My kid joined the Boy Scouts. I should be thrilled, right? Then he went on a 2 week long hiking trip in New Mexico. Not to many times you get to do something like that, and when I was in high school I thought myself too cool for stuff like that. Nowadays, though, I wish I had. So when the Scout Leaders started asking for adult volunteers I was eager to sign up too.
Then we started training. You tie a couple dozen pounds on your back and start walking. It is no joke getting through the mountains and desert of New Mexico, so you have to be prepared to face how hard it can be. You know what I realized when I was in our town park, with 40 pounds of sand in my backpack? My knees hurt. While my boy was just trucking along, I was struggling to keep up. You always see those Cosby Show and Malcolm in the Middle episodes where the kid finally schools his dad, and it happened on those trips in the park, even if he didn’t realize it.
So I went to the local sporting goods stores and did my best to find a hiking pole. It was to no avail, all they had were these thin sticks that would probably have worked, but out in the middle of nowhere, I wanted something a little bit more sturdy and reliable.
I was stumped. Every hiking store I looked at had the same thing. They looked like cross-country skiing equipment instead of downright hiking sticks. Then, while I was poking fun at my wife for her idea to look at a designer cane website that I didn’t need a cane, much less a fancy, designer one, I found them. Big, stout walking sticks that would surely support my weight, no matter how much I needed to lean on them.
And what I picked I couldn’t be more happy with. The natural, root-knob look of my walking stick is outstanding, perfect for the rough-and-tumble places I’ll be taking it. I equipped it with a comfortable leather wrist strap (courtesy of my son’s leather working merit badge), and then when I went out training with him the next time, not only was it easy (maybe I had gotten used to carrying my life on my back), but I also looked the part. Would anyone know that I needed it to be able to keep going? I think not.
And my son sure didn’t, to him, I’m still the same dad that can school him at a one-on-one game of hoops, knock him down in a boxing match, and now, trek it across the mountains of rugged New Mexico with the best (and youngest) of them!