Wikepedia’s article on stilts https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stilts mentions that historically they were used by the inhabitants of marshy or swampy areas to get around. I don’t understand this: I would have thought that placing a person’s weight on narrow stilt poles would have caused them to sink to the footrests in boggy ground.
Sometimes marshy/muddy areas are only soft for a few inches and then there’s a layer of much more solid material underneath. My first thought is something like the flooding of a cranberry field.
But, yes, there are definitely some marshes that would be even worse on stilts than on foot.
Just a thought, but - the base of the stilt doesn’t have to be as narrow as the shaft. You could end the stilt with a ‘sole’ the size of an ordinary foot - or even somewhat bigger.
Maybe it’s for stepping between drier spots? The marshes and bogs I’ve been in have plenty of dry ground, but often with gaps that are too large to cross unassisted.
Even worse, the utility of stilts requires that the ends can be quickly moved to a spot beneath the center of gravity, in order for the user to maintain balance. This cannot be done with the lower ends in water, not to mention sticky muck… Stilts in a marsh would be effective using a different principle – the end of the stilt stuck in the mud to keep the user from falling over. But that would seem to allow for slow movement. The user would not balance on free stilts, but be held up by anchored stilts.
Surely the stilts would just get stuck in the muck, as the OP guesses. Then you lose balance and go Splat!
As a child I read a book - one of the “Swallows and Amazons” series, but I don’t remember which one.
A boy in the book walked across marsh/mudflats on a device he called ‘splatchers’ which sounded sort of like solid-surface snowshoes. Flat wooden things strapped to the bottom of his boots. I’ve always wondered how well that worked. Better than stilts, I should think.