Street and Nye Mountains

You know that Snickers commercial where a person isn’t acting like themselves, so someone offers them a snickers? That was Mother Nature yesterday. The weather was all over the place, but mostly wet. Oh, what a wet day it was! Rae nabbed her 17th and 18th of 46 High Peaks, too!

Mother Nature? Is that you?

The weather forecast called for rain in Keene but none in Lake Placid. The mountain forecast was “incomplete”. So what do you do? You plan for everything! In addition to the normal stuff, in our packs we had garbage bags, rain pants, rain coats, a few extra socks, extra pants, shirts, a small towel… basically a full change of clothes. The crossing over the Indian Pass Brook was our number one concern based on some previous trail reports and the recent weather, so we tried to plan for it.

Between Exit 30 and AMR we hit rain, drizzle, and some snow flurries… seriously had no idea what it was going to be like later. We got to the AMR parking lot around 9am and it was obvious the day of the week and the weather was enough to keep the lot empty. BTW, sometime between last summer and now the price for parking here went up like the Saddleback Cliffs… $15 for non-ADK members (and our membership expired!). The attendant asked about our destination and when we said “Street and Nye” he said we might want to rethink it based on the water crossing. It’s not far in so we figured we’ll at least go check it out. We parked, got our stuff on, then stopped at the restrooms before heading over to the trail.

A wee bit of rain

Once through the lot we put on our snowshoes even though the trail was hardpacked. At this point in the year the trails are pretty fragile, with melting on the edges but the hard-packed “monorail” or “spine” still solid. Keeping snowshoes on instead of spikes keeps the damage down and helps keep the trail packed. It might seem like you don’t need ’em, but personally I think it’s good practice. I’m sure there’ll be a blog about that sometime, too. 🙂

We walked in the rain/snow to the register, signed in (nobody else had signed in since the day before), then continued to the intersection to get to Street/Nye. I don’t know why, but I always walk past the sign!!! Turn right when you see it!

Even though the trails are unmarked, they’re still fairly easy to follow, though. We motored (mosied?) on toward the anticipated water crossing, and eventually came up to the first sighting of the brook. It looked like a few people had attempted or at least thought about crossing here at the big tree across the water, but we opted to continue on the trail. I’m glad we did, because when we arrived at the crossing the existing snow bridge seemed to have collapsed and re-frozen. It was a non-issue getting across, so that was a load off our minds!

Indian Pass Brook on the way in…

It was warming up and soon after I dropped the winter coat and thermal shirt for a long sleeve base layer and rain coat. Between the warming weather, drizzle, light snow, and wet tree limbs it was time to change. Up ahead the trees were wrapped in a wonderful mist… or terrifying depending on your mood. At this point we found a 2″ fresh layer of snow that added to the peace and made everything really, really quiet. A second snow bridge was crossed and proved just as solid, then the trail twists and turns while gaining elevation. The trail was solid but on each side were some holes knee deep or more. The wet snow also proved cumbersome as it began bunching up on Rae’s snowshoes.

Just before the intersection of the peaks we stopped to eat some snacks, and of course once you stop moving the temperature drops quickly! I donned my puffy coat, mittens, and hat again while Rae and Darcy bundled up, then off we went to hit Nye’s summit approximately .1 miles ahead. Pine marten tracks were everywhere in the fresh snow, so Rae was desperately trying to find it. Like, I think she would have skipped the summits just to track the little fella.

We stopped on Nye just long enough for pics, then descended back to the junction before heading the .5 miles up the Street (HA!). Just when you think “hey, this isn’t too bad”, the straight-no-switchback-elevation-gain trail that takes you to the summit gets the sweat going and the legs working hard. Ugh. But thank goodness that half mile goes quickly! Just like that, we were at the summit! Granted neither peak is known for views, but today there were none. You could see for feet and feet, as I say. Oh well, the sign at the peak is always beautiful, no?

We took some pics, adjusted our gear, and then headed back down. The snow was pretty mushy as we descended, and the melting snow from the trees made it seem like it was raining… more so when Rae grabbed a tree ahead of me and the branches let loose on my head. At least it helped keep me cool! I ended up switching back to my rain coat anyway, and soon we were back at the smaller snow bridge. Stepping across it our feet sunk in a few inches which got us moving. It was probably in the low 40’s now so the melting was pretty significant.

The next issue was getting over the Indian