A classic image of a pilgrim includes a stick / staff with a scallop shell tied to the top. My experience in the Camino is watching some walk with no staff and some walk with one stick. Most walk with two.
A decent pair of sticks can be priceless. I purchased this set in St Jean Pied de Port the day before I began. Made of carbon fiber, they are both lightweight and strong. More than once I have seen them flex and snap back to save me.
Sticks are important to me because I am clumsy. Pilgrims walk a wide variety of terrain. From steep ascents and descents, numerous rock types, mud that is equally slick and sticky, my sticks have balanced me.
As much or more, sticks take off some weight from my knees with each step. Multiple this insignificant impact by tens of thousands of steps per day, and the value is remarkable.
Personally, I do have an issue with sticks… the click click click of the metal tip on streets, sidewalks, cobblestones, gravel, etc. Multiple that by tens of thousands of steps.
I am on my 3rd set of rubber tips since beginning my walk late May. There are many good hiking stores along the way. It has been easy to find replacements. Which is good for me because fresh tips grip more securely to rough terrain.
I am laughing at how much I have written on sticks. This is their importance. This post may be a prologue to “Boots, Socks and Foot care”. Imagine the pictures … or don’t. (Feet are a top five topic on the Camino)