Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hiking Expedition Souvenirs

I first saw souvenir hiking medallions when I was visiting in Europe in the 1980's.  It wasn't until several years later, that I started routinely seeing them in the United States, and started collecting them myself.  A small section of my collection is shown in this photo, with the brass medallions carefully nailed into my wooden staff, that I keep on display in my living room.  There are currently 24 of the medallions covering one side of the wooden staff, and I hope to add more to the other side with some hikes I have on my "bucket list".   The hobby of collecting medallions, similar to the ones shown in this photo,   started in the 1800's in the Swiss Alps.  The hobby allows the collector to proudly display their travels for all to see, while at the same time, creating a family heirloom.  If you are a Bible scholar, you will probably know that the practice of putting a brass medallion on a wooden staff goes back much, much further than the 1800's!  Specifically, the practice is described in Numbers 21:8-9 that says: "The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."  So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole.  (These verses are also cross-referenced in John 3:14-15)  If collecting hiking medallions is something that interests you, but you do not have the time or money to go back and visit all the various parks and trails where the medallions are for sale, do not despair!  There is a company called Hike America ( ) where you can select from hundreds of  locations, to order over the Internet, any hiking medallions that you want.  They will even custom craft a medallion, if you do not find the one you are looking for.  I first found out about their services, when I started on a quest to get a medallion to commemorate my visit to the Pacific Crest Trail.  Since there were no gift shops around selling the Pacific Crest Trail medallions, I found out that the medallions can be ordered at any time, from any location, thanks to the modern technology of the Internet!   Looking at my colorfully decorated hiking staff, I am giving  thanks for being able to visit so many beautiful hiking locations, and for the "miles of hiking smiles" I have experienced in God's great outdoors!  Tricia