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Old 04-18-2017, 12:28 PM   #1
Trail Boss
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Street and Nye. 2017-04-15

Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHskXSvjYJ

It's rare to have trails and peaks all to oneself. I had the pleasure of experiencing such an auspicious occasion on Saturday. I was the only person to register for Street and Nye and saw no others hikers on the summits or trail.

I left the Loj shortly after 8:00 AM on a beautiful sunny day. The temperature hovered around freezing but was rising rapidly towards the predicted high of 20 C (68 F). The trail out of the Loj was free of snow but a few patches of ice persisted here and there. Heart Lake was still covered by a layer of ice. However, it was thinning rapidly and a broad channel of open water ran across its northern end.

Most of the mud was semi-frozen and the walk to Indian Pass Brook was delightful. I expected I may have to ford the brook so I brought a pair of old trail-runners. I heard the brook before I saw it. It was running higher than normal but not nearly as much as I had anticipated.


Indian Pass Brook. Time to get wet feet.

I scouted the shoreline in search of a dry crossing but couldn't thread together enough rocks for a safe passage. It either lacked a crucial stone or required a leap of faith. After a few minutes I rationalized I should just get on with the business of fording it with the shoes I brought.

The water was as cold as one would expect for April. After a few cautious steps in the swift current, my feet began to feel a bit numb. The deepest spot came to mid-shin and coincided with the swiftest current. You could feel the current moving your unweighted foot. I wouldn't want to attempt such a crossing without the aid of poles.

It probably only took about a minute to cross the brook but it felt longer. I emerged on the opposite bank, amused by the sight of my wet shoes on ice. I immediately began drying my feet and switching back to socks and boots. I hung my dripping wet runners in a tree and proceeded up the slope.


I believe the word "bracing" describes the sensation.

The trail was "organically rerouted" to avoid a boggy area. The resulting ad hoc "bog workaround" is a bit silly because it goes up a slope and then immediately descends to pick up the trail near the bog. This seemed nonsensical to me so I "cut the corner" and headed northwest, through the woods, and picked up the trail (south of the bog). For the first two-tenths of a mile, the shaded trail remained icy. Beyond that, in sunlit woods, the trail was not only ice-free but fairly dry (by Adirondack standards).

The warming sunshine, the sounds of the rushing brook, and the engrossing podcasts, made time and distance slip by. The first signs of snow didn't appear until 2500'. By 3300', I was done with bare-booting and stopped to put on Trail Crampons.

With care I was able to follow the trail's narrow, compacted "spine" and avoid post-holing. My right leg went in once, crotch deep, and I must admit it was a bit of struggle to extract myself. My snowshoes rode piggyback all day and only served as "training weight".

Around 3700' I lost the trail. Others had found themselves in the same predicament because I found tracks leading in different directions. I followed something that looked promising but, having been here eight times previously, it ended up "feeling wrong". I was contouring when I should be climbing. I glanced at my phone and, sure enough, I had wandered off-track. The trail ran southwest but I had blundered to the south. I turned uphill (west), walked about 35 yards and easily picked up the trail.

Upon reaching the junction I turned south for Street. In the col, I was once again struck by the feeling of heading in the wrong direction. The old snowshoe tracks I was following became fainter and the snow's surface seemed a bit too pristine (for a winter's worth of usage). In addition, Street was to my right when it should be dead ahead.

I backtracked about 80 feet and discovered I had missed a turn. With the heel of my boot, I scraped a rut in the snow, across the mouth of the false path, in the hope others would understand it meant "not this way". I continued along the trail and didn't lose it for the rest of the day.

After the traditional selfie on the summit (my ninth visit to Street), I ambled over to the southern lookout. Standing on at about 2-3 feet of snowpack, the views were better than average.


Marcy photobombs the MacIntyre Range.

The weather forecast called for rain late in the afternoon. High clouds had moved in along with a general haziness. Nevertheless, the major peaks were clearly visible, notably the MacIntyre Range and nearby Lost Pond Peak and MacNaughton.

