Gandalf Would Be Proud Of Me

Gandalf: “Bookstooge, now you are the Master and I the Student!”

The other month I wrote a post about how Louis L’Amour would have been ashamed of me. Well, this month I think I can more than make up for that. I have been interested in walking sticks for some time but it has only been in the last 5 or 6 years that that interest has been anything but purely intellectual.

My first “staff” was actually just a stave of diamond wood. Diamond wood is an artificial substance that is wicked strong, won’t bend or break and can take a beating and keep on going. The stave was actually meant to be cut up for other purposes but I figured it was good enough. How wrong I was. This thing was almost an inch and a half in diameter and was heavy, heavy, heavy. While it might have been great if you needed to break someone’s skull, it was NOT good for walking around. It was quickly relegated to a corner by the coat rack and forgotten about.

My next attempt was a locally made walking stick that I bought at the Pumpkin Festival. An old gentleman made them himself and would then sell them at the festival each year. I am very thankful I picked this up because after that year we never saw him again. It is very light, has some nice crooks and turns to it and has been sealed so it won’t rot away. It also has one of those 99cent compasses in the top of the handle in case I ever get lost and need to find my way to the North Pole. My biggest issue with this staff is that there is a very small crook at the top where you hold it and that angles my wrist and makes it hurt if I use it for than 15minutes. I’ve tried hold it lower but my hand just naturally keeps sliding up to that crook.

For our X wedding anniversary Mrs B and I attended the Highland Games in New Hampshire a couple of years ago. It was blustery and cold and bordering on rainy so while Mrs B attended some tented cooking thingy, I took a walk around and looked at all the knickknacks to buy. One seller had a whole rack of staves on display and I ended up picking this one and it has served me well. It fits my hand well, is just the right height and weight for me and solid enough that I can give someone a good solid “thwack” without worrying that it’ll break on the first swing. If we ever go to the Highland Games again I’ll be sure to pick up another. Because you just can’t be too prepared.

Here’s a picture of all 3 next to each other for comparison..

66 thoughts on “Gandalf Would Be Proud Of Me

        1. On flat areas it doesn’t, but going up or down hills it takes some of the stress off my knees. It’s not like I can suddenly walk 10 miles and not feel a thing, but it helps a little.
          Plus, nobody thinks twice about someone using a walking stick like they would if they saw my sig tucked into my belt.

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                    1. Unplayability. Taking five minutes to reload every time you die. AI where you can actually block doorways with fallen bodies, because the enemy act the same every time. It’s a famously bad game.

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂

      Yes, if you have the wrong walking stick, it IS cumbersome. Which is why one that is the right weight for you is extremely important. On the flat areas it doesn’t help much but going up and down hills it helps reduce the stress on my knees and back. I’m not suddenly going to be able to walk twice the distance with no effort, but when I do walk I don’t end up all hurt’y afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tales. It’s definitely not something you HAVE to think about in suburbia 🙂
      All of mine have rubber caps on the bottom end but at some point I’d like to get an iron ferrule for the one that I use the most. Possibly get a band or two of iron around it too, as long as it wouldn’t increase the weight very much.

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    1. I think I’d have to get one a bit taller so the carving wouldn’t get in the way of my grip. Not sure how a taller one would affect the usability.
      I’ve seen staves based on the Lord of the Rings movies from sites like Museum Replicas Limited, but those things run for around $200, ouch!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just a generic tourist stick that you could buy at the start of the hike. The wood was strong enough, fortunately. In the Andes you have to deal with slippery Inca steps, lack of oxygen and porters that nearly push you off the road. So yeah you really need one.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice sticks! Now you can also say you live out in them! 😉
    Seriously though, I never considered buying one – I usually just go for a walk or mushroom picking and find a suitable one, and then I leave it somewhere because I’m picking mushrooms and then I need to find another stick… 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Uh oh, looks like WP is up to it’s old “not logged in tricks”. Sigh. Sorry that’s not working for you.

      If a free disposable branch works for you, then “stick” with it. But I needed something more permanent and so far this one from the Games is working.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You know, this ONLY happens on blogs that have upgraded to dotcoms. For me, I’ve only ever seen in this happen on my blog and yours and Lashaan’s. Not that I follow hundreds of people mind you but still…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I know this blogger who went self-hosted but powered by WP and now she and I can’t comment on each other’s blogs through WP and can’t like each other’s posts not through WP…

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Self-hosted and trying to use WP is a nightmare. I recently stopped following a fellow because his comment section stopped using the jetpack thingy. Making commenting hard is the surest way to kill my interest in a blog.

              And I’m sure you’ve seen the dotcom vs dotorg issues. WP is not WP all the time. It’s confusing as all get out…

              Liked by 1 person

  2. These are so cool! I think my favorite is the one you purchased from the old man. I love the story too. We had a distant neighbor that used to make them, I want to say, out of hickory? They’re just so cool. I agree that Gandalf would be proud. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice! Now, if your really want to make Gandalf VERY proud of you, you need to add to your collection a staff with the same kind of “light jewel” that turned out to be very useful in Moria. After all, you never know what kind of dark roads one can find himself traveling… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, you got me to click! I can’t resist Gandalf. And your post did not disappoint. I love walking sticks (the idea of them anyway). I have seen them for sale at pow wows and suchlike, and they are not cheap! But it is totally worth it! (Or so I imagine. Usually when I’m on a hike, my hands are full of water bottles and kids’ coats and stuff like that.)

    My grandfather in law had a walking stick that was twisty because a vine had been wrapped around the branch. He used to tell kids that he had a pet snake who would wrap around the stick and fall asleep. 😉

    My dad has one that is covered in little souvenir plates from all the different places he’s visited, mostly in Germany. Apparently those Germans love their hiking. But his stick is shorter, more like a cane, and I doubt it could double as a weapon the way yours does. I guess yours is a shillelagh. But perhaps the Scots have another word for it. Post updates if you find out a fancy word for it …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, I can imagine that a walking stick is the last thing on your mind when dealing with littles 🙂

      I like twisty ones as long as it doesn’t affect the overall balance or the grip. Which is my issue with the one.

      I thought about canes but I have found my arm likes to be at about elbow height or higher when gripping and a cane is too short for comfort.

      I looked up shillelagh and the scots use the same term as well as “kebbie”. Those usually have a large knob or bowl on the end, sometimes filled with lead. That seems a bit heavy for me 😀

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  5. Before I came over to the Netherlands, I had a customer that made canes out of all sorts of throw away stuff. He offered to make me a staff with and Alien head, came to show it off a few times and I was going to buy it of him while it was still unfinished, but he said he wanted to complete it first. Sadly the number he gave me never worked so I left SA with no Alien cane… Looked pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I bet that would have looked awesome!

      And that is why I always check a number right away. Usually I’ll text the person standing there to make sure. All it takes is one wrong number and suddenly you can’t communicate. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. On our last vacation (several years ago), my wife and I went hiking in Patagonia. The place we were staying gave us adjustable, probably aluminum, walking sticks. I experimented with using just one and with using two like ski poles, but now can’t remember which I liked better.

    Everyone kept trying to be helpful and adjusting them to be too long for us, I always had to shorten them. If they are too long, it hurts your balance because your hands are way above your center of gravity and the pole wobbles, at least when climbing steep slopes.

    Liked by 1 person

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