Several years ago my daughter gave ma a walking stick for Fathers Day., It was my second one, since I had carved one a few years before that from a sucker I had cit from my Redbud tree, Last year I returned the favor and carved a walking stick for my grandson Josh.
Little did I know how much my Fathers Day stick would come in handy. About two months ago I sprained my knee, and my walking sticks have come in very handy. I keep one in the house and one in my truck. Although because of physical therapy my knee is getting better the old walking sticks are still nice to lean on. To paraphrase the 23rd Psalm “My rod & my staff, they comfort me”.
When I was growing up, and just learning to fish, my father taught me a trick that his father had taught him a generation before. Along side a large stream, Dad would select about a half dozen young alder trees. Because they were flexible, he could bend the top of a sapling into a complete circle about 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Dad would then bind the loop in place without injuring the young tree. He explained that when we returned the next year the trees would be permanently grown into that loop pattern. Then we could harvest one sapling a year and you could place your arm through the loop to make the perfect wading staff! It’s amazing the knowledge those old timers had!
I recall a time when I was exploring near Preston Falls on the Tuolumne River in the shade beneath some huge oaks, when I surprised a large rattler. Fortunately my trusty walking staff solved the problem and we had barbequed rattler for dinner that night. Early last Saturday morning I decided to go for a walk along the river. While my knee is getting better it’s still comforting to have my staff with me.
Whether you call them a walking stick, staff, rod or quarter staff, those darned sticks can come in really handy. I read just about a year ago about a couple who were out walking with their grandson, when the boy was attacked by a mountain lion! The couple was able to beat the lion off with their walking sticks and rush the boy to the hospital where he was expected to make a full recovery. I’ll bet they were glad they had their walking sticks with them. I heartily recommend that your get your own walking stick. You can make your own, or buy one, but regardless, you’ll find a walking stick to be a darned handy tool to enhance the quality of your outdoor experience.
Until Next Week,