I strolled over to the southeastern lookout and got a much better view of the distant Santanoni Range as well as portions of the Great Range. The last time I was here, I noticed hikers had started to (illegally) expand this lookout. With plenty of time on my hands, I collected as much dead and down wood as I could find. I opted for the nastiest fir-carcasses available. I dumped them in the illegal clearing to dissuade others from venturing into it. No guarantee it will last the summer but if it discourages just one person then it'll have been worthwhile.

I returned to the junction and continued on to Nye's summit. I also visited its lookout and, thanks to the snowpack, got a nice view to the east and northeast. Heart Lake and Mount Jo took center stage whereas Cascade, Porter, and Big Slide formed the backdrop.

I returned to the junction, saw no evidence of other people's passage, and began the descent. At 3700', I easily corrected the route-finding mistake I had made earlier. However, I later learned even my correction was still off the established route.

The snow was now "greasy" and each step, despite Trail Crampons, involved a tiny bit of skiing. I leaned in and let gravity and low-friction increase the fun factor. Within a few weeks, the trail will be back to its old rocky, eroded self. The snow ran out well before the old logging camp (where the trail crosses the brook) and that's where I stopped to remove the Trail Crampons.

Shortly before arriving at Indian Pass Brook, I paused to examine the handiwork of the local beaver population. Several green trees had been felled leaving mounds of wood chips and pointed stumps. The chiseled wood was wet with sap.


Beaver activity.

I sought to avoid the final "bog workaround" and made a beeline through the woods, up and over the final hill. My internal compass was misaligned because I came out 100 feet upstream from the crossing and high above the brook. Oops! I turned north and emerged within sight of my wet trail-runners hanging in the tree.

Once more with the rigmarole of swapping footwear and I was back in the cold water. On the opposite bank I decided to keep my soggy shoes on and find a sunny spot to dry my feet and have lunch. It felt sketchy to step onto the icy trail wearing wet trail-runners yet they were surprisingly grippy. All hail the original La Sportiva Raptor!

I followed the trail for about 500 feet, turned towards the brook, and found a nice flat, sunlit rock. I tended to my wet feet, dug out the PB&J from my pack, then settled in to gaze at the rushing water.

I was several feet from a small island in the brook populated by three mature cedars. I scanned the brook's many rocks and tried to thread together a dry crossing. Once again, there was always that one missing stone that broke the chain.

Patience reaped rewards. A butterfly landed on my leg and two hawks circled high above the brook. In addition, my attention was drawn to a series of large boulders about 200 feet upstream of my lounging rock. I put my boots back on, shouldered my pack, and walked towards the potential "Holy Grail".

It took me only a few seconds to easily rock-hop across the brook following a chain of boulders ranging in size from subcompact cars to sleeping dogs. I theorized the water could rise another half-foot and the route would still remain viable. Only the last few stones on the western side (the sleeping dogs) would become a bit sketchy.


Here's where you can rock-hop across Indian Pass Brook (viewed from the western bank).

The car-sized central boulders form a narrow channel of gushing water. It's an interesting place to visit even if you aren't looking for a dry crossing. I committed the location to memory in the event I'd need it again in the future.

Refreshed by the lunch-break, the remaining ascent to Heart Lake went by quickly. I paused for one last look at the lake and Algonquin. The sky had grown leaden and the predicted showers were undoubtedly close by.

I returned to the parking area, cleaned up, and aimed my car down Adirondak Loj Road. The comfortable temperature, bracing ford, greasy snow, beaver carvings, circling hawks, friendly butterfly, and discovery of a dry crossing, added up to a mighty fine day in the woods.


Heart Lake
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 04-18-2017 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:03 PM   #2
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nice! Ever come up from the other side?
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:53 PM   #3
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From the west, like from Wanika Falls? No. However, I have approached it from the south, from Lost Pond Peak. I joined Neil for that trip and it was very enjoyable. Given the route we followed, I'd rate it as one of the most enjoyable and interesting bushwhacks I've experienced.

