I became endeared to my trekking poles the day I injured my knee, post-holing in the Huachucas, and needed to use them as crutches. I simply couldn’t have gotten off of those mountains without them. But having them as permanent appendages on the entire trip seemed to demand that I expand their functions to justify their obnoxious weight. Here are some extra reasons YOU should bring trekking poles on YOUR Arizona Trail adventure!
25 More Uses For Your Trekking Poles
1) Fellow Hiker Poker.. If your companion is walking a little bit too dawdly, frequent “accidental” pokes of the pole into the top of their boot seem to encourage a faster pace… You can also poke your companion on any other part of the body with a “zzzzt” sound as a simple request for attention…
2) Poser Leg … This really fools the rattlesnakes who were going to wrap themselves around your real leg…
3) Clothesline … jammed into the earth, a trekking pole can support the weight of quite a bit of wet clothing
4) Door Blocker … Upright trekking poles in a clear X position in front of the door of the tent send a clear message to the drunk hunters
5) Conduit … On those long stretches of the Arizona Trail that meander beneath power lines, you can possibly electrocute into activity remote parts of your brain by holding the poles upright on top of your head.
6) Marching Band Games… Were you in band in school? Summercamp? It is IMMENSELY satisfying to swing the trekking poles with nobility in geometric patterns while marching along the Arizona Trail! The effect is much more exciting in combination with the use of your IPOD or in the absence of an IPOD, while making trumpet noises with your lips…
7) Anti-Gravity Snow Devices … Placed correctly, trekking poles can make you weightless when attempting to avoid postholing in the snow. It works 1/10th of the time
8 ) Waver … Can make your arms an extra few feet long for waving to people who are some distance from you
9) Parter of Plants… Arizona Trail = Angry Overgrowth.. Trekking poles are very useful for parting a path through thickets of bushes you really don’t want to touch
10) Marshmallow/Weinie Roaster … clean it first, remove rubber…
11) Status Symbol … It is a visible piece of expensive gear that contributes to your identity as a “real thru-hiker”
12) All-Purpose Poker … to see if a snake is dead, what that shiny thing is in the dirt, if something is behind the bush, etc.
13) Weapon … You could definitely knock something/someone out with the sharp ends of those things
14) Writing Utensil .. Makes nice deep lines when writing notes to the people behind you on the trail
15) Beautifiers… Toughens up your hands so they match your feet
16) Leaf Stabber .. Fun for collecting flat stabbable things
17) Extra Exercise Tools …. You WILL leave your poles behind after breaks at LEAST ten times, requiring a pack-free jog back to get them…
18) Weights .. If you begin to feel unbalanced because of the weight relief of a pack empty of food and water near resupply time, stick your poles into it.. It’ll be more like Day 1
19) Tent Poles … Useful if your tent poles snap
20) Dance Tool … Yes you can do some sly moves with poles in hand
21) Scratcher … You can scratch your foot WITHOUT REMOVING YOUR BOOT with these! And also the small of your back without removing your pack! Miracle use!
22) Posthole Maker… You can preemptively make your own postholes to step into in large snow drifts instead of passively falling in at awkward angles again and again and again
23) Kitchen Utensil … In a spork emergency, you CAN stir your oatmeal with one if you have to…
24) Sword … “Sword fighting” with another hiker using your poles is a straight up blast..
25) Juggling/Wand Practice… Great way to develop coordination and grace is to shorten the poles and practice wand twirling and juggling with them