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Old 10-01-2019, 09:13 AM   #1
Neil's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,100
Wanika Falls and Street Bushwhack. Plus Nye.


Sylvie dropped me off at the Averyville trail head, which marks the beginning of the “Old” Northville Plavid Trail. (more like the original NPT) She planned on doing Wright while I bushwhacked Street. We decided on 2:30 for our radio call knowing we would have excellent reception if I was on Street even if she was on her way back down.

I was at the Wanika Falls junction 1h20 minutes out after an Old NPT in excellent condition. In the final beaver meadow, just before the junction of the Old and the New, the rasberry bushes were soaking wet and chest high. The sun was out and it was chilly. The Chub River was very loud and based on that I knew I would not be walking up dry slab.

Wanika Falls were more impressive than I thought they would be. I saw two excellent camping spots but no discs anywhere. I decided to bushwhack up as close to the falls as possible on the right-hand side. It was steep, slippery and wet. I was able to cross over into the sun and I sat down and switched from glasses to contacts and put on a jacket over my soaked shirt. I was chilled.

I re-crossed the drainage and entered the woods, which were thick, dark, wet and replete with blowdown and sod holes. I zigged and zagged and with difficulty progressed to an open area full of impedimenta. I looked up onto a massive set of cliffs that were lit up in the late morning sun in spite of facing NW. There were cliffs on either side of the Chub and perusal of the map is not indicative of these impressive cliffs.

At 860 meters elevation the drainage splits into a main one and a lesser tributary. My map study indicated I wanted the lesser trib but I forgot all about this key turn and when I pulled out my compass realized I was following the drainage to Nye. Luckily I only had to side-hill due south for 250 yards into the “Street” drainage. The woods thus far were not bushwhacker friendly and I was amazed at how hard I was working for meager elevation gains.

But, it was a gorgeous day and I had views on either side way up onto the ridges that ran up to the summit area of Street. They looked very gnarly.

At about 1000 meters elevation the woods opened up nicely and progress became more normal with the odd section of thick, blowdown-infested woods that I always detoured around. The drainage was now a trickle and it soon disappeared under the moss. I had to watch my step or I’d fall into a hole. At 1150 meters I was navigating primarily by GPS. I had studied Sat views and had drawn a route that avoided what looked like thick cripplebush. However, I was able to aim directly for the summit instead of taking a right-angled and longer route. The woods were fine and the sun felt good on my shoulders. I was closing in on my objective.

I hadn’t bothered with the radio call at 2:30 because I would have to make the summit before getting line of sight with Wright. It looked like I’d be on top at 3:30 and would make the call then. Just below the final summit block I entered into a small col or dike and looked up onto a long line of 50’ cliffs. I was 150 feet below the summit. My GPS indicated that fatter contours were to the right and I had to walk along the base of the cliffs for about 100 yards until I was able to clamber up a weakness.

The final approach to the summit is flat and runs east-west. This section is one long fir wave on the Lost Pond Peak side (ie. south side) and I was able to cruise through the leading edge (pics). When I arrived at the summit who was there but Sylvie trying to call me on the radio. She was unable to park the van at the Loj (no campers allowed) so after parking at S. Meadows she decided to do Street and Nye. She wasn’t very happy that I hadn’t turned on my radio considering she had been on Street for an hour admiring the views of the Macintyre Range.

We hiked over to Nye and found the viewing rock a few minutes before the summit. At 4 pm the lighting was perfect and there was no haze at all. I was surprised at how muddy and wet the trail was but it was much better than bushwhacking would have been. We met Bill B. who was nearing the junction. He was chasing the sun hoping to get out before dark.

We camped at South Meadows and after a leisurely breakfast headed to Keene Valley. There was a long line of cars parked along Meadow Lane and we could barely scrape by. The cars along the Loj Road extended for about .7 miles with a steady stream heading in. We parked the van near the end of the Loj road and sat out in our chairs with fresh coffee and enjoyed the view.
The best, the most successful adventurer, is the one having the most fun.
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Old 10-01-2019, 09:41 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 206
Neil, I've been wanting to ask you about your radio setup. I think I may want to get a pair, the kids are getting a little older and it's to their benefit to have some freedom to travel a little farther from base camp, but I can picture that having radios would bring peace of mind to them and me. Would you mind posting what you have and give feedback as to how it's been for you? I can picture wanting something with just a mile or two range, and rugged to where they can drop it and it maybe can even get a little wet and still operate.

Cool TR, as usual!
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Old 10-01-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,100
There are a multitude of choices depending on the range you want. We use RINO gps's with FRS radio built in. You can increase the wattage and hence range by 4-fold (I think) by paying a modest fee and using a different channel (already built in). With the RINOs you can actually see on your GPS screen where the other person is when you make contact.

Far, far cheaper would be to go to Walmart and pick up a pair or more of hand-held FRS radios. I think they would have the same performance as our RINOs. The FRS wattage specifies one mile line of sight but we have had excellent reception, summit to summit from Whiteface to Gothics. The radios work poorly if there is a radio wave-opaque obstacle between them. FRS means family radio service and is restricted to 0.5 watts I believe. You can also look into Marine Band radios. Hopefully someone more knowledgeble than I will contribute to the subject. Thread drift is welcome!
The best, the most successful adventurer, is the one having the most fun.
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Old 10-01-2019, 10:05 AM   #4
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Location: Rochester, NY
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Nice! That is a cool bushwhack. Some really neat parts of the river way up there. We hit some thick spruce as we approached. Didn't know trees could grow that close together. We navigated by compass after the drainage petered out, aiming for the herd path junction.
"There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal
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