Street and Nye preceded by Lost Pond Peak. Good things come in threes.
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Old 04-18-2017, 03:59 PM   #4
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Great write up. About what time did you make it back to the Loj? I am thinking these might be our first trail-less peaks.

Great trick with the runners. We will use that one.
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:45 AM   #5
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I was back at the Loj at 2:30 PM.

You probably already know this but for those who don't, Street and Nye are not "trail-less". All 46er peaks have trails. Several lacked trails decades ago (hence the term "trail-less") but definitely not today.

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/44.1835/-74.0088

The trails to 21 of the 46er peaks are unmarked and receive minimal maintenance (by volunteers and perhaps only once or twice a year).

Unmarked trails are fairly easy to follow in summer. However, they can become more challenging when covered by freshly fallen leaves or snow.

Twenty-one 46er peaks with unmarked trails:
Esther
Gray
Allen
Tabletop
Iroquois
Marshall
Seymour
Seward, Donaldson, Emmons
Santanoni, Panther, Couchsachraga
Hough, Macomb, South Dix, Grace
Street, Nye
Cliff, Redfield
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
I was back at the Loj at 2:30 PM.

You probably already know this but for those who don't, Street and Nye are not "trail-less". All 46er peaks have trails. Several lacked trails decades ago (hence the term "trail-less") but definitely not today.

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/44.1835/-74.0088

The trails to 21 of the 46er peaks are unmarked and receive minimal maintenance (by volunteers and perhaps only once or twice a year).

Unmarked trails are fairly easy to follow in summer. However, they can become more challenging when covered by freshly fallen leaves or snow.

Twenty-one 46er peaks with unmarked trails:
Esther
Gray
Allen
Tabletop
Iroquois
Marshall
Seymour
Seward, Donaldson, Emmons
Santanoni, Panther, Couchsachraga
Hough, Macomb, South Dix, Grace
Street, Nye
Cliff, Redfield
There's a brook that descends from the col between Street an Nye, if you follow it down you'll find the remnants of a log structure a short distance from Indian Pass Brook.
It's on the right facing downstream.
Best seen in the fall or winter.
Obviously an old logging camp.
Jim
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:06 PM   #7
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Hard Scrabble,

The current trail to Street and Nye crosses a brook at an elevation of ~2150 feet and that's where one can find the (durable) remains of an old logging camp (although perhaps not the one you described?).

It seems every time I return to Street and Nye, someone drags another artifact out of the woods and puts it on a pile for all to see. During this last trip, someone relocated them right next to the trail. I wish people would leave things be and allow others to discover the objects for themselves, where they were originally discarded.

FWIW, the brook you described ("descends from the col between Street and Nye") lies ~1500 feet south of the trail. I've never explored that area but now you've given me a reason.

BTW, that brook doesn't drain directly into Indian Pass Brook. From an aerial view, I see it runs east then into a marshy area that runs north, connects with another brook, and together they flow into Indian Pass Brook.

http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.18...16&b=n&a=c,mba
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
Hard Scrabble,

The current trail to Street and Nye crosses a brook at an elevation of ~2150 feet and that's where one can find the (durable) remains of an old logging camp (although perhaps not the one you described?).

It seems every time I return to Street and Nye, someone drags another artifact out of the woods and puts it on a pile for all to see. During this last trip, someone relocated them right next to the trail. I wish people would leave things be and allow others to discover the objects for themselves, where they were originally discarded.

FWIW, the brook you described ("descends from the col between Street and Nye") lies ~1500 feet south of the trail. I've never explored that area but now you've given me a reason.

BTW, that brook doesn't drain directly into Indian Pass Brook. From an aerial view, I see it runs east then into a marshy area that runs north, connects with another brook, and together they flow into Indian Pass Brook.

http://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.18...16&b=n&a=c,mba
I accept your explanation. I never followed that brook to the confluence of Indian Pass Brook. There's a low hogback that would force the brook to turn North.
The remains of the logging camp are upstream, before the low ridge.
Jim

Trail followers seldom see the whole woods.
Hunters do.
Jim

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