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Author: mcdowellaz

Joined: 10/26/2011
Posts: 9
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2011

January 30, 2014
We are preparing for our upcoming trip The Treasures Of The Aegean and noticed our hand book mentions bringing hiking poles. I would like to hear from those that have taken this trip and what your thoughts are on hiking poles. Thanks for any tips you can share. Linda

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 524
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

January 30, 2014

 We have not taken this trip, but have used hiking poles on heart of India and our current trip Costa Rica national parks and tropical forrtests. They have been invaluable. We are using a very reasonable pair, bought for about $15 at Target they are made by Coleman,s. In general one pair will do two people and the telescope and/or come apart to fit in your luggage.

Author: mcdowellaz

Joined: 10/26/2011
Posts: 9
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2011

January 30, 2014
NanaandPapa thanks for your response. We have hiking poles that we use for snow shoeing but we are also hikers and do not use them for that. So we are trying to decide how useful they would be. I don't mind using them, I just don't like carrying them when not in use. I guess it will be a last minute decision. Linda

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 242
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1995

January 30, 2014

 Hi McD,

I looked at the itinerary.  We just came from the Hidden Gems of Dalmatian Coast in October.  We did the Delphi thing as in your itinerary.  Yes, walking sticks or a cane would be quite helpful, unless you have no bad knees, bad back, or shoulders.  There's a lot of walking on rocks or sorta wet ground, and the steps up to the Museum, and down, are mostly without hand rails and may be quite uneven in  rise.  

However, during the first part up, it's mostly slightly grade, some rocky, and you could do that without aid.  The PD kept asking us if anyone wanted to go back at certain points.  Some people did.  It is not for motorized or wheel chairs.  There were two points where PD said if anyone wanted to go back, do it then.

Those of us who went on to the top of the mountain where the Museum is--some of us had a hard time; one of our group walked with a very prominent limp, she was around 79, used a cane and went all the way to the top and down without a whimper.  I used a cane mostly to go down the steps due to bad knee and very bad back.  The cane helped me to get to the next step.  Our canes were the folding type and were pretty sturdy--got them at Walmart for about $10.  Hope this helps

Author: candmj

Joined: 9/30/2011
Posts: 10
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 1997

January 30, 2014
If you are hikers and do not use poles for hiking, you will not need them for the Treasures of the Aegean trip. We participated in all of the hikes offered during the trip and do not recall anyone using hiking poles. In Meteora our TL organized a late afternoon voluntary hike from one of the monasteries down to the town of Kalambaka where dinner was on our own. On Naxos there was an easy hike in the Melanes Valley. On the island of Amorgos there was a voluntary hike (climb) up a long series of steps to the monastery. Yes, there is a lot of uphill and downhill walking and step climbing on this trip so that it is not suitable for those who have difficulty walking or climbing. But hiking poles are not necessary for most people.

Author: littlera

Joined: 1/30/2014
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

January 30, 2014

I have a bit of problem at time with my left knee, so I now carry a pair of excellent Black Diamond hiking poles anytime I travel, either because I know a site I will be visiting will have a large number of steps (such as Great Wall or Ghost Mountain in China, temple of Dawn in Bangkok, etc.) or I might find I need them on an unplanned excursion.  These are high tech collapsible aluminum alloy, fully adjustable for length, and have interchangeable rubber and tungsten carbide tips depending on the surface you will be negotiating.  They collapse to about 24 inches or less, and fit easily in my suitcase.  The pair weighs less than a pound.  I highly recommend these or similar product.

Author: mcdowellaz

Joined: 10/26/2011
Posts: 9
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2011

January 31, 2014
Thank you all for input. I sometimes think the handbook gives me a sense of the trip being more challenging than I think they are. That's why it helps me hear from people who have been on the trip. I realize everyone has different abilities, but it still helps. We do have Black Diamond hiking poles and I agree with you littlera they are great. Linda

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 57
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

January 31, 2014
We don't have any experience with this particular trip but we've found on other trips that hiking staffs can be very helpful, even when they're not recommended by GCT/OAT or the TL. Ours are collapsible (similar to those used by vision-impaired folks, but bought at a sporting store), they take up little space or weight, and they can be carried in their "holster" on the belt or in /on a backpack. Even if they're not used, they're good insurance. As all of us age, we probably find that our vision and mobility are not as good as they once were--the staffs often can help. If you have staffs with you, use your own judgment at the time--don't rely on others' opinions, and don't be ashamed to use the staffs if you feel they're needed.

Author: tpreminger

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 48
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 1999

February 02, 2014

I took this trip (or similar one) when it was an OAT excursion two years ago.  I loved it.

 But there's a lot of walking and a stick or cane certainly helpful.  Lots of uneven ground, goat paths, cobblestones, etc.  The terrain can change several times over the course of an hour's walk. \

Also, Greece is remarably hilly. More so than most of us realize, so there's a lot of UP and DOWN.  A walking stick/cane helps tremendously.

You can find folding sticks/cane online or at most retail sporting good stores, even pharmacies. Mind folds into four segment, packed in a pouch that fits in my carry on.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

February 02, 2014

 We've taken a number of OAT trips which are generally somewhat more adventurous than Grand Circle-branded trips, and have found we needed hiking poles only once-when we took the Nepal trip.  But 'need' depends on what shape you're in, and what, if any, physical infirmities you have have.  So the fact that we, or anyone else for that matter needed or didn't need the hiking poles on any given trip may not necessarily apply to you.  Regarding a choice of hiking poles, not being hikers, we asked our son, who is a mountain climber( he climbed Denali most recently ) for advice, and he recommended 'Black Diamond' immediately, which we purchased.  The sticks are collapsable and can fit into both our suitcases and the OAT duffles, and can be adjusted both at the grip and bottom end for a more accurate height, in addition to being sturdy.  they served us well in Nepal.

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