The Other End of the Stick

Walking Stick at Rocky Bridge

An often overlooked but useful bit of gear, the walking stick is an excellent addition to the woodsman’s tools. My walking stick accompanies me on most of my day hikes and has spent many nights with me under the stars.

Walking Stick Used for Climbing

Walking Sticks are Most Useful When Traveling in Mountainous Terrain

Big Mike's Walking Stick

Walking Sticks are Especially Helpful to Older Walkers and Hikers

A walking stick is most useful for providing support while climbing up or down hills. But they are also useful for: keeping balance while crossing obstacles, moving brush and briars from trails, shielding your face from spider webs, leaning on for resting, providing a crutch if injured, and possibly a weapon against an aggravated animal or person. Not to mention, they look pretty cool.

Walking sticks are easy to find and are often field-expedient. There is rarely a shortage of them in the wilderness. They can be used for a specific time period and discarded back to the woods. However, if you are so inclined, you can keep your eyes open for a special stick that is worthy of collecting and modifying for your use and enjoyment. I found mine during a day of deer-hunting. I walked back to the house, exchanged my rifle for a hatchet and collected my twisted tree. After letting it dry thoroughly for a season or two, I shaved the bottom and handle portions, sanded to a smooth surface and applied a few coats of protectant. As years pass, I will continue to add to my walking stick by adding a wrist strap, a few talismans, and perhaps a 550-cord handle. It has become not only a functional piece of gear but a beautiful conversation piece that I am quite proud of.

If you have collected and modified a walking stick, I’d love to hear about it, or better yet, see a picture of it.

Walking Stick at the Dry's of New River

Walking Sticks also Help with Balance When Negotiating Obstacles or Traveling on Slippery Surfaces

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8 thoughts on “The Other End of the Stick

  1. Great post. My favorite walking stick as a teen in the Scouts was a piece of ironwood that had been twisted by a vine. I stripped the bark off and polished it up. Wonder what ever happened to it? It may be in my dad’s garage somewhere.

    • Thanks so much! I’m anxious to get a chance to read over your blog as I love and believe in the people of our state. If you find that walking stick, share the pics.

  2. I found this beautiful stick when out walking in the woods and cut it straight away. It’s the real stickman! The twist on the shaft goes all the way down and was made by honeysuckle growing around it.

  3. Pingback: Day-Hiking on the Appalachian Trail | A guide to smoothing it in the outdoors.

  4. Pingback: How to Tackle Your Fishing Tackle | SmoothingIt.com

  5. I found my twisted stick while not looking for stick. I sually go for walks and come home at leasr 2 or 3 sticks, but as I said , while walking for leisure I looked over my shoulder while on my path and saw what I still say was a gift from God. I never saw a twisted branch where I grew twisted around a vine which aparrently attempted to have its way with it, but the tree turned tables on the vine and grew arou d the vine killing it .instead. it broked off the main tree and was hanging by a few fiber threads on the tree. I pulled it free and we’ve been family ever sence . My 4 yr old grandaughter calls it my “Bad Boy” and my youngest daughter (25yrs) calls it my “Septer” , as forme I just call it my “Stick”.

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