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If you ever forget your mountain canes, you can always try to find a branch dropped to the ground and using it as a cane. Never take one of a living tree, it could be a protected specie.

All shepherds around the world have used wooden canes and sticks as a main tool. They are essencial at the mountains. They help us walking, and they also scare away animals, and serve us to climb or go down more comfortably in mountain areas. In the Canary Islands, traditional shepherds make spectacular ascents and descents with long wooden sticks.

In northern Spain, wooden sticks were mainly from hazel. They are flexible but resistant rods. The shepherds used it in the bush to jump, climb, guide cattle and walk on slopes or snowy areas. And nowadays they continue to use them.

The old photo is not from the 1900 Olympics. It is a shepherd’s competition in Picos de Europa. Today, the “salto pasiego” is a traditional Cantabrian sport that looks a bit like pole vaulting.

So you can see everything that can be done with a simple stick….

(classic photo obtained from www.foropicos.net)

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