The Plymouth Review published an article about Mickeys Hiking Sticks. This is what they had to say,
While Mickey Beth, a town of Mitchell woodcarver, and his wife Bonnie were selling items at a craft show recently, a customer relayed some exciting news to them. He had recently returned from England and said he had recognized one of the Beths’ handcrafted hiking sticks there. The couple’s meticulously carved walking and hiking sticks are easily recognizable, because they contain three carved markings – the Beths’ “Happy Hiking Signs” insignia. The two circles within circles denote small animal eyes, watching and protecting the walkers and hikers. The sun is a symbol of good hiking weather, and the line encircling the stick designates a happy and safe trail. “Mickey’s” is the name of the Beths’ business, with Mickey carving ducks, loons, walking and hiking sticks, and Bonnie applying the natural, polyurethane finishes. For those who don’t know the difference between walking and hiking sticks, “Walking sticks are shorter than hiking sticks,” Mickey explained. “They should come up to the bone in the wrist to make it more comfortable.
“Hiking sticks are taller, and it’s a matter of preference, as to where the hiker holds onto the stick. This can be any place he chooses,” he noted. “Using a hiking stick takes off 30 percent of the pressure on the hiker’s back.” He uses black-walnut wood for the hiking and walking sticks, as the wood is strong. “I like the way it looks too,” he added. Sometimes a friend provides the wood from a tree he has cut down. For example, “Joanne and Tom Helfert, our friends from Beaver Dam gave us a tree,” he said. “We took the wood and had it cut at a saw mill and then kiln dried it. The wood from this tree has a special meaning for us.” He orders most of the black walnut from lumber companies in Adams Friendship. Mickey carves a variety of 50 tops for the walking and hiking sticks. Among these are: ducks, birds, fish and dogs. “Our walking and hiking sticks have become collectors’ items for many people,” Mickey said. He uses old barn beams that are in good shape to carve the heads. The duck heads on the sticks were the catalyst for his larger handcrafted ducks. “After putting duck heads on the sticks, I carved a duck that resembles an antique, decoy-looking duck,” he recalled. “Then, within the last year, we discovered how to add a colored pigment to the ducks, to bring out the natural grain. This new look is something people have not seen before.” About 10 years ago, Mickey discovered his passion for another craft – writing. “The barn beams I use to carve the duck heads have a very special feeling to them, and that special feeling is what inspired me to write a book,” he said. Mickey added that he and his wife believe wood is a natural gift and that everyone should enjoy it. Thus, in 2001, he wrote and self-published a 35-page, soft-cover children’s book, titled “Happy Wood, Sad Wood.”
Tina Lesnick of Eagle River provided the illustrations. Each illustration depicts smiling faces on the trees for the happy times, and frowning faces for the sad occasions. “The trees are sad when they are cut down, but they are happy again when they are used for a good purpose, like for the walls in a house or in a barn,” Mickey said. “Sad logs on the bottom of rivers and lakes can become happy again when they are recycled.” Mickey dedicated his book to their dog Annie, a Springer spaniel who passed away after the book was published. The Beths sold their book at craft shows and donated some copies to schools. Mickey has enjoyed working with wood since he was a student at West Bend High School and took a woodworking class. “Ten years later, I started carving on my own,” he said. The couple began their business in 1989, when they were residing in West Bend. Then, in 1996, they moved to Minocqua and continued their craft endeavors there. The Beths moved into a log house in the town of Mitchell four years ago and sell their items there as well as at the Ice Age Center near Dundee and at a variety of annual craft shows.