I am essentially a fair weather day hiker with only the occasional backpacking trip. Because of this, most of the hikes I have done can easily be completed in a day. I will say that my hiking has definitely evolved over the past 12 years. I started out with short hikes to lakes and low peaks. At the end 2009, my focus shifted to peak bagging and reaching the summit of bigger mountains through a combination of hiking and scrambling. In this post I will be discussing about one of my experiences of hiking trail and how trekking pole helped me in this journey. You will also find tips for selecting great trekking poles of 2018.
- My first hike of the year was very spur of the moment as Chuck gave me a call at work on Friday to see if I was doing anything the following morning. He didn’t have to work this weekend so he invited me to go on a quick unplanned hike. Black Hornet Mine is located northeast of Boise just north of Lucky Peak Dam.
- Chuck had a few options lined up for us when I arrived at his home Saturday morning, one of them being Black Hornet Mine. He had been surfing the internet and came across an international geocaching site. This is basically a GPS site that posts “hidden treasures” by latitude and longitude, and you basically have to find the location utilizing your GPS and then locate whatever is hidden there. I thought it sounded like fun, so he plugged the coordinates in to his GPS and we were off.
- After reading the site regarding this particular cache, I am certain that we were the first individuals to access this treasure from the southeast. We drove northeast of Boise on highway 21 and started our hike at a maintenance shop just past the Hilltop Cafe. We hiked up the drainage along an old road for about a mile before we had to start going cross country to find the cache.
- Along the way, we saw a lot of wildlife including over 100 deer, 4 elk, 1 coyote, and several hawks. We were in snow the whole way, but nothing too treacherous. We simply followed a small creek up to within 100 yard of the cache and then continued to scramble around until we found the container. It was right where it was described and included an old cell phone, a log book, a five dollar bill, and hacky sack among several other things. It also contained a letter explaining why it was there and what geocaching is. You are supposed to sign the log book and if you take something, you are required to leave something else.
- From the mine, we scrambled through the snow up to the southern ridge where you could see the Micron headquarters. After this, we followed the ridge back and slipped down on to the trail before going past the maintenance shop to the highway. Although this wasn’t a major hike, it was nice to get out again to subdue the hiking fever that had started to come on over the past few weeks. In addition, having to find the cache added a bit of adventure to the trip.
Trekking Poles Basic
There are many different tools used by modern hikers, but not many can boggle the mind quicker than hiking or trekking poles. Many novice hikers have no idea why or when to use trekking poles, and could not differentiate one style from another by name. Before remedying this problem by exploring the different styles and types of hiking poles on the market, it is worth mentioning that these poles are primarily used by veteran hikers as a way to distribute the workload of the hiking across more muscles, bones and joints. This allows for longer duration hikes with less rest times and ultimately more ground can be covered.
The most basic type of trekking poles are those made from wood and are sometimes referred to as a walking staff. These can be rather heavy and may be more trouble than they are worth. If one is nostalgic, or thinks they may need a weapon to scare off coyotes or other scavengers, then a $30 to $190 investment in wooden hiking poles might be worth considering. Wooden trekking poles are rarely sold in pairs as most other hiking poles are and the upper price strata seems to be occupied by models that are more for show than for practical use.
Modern carbon-fiber trekking poles are usually telescoping in nature, which is great because that means that they can be carried very easily when not in use. Many models extend as far as 60 inches and typically telescope to anywhere from a third to half of their full height. Lightweight and strong, these poles are ideal for those looking to take long treks in the great outdoors, but their telescoping nature do make them fragile in ways that their solid counterparts are not. Additionally, there is a literal price to be paid for their telescoping nature, as most carbon-fiber hiking poles with telescoping features cost upwards of $100 per pair.
Not all modern carbon-fiber trekking poles are telescoping in nature. Solid, non-telescoping poles are innately stronger and less complex than their telescoping counterparts. The lack of moving parts not only yields better strength, but lower prices starting at around $70 per pair.
Anyone who plans on hiking through snowy terrain will probably want snow poles that can typically be bolted together to form ice/snow probes. Additionally, the bottoms of these poles are typically spiked to gain better purchase on the frozen ground under the snow and/or ice. Costing at least $120 per set for quality snow trekking poles, it cannot be overstated how great of an investment these can be if the ice/snow probe feature saves one’s life even once. Snow can be incredibly misleading, and taking a spill in foul weather is a situation many do not live to regret.