I often wonder while I’m out hiking (birding) if I should have a walking stick with me… Often times I’m alone in the woods or trails where there may not be anyone that could hear me if I scream!
I’ve hiked in areas that have regular deadly visitors such as; bears, coyotes, mountain lions, venomous snakes, bobcats and spiders…. now perhaps spiders may not qualify to be on this list, but you try being the first one on a trail in the morning and let me know if you enjoy walking into all of the webs that cross in front of you!!! Having a stick to break the web so you can walk through is worth its weight in gold!
Now a stick would also be helpful if I come across one of the wild animals and I wasn’t able to back away quietly without confrontation… but a stick is difficult to hold onto while I’m using my binoculars and camera… I’m going to have to check to see if they sell a clip of some kind that I could attach my collapsed walking stick to my side so it’s there when I need it, but out of the way when I’m birding.
A few years ago I was alone on a trail, when up ahead in a ditch I spotted something moving. I stopped and looked through my binoculars… I saw a Bobcat, I think I woke him up from a nap.
He looked like he was deciding if he was going to bother leaving the area or just going to stay and see where I was heading… so of course I took out my camera, got a few photos. At that time, he thought leaving would be the thing to do, so off he started down the trail away from me. Obviously, I headed in the opposite direction!
Now a couple of years ago I was walking with a birding group along a canal in Play Del Ray, California. The group meets once a month for a couple of hours. As we were walking down the path we came across a Diamond Back Rattlesnake! It was just soaking up the sun, I had to stand near it to warn others in our group to walk around it because it really just looked like a stick…
So, back to the question at hand… should I bring a walking stick or not? What do you think? Do you walk with a stick? Let me know your thoughts…thanks!