Hillsound Trail Gear

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It certainly wasn’t the plan to complete the Catskills Winter 35 (hiking every peak over 3500ft between the dates of December 21st and March 21st). In fact, the plan was to do the four required winter peaks of the regular Catskills 35 and resume in the spring, but like many carefully laid plans, this one failed. Being a city girl, before moving to the Catskills, all my walking was of the pavement persuasion and, truth be told, I only started hiking to wear out my puppy. I am not prepared for spring at all (and never was), but thanks to my friends at Hillsound, I am perfectly winterized with crampons, ultra crampons and gaiters, which are nifty contraptions, like hiker’s leg warmers that don’t wrinkle. Gaitors have stirrups that prevent the gaiter from rising up so that snow does not go up the trouser leg.

Also, the snowboarding shoes I was hiking in are perfect for wearing with crampons because you cannot feel them. Snowboarding shoes have worked for me because the base of many a Catskills peak involves stream crossings and there’s nothing worse than squelching along in inundated shoes. Clumsy person + stream crossings = soaking. Other hikers complain that wearing spikes is like walking on razor blades, but if you have a thick sole, you don’t feel it. Quite a handy discovery that has me winter hiking every weekend.

I have been hopping around with shoe confidence all winter and friends and neighbors have been introduced to these marvelous gadgets that hitherto we had not known existed. The Ultra Crampons from Hillsound are even more effective than their ordinary crampons and helped me navigate the steep ice sheets of the Spruceton Trail on last weekend’s hike to the Hunter Mountain Fire Tower. Thanks to Hillsound, who supplied all the gear, this city girl might get the Winter 35 done before March 21st.

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