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Old 12-10-2018, 09:57 AM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Nye 12/09

Many adventures were had today.

I had selected Street & Nye for my next venture, as the distance/elevation seemed according to my abilities, given the wintery conditions. I knew the trail had been broken in and at least one person had been there a week ago from a recording I saw on a popular app. For additional assurance, I presented myself on Sunday morning, assuming hikers would harden the trail on Saturday.

As I was prepping for my 7:45 start, another hiker passed by in the parking and he mentioned that he thought people had been up Street & Nye the day before. Indeed, when I got to the trail register, I saw 3 groups mentioning this as their destination (1 of which hadn’t signed out, I assume they forgot or came back another way). So, it was with renewed determination that I headed out on this beautiful and comparatively warm day.

Each season has its perks. Today, as I was walking West, the leafless trees allowed me to view both Street & Nye early on. The frozen Heart Lake with Algonquin backdrop was spectacular. And streams made a sort of gurgling chant – though perhaps this was a siren’s cursed call for me.
Things got complicated at the Indian Brook crossing. It was a river. With some sketchy-looking ice over 60% of it. I am thorough on trip selection/planning, so I’d read a ton of TR. The brook is often not passable in high water – I knew that.

But I was operating on the premise that many people had been through recently. I studied the layout for a while and chose what looked like a reasonable rock-hop combination. Now, I am not entirely certain what happen, but I suspect one of those rocks might’ve been an iceberg, so in the stream I went. I was in at least 1’ of water. But I hadn’t lost my balance (using my poles) and was 80% across, so I trudged on. I tried stepping on the ice, but it just gave way with a sickening crack. This is picture of where I crossed – in retrospect, it looks crazy:


I was on the opposite bank in short order and, as I was retrieving my change of socks and plastic bags to put in my boots, I reflected on my situation. I was not injured, I was not feeling cold at all, my spirits were good, I had a thermos of warm tea and other changes of clothes. I saw no reason not continue, despite what I had told my spouse (“at worse, if I fall in the stream, I’ll just come back, it’s close to the trailhead”).

Now to get back on the trail. This is when I suddenly realized this was not going to be an easy one (although I should’ve realize this before, one could say). There were no recent prints on this side and 6’’+ of snow lay on the path. When I got to the 2nd crossing, I saw the log on which you are supposed to go but it had 2’ of hard snow on it. I could find no other way, so started to clear some snow off it and pulled myself piggyback-style across the log.

After that, the snow deepened, and the path became less defined. 15 minutes later, I veered off path, the first of many such occurrences. Each time, I fired up the GPS and tracked back, also trying to erase the wrong tracks for those crazy enough to head this way. At the 3-mile mark, the fresh snow was a foot deep and the HP would soon become just a hint. But you could often tell when going off-track because while there is a solid base on the HP, there is (and I am not exaggerating) 3-4’ of soft snow all around it. In fact, my poles were pretty much useless, they just sank in.

It was rough going. My hands were cold from stopping to check my position all the time. I was wet from all the snow coming down each time I touched a tree. My knee was doing great though (long story short, I’ve been doing PT for a month).

There is a grove of taller trees maybe .2 mile before the Street/Nye intersection. There was less snow there, and all ways seemed as likely. Somewhere around there, the HP turned left, but I did not. By the time I once again took out my phone, I was wading in deep snow, sometimes just lying on my back and shifting my legs to gain a yard. I was wary of spruce traps and checking purchase with my poles. How much is too much snow? This.

I was more than an hour off my schedule. The wind was picking up and blowing snow at my face. I began to worry about extenuation and daylight. I still had to re-cross the damn brook. And so, I reached the decision to turn back. But I would at least reconnect with the trail - I did not want to leave a dead-end in case someone followed.

My phone told me I had to go due South and then died. I connected it to my charger, not knowing if it would revive in the cold. I eventually got back to a place where I could be confident I was on the HP. Lo and behold, I was next to Nye’s summit. So, I went up the remaining distance, which allowed for this picture of the glorious Macintyre range:


Going down, there was not even a thought about Street – I didn’t even notice the intersection. If you are planning to do Street soon, know that the HP is currently buried. As I went, I did my best to correct my earlier errors on the path (I apologize for any remaining).

Not having to use my phone anymore, my hands started warming up again which was good because I was in my 3rd and last pair of mitts/gloves. The high-altitude winds were gone. The sun was out in full and there was an orange tinge to the landscape - idyllic.



Nonetheless, I started feeling uneasy as I got closer to Indian Brook. But I entertained the thought that perhaps my earlier Nordic spa adventure was due to poor selection of crossing point. When I reached the edge of the stream, there was however no doubt that this would be difficult. I entered problem-solving mode. I took my time and ventured considerably upstream to find a better entry point. The best I found was a place where I could get halfway across on boulders – the rest was a vast iced-over area. In preparation, I removed my snowshoes, put everything in zip bags or inside my pack liner, and then put large bags over my legs. At worst, I would walk through, as this area did not seem deep. When I got to the edge of the ice, I tested it with my poles. The ice closer to my island gave way, but only for 6’’. Further along, it had a different, uniform, color and looked sturdier. I put a foot, then the other and nothing happened. Only at the utter edge of the opposite bank did the ice make a sound. I expected as much and heaved myself on a close-by boulder for the win.

The rest was a walk in the park. I was privileged to see the setting sun on Heart Lake. I put in a warning about the hazardous crossing in the trail register. I had been on the trail for 8 hours.

Last edited by Eddie Fournier; 12-15-2018 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:02 AM   #2
rbi99
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Sure seems to me you were very prepared, things just went south on you. Even then you were able to navigate out of those negative situations. Water crossings are certainly not my forte, so I empathize with you completely. Would have been very hard not to have that recrossing hanging in the back of my mind even as I might also of struggled staying on the trail.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:26 PM   #3
tenderfoot
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Great trip report. All of the Street & Nye reports I've read have you criss crossing the stream and I always wondered how that would work in the shoulder season.

I don't carry plastic bags. I few dry bags and a pack bag but not the handy plastic bags. Why don't I carry plastic bags? I need to carry plastic bags - brilliant. Thanks.

We are very conservative hikers and have turned around when we thought it prudent. Our list of straggler peaks is almost funny. Dix ridge, but not Dix. Cascade, not porter. Algonquin but not Wright. Gothics, Armstrong & UWJ bu not LWJ. On the one hand it would be great to say I've climbed 46, on the other hand we have a nice juicy list to choose from.

Also, in snow season I always figure the stream you see in the morning will not be the same as in the afternoon as melt picks up. I get worry about putting a crossing between my and my car.

But you did it!

Great pix
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:50 PM   #4
Eddie Fournier
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Originally Posted by tenderfoot View Post
Our list of straggler peaks is almost funny. Dix ridge, but not Dix. Cascade, not porter. Algonquin but not Wright. Gothics, Armstrong & UWJ bu not LWJ. On the one hand it would be great to say I've climbed 46, on the other hand we have a nice juicy list to choose from.
I also have a fair share of orphans, and I admit the 46 is starting to look like something achievable (15 so far), but I'm still just hiking for the enjoyment and the unbelievable setting. I don't mind at all coming back for Street (and I'm sure I'll go back to Nye if time allows), though I now realize the window for an easy climb is narrower than Everest!
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:17 PM   #5
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I now realize the window for an easy climb is narrower than Everest!
Well put. And I do not believe it is 100% related to season. We have had some spectacular climbs in Jan and Feb. I love a well broken trail - all of the nooks and crannies filled in. We are six hours away - difficult to jump on a promising weather window. So on some planned trips we "turn back" before even getting into the car.
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