Hiking Stick or as some call it trekking pole (it has other names as well) comes handy in hiking and scrambling. I've even seen people, mostly elderly, to use them in parks. I once considered buying a pair and checked a local sport shop. A simple telescopic pair, I guess it was, cost some $80. Although helpful, I would never spend that much on a pair of plastic/metal rods. The poles also come with a sort of end cap which is designed to be helpful in snowy and icy paths. They easily come off for normal hiking. Still does not interests me to spend that much.
I've used a wooden stick for a long time. I once found a strong and long branch beside Bow Valley Parkway. I guess it was early last year or so (early in hiking season). I've been using it since. There are a few advantages with that:
1- If you get stricken by lightning, a hiking pole could somehow be dangerous and deadly. While a branch has no issue.
2- If you drop it during your trip or forget it somewhere, you won't lose any bucks. You can simply pick up another one quickly.
3- It is a good weapon if you have to face an animal or a human-shape animal. For the first one you need to have the guts to use it. The second one barely comes to happening particularly in hiking but you never know!
I guess the above three reasons are good for me to simply carry a wooden stick as a hiking pole. You make your own decision! It is not the fancy stuff which takes you to the summit. It is determination and stamina.
(Photo: Waving to the camera, I was on a walking tour in Kananaskis or to be specific on Highway # 60 back in Apr. where most of the hikes and scrambles are left only to professionals. Parts of the highway was closed. It is an annual seasonal closure.I was there with my buddy, The Chef whom is not seen in the photo. Here I'm holding a stick which I just had found! Good handy equipment!)