A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, February 17, 2020


In my spare time, which seems I don't have that much of, I will work on making walking/hiking sticks.  I've been carrying these around for a couple years now and thought I'd tried to get them finished this winter.  The two on the left which I've started on are of Utah Juniper. They require a bit more work in that I have to remove all the fibrous bark in order to oil the finished piece.  I'll stay away from that wood in the future. The three on the right are Gamble Oak.  It is more difficult than you might imagine in finding suitable pieces to make hiking sticks from.  Naturally they must be pretty much straight and not too thick or too thin but just right to hold in your hand.

 These three are my personal sticks not intended to be given away as the others are.  The one in the center is from a dead immature Ponderosa Pine near camp at Tres Predias, New Mexico.  It was about ten or twelve feet tall.  I pushed it over and cut off the top which that stick is the trunk of the tree, not a branch.  It is the straightest piece I have and is my favorite to use just going for a walk.  The one on the right is my go-to hiking stick and the one on the left is just decorative, not used.

This is the decorative stick. 
I like the beetle groves in it.

My go-to hiking stick is one of the first I made years ago.  It is a branch from a Douglas Fir tree in Annadel Park back home.  It must have a few thousand miles on it by now. 

It has the perfect fit in the palm of my hand.  I prefer my sticks to be no longer than the distance from hand to ground with my arm bent at a forty-five degree angle.  I see people using staffs that Moses would have, or Friar Tuck preparing to joust with Robin Hood.  Way too much stick in my mind. 

I angle the top slightly for sometimes I place my thumb there.  My walking stick is perfectly molded on top for my thumb to rest without an edge cutting into the joint. 

I met a lady early on near camp this year.  First thing she remarked on "Nice walking stick".  I was using that real straight Ponderosa Pine stick.  She was short, barely five feet tall if that.  I got out my shortest stick, filed down all the rough parts, sanded it and gave it a coating of tung oil.  Christmas Eve day she was away from her camp.  I left the stick leaning against the trailer by her door with a Merry Christmas note on it.  It was fun watching her return home, see the stick, look around and take it inside.  She still has no idea who or where it came from.  Hee-hee.


  1. Oh, I bet she does. What a fun thing to do for a stranger! I grew up hiking with my folks, and they were big on walking sticks. Like you Dad had a knack for finding the perfect stick and whittling it to a smooth finish. They too would save them and I found several in the storage room when they had passed. Great memories. Enjoy your day!

  2. Those are great walking sticks. How lovely of you to surprise that lady with one of your sticks. I think a good walking stick is essential equipment. I have a friend who makes them and does wood burning on them. So unique!

  3. I agree, the tracks left by the insects are beautiful. Clever little beetles!
    I'm sure the lady appreciated the stick you left her. what a kind and generous thing to do.


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