The stick as several purposes. It keeps me steady when I don't see roots crossing the path, it helps me when I have to go downhill -- acting as a third leg. It helps propel me up when the path goes uphill. I can use it to move branches and limbs away from my face. Some have even used their sticks to remove snakes from their path, but fortunately I haven't had that opportunity, yet.
There are other times I use a stick, too. When I take our dog, Sparrow, outside she sometimes likes to dawdle in the yard. Being a beagle she feels compelled to sniff every blade of grass. That's when I gently touch her behind with a stick. She gets the message it is time to go inside and hurries along.