A walking stick is a device used to facilitate walking, for fashion, or for defensive reasons.
Walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes and some have become collector's items. People with disabilities may be use some kinds of walking sticks as a crutch. The walking stick has also historically been known to be used as a defensive or offensive weapon and may conceal a knife or sword - as in a swordstick.
Hikers use walking sticks, also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles, or hiking sticks, for a wide variety of purposes: to clear spider webs or to part thick bushes or grass obscuring their trail; as a support when going uphill or as a brake when going downhill; as a balance point when crossing streams, swamps, or other rough terrain; to feel for obstacles in the path; to test mud and puddles for depth; to enhance the cadence of striding, and as a defence against wild animals. Also known as an alpenstock, from its origins in mountaineering in the Alps, such a walking stick is equipped with a steel point and a hook or pick on top. One can improvise a walking stick from nearby felled wood. More ornate sticks are made for avid hikers and often adorned with small trinkets or medallions depicting "conquered" territory. Wooden walking-sticks are used for outdoor sports, healthy upper-body exercise, and even club, department, and family memorials. They can be individually handcrafted from a number of woods and may be personalised in many ways for the owner.
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