Street and Nye: Mud, Rivers and Lesson Learned

Street and Nye Trail Map

A week after climbing Dix I was feeling the hiking itch in full swing. With some rain and cloud cover in the forecast, a couple viewless peaks were the perfect remedy. Nye and Street are not known for having the epic views that so many summits in the Adirondack’s provide but are great to do on those rainy and cloudy days. Even with the clouds, starting from the Loj, passing by Heart Lake covered in mist and fog made for a peaceful beginning to the day.

I was prepared for the water crossing at Indian Pass Brook and early light rain showers with spare change of cloths, rain gear, etc. But what I didn’t bank on was how the falling water from the trees and tight trailess herdpath would make any planning useless. I was basically soaked the entire day  from the wet trees brushing me. All. Day. Long. The upside I made a quick pace, barely breaking for water or food and the lack of enjoyable weather meant that I didn’t stop and smell the roses per sea.

What I was not prepared for – how much mud. Street and Nye aren’t known for being muddy but I did wear my gaiters and boy am I glad I did. Everything after the river crossing at 1.2 miles was covered in mud. At one point stepping onto what I thought was solid ground only to find myself calf-deep. Yep that is awesome.

Nye offers no views. Not a one. Basically just a pathetic marker on a tree in the middle of other trees. And to add insult to injury isn’t even 4,000 feet but is an official 46er due to the original measuring. Oh how wrong they were.

Street is then only another .6 miles with the path easy to follow but pretty tight and with lots of windblown trees down. It at least has a viewing ledge about 150 feet off the summit. While I was mostly in cloud clover I could see Wright, Algonquin, Iroquois and Marshall coming out through the clouds and mist. And while not an impressive view offered a beauty and almost mysterious feel to it.

A few notes on the trail. The first 1.2 miles is easy you barely feel like you’re in the High Peaks. After crossing Indian Pass Brook, you shortly climb before another smaller brook crossing. There is a downed tree but if wet I’d be careful. Then slowly climbs with good footing before reaching an old camp and crossing the river one last time. From there just follow the herdpath. This is where you really experience the difference on an unmaintained herdpath and when you start hitting the steepest climbs. It does get narrow and long sleeves and pants come in handy with all the wet branches constantly brushing you.

Even when it gets steep the grade isn’t nearly as aggressive as the other High Peaks. And no boulder climbing or scrambles which feels odd. The last mile or so the pace slows a bit with the blown down trees and the claustrophobic herdpath and the last steepest section but nothing to write home about. And boy am I glad to have the herdpath compared to those that had to bushwack it.

The split between Street and Nye is ridiculously easy to miss. I meant to do Street first and then found myself on the summit of Nye. And even when I was closely looking almost walked past the caragin and the N/S carved into a tree. Didn’t help it was in an area engulfed in mud so my focus was down and not up. But seriously you have to look for it.

Crazy that the elevation gain (~2,000) is similar to Dix but no where as hard a climb. When the increased grade is spread out and gradual you sure can book it.  My mantra will always be it is all about the elevation gain.

Why no pictures? I do love my pictures and took some great ones. Selfies of me muddy and wet. More mud. More rain. More mud. Moss covered trees with light coming in. Heart Lake covered in the fog. The mountains coming out of the clouds and mist. However, crossing Indian Pass Brook on the way back was a little less than smooth sailing.

I knew that Indian Pass Brook wouldn’t be the usual rock jumping or ankle high and was prepared with my poles and my aforementioned change of cloths. On the way up it was about knee high. Cold and a bit fast but nothing to give a second thought. But a few hours later all the rain from the night before and earlier in the day made its way down and Indian Pass Brook swelled. I put my iPhone in my chest pocket for safe keeping compared to my usual pants side-pocket. I followed procedure for water crossings by unfastening my chest and waist straps and loosening shoulder straps. Then using my trekking poles as extra legs and leverage, moved slowly with small steps and solid footing. But in one moment it went from the water being hip deep to past my waist and momentarily leaned forward. The good news I was safe. The bad news my iPhone and all my pics for the day are toast.

But pictures are not why I do this. I do like to share the moment with others and look back on fondly –  but the experience is what I love. Nothing rings more true that “things” are replaceable as when I heard of a women who drowned in the area (though not the same brook) the night before. She slipped on a log crossing Feldspar Brook and the normally tame water became fast moving with the all the rain and she was swept away. The Adirondack’s are beautiful but like all wilderness can be dangerous.

Lesson learned. No more water crossing hikes after a rain – even if it is calm the day of. And yes mom I’m still hiking alone and I’m still safe. So none of the pictures included in this post are my pictures but the internets provided some idea of my adventures.

I have some fun hikes coming and took this weekend off to catch up on my Vermont life. Plus kinda hoping they find the escaped convicts first.

Street and Nye: completed 05/31/2015, total distance ~8.8 miles, hike time 7.5 hrs, Elevation Gain 2,115

  • Street: elevation 4166, order of height 31
  • Nye –  elevation 3895, order of height 45
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