the blow.

Recommending a brand is tough because this is new to me.  Shop around.  Some sporting goods stores sell trekking poles.  If found mine online.

Trekking poles can be inexpensive at $30-50 for a basic pair.   Expect to spend $50-100 or more for an ultralight weight pair or special features.

When shopping for a pair, consider the size and weight.  Most collapsible poles are small enough to fit in a suitcase.  Measuring before buying will help ensure fit.

A year later, I still use the poles for day hiking.

Hope this info helps make hiking a more enjoyable activity!

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