Actually..I use the poles more on the steep down
trails to ease the shock on my knees of Washington's trails full of roots,boulders,and those Sasquatch sized steps.Downhill is tougher than uphill for me...but I do use my upper body/poles to help on the inclines and large steps that way also.
The trails around the greater Seattle area are a lot worse than the ONP on the peninsula.I call those "zamboni" trails over there..
.That's what it looks like they groomed them with.I can hike an additional 50% per day over there with less overall effort.
The "Mountain loop" area we normally hike around here has less maintenance,steeper trails(more switchbacks),more exposed cliffs,rock faces,and overall seems more rugged than the southern areas in the Puget Sound Basin or the peninsula..and it generally gets less traffic..which is why we go there.Usually the wife and I reach the trailheads at about 8am which means we usually don't see hardly anyone if at all until after lunch or noon..usually on OUR way back down..I can live with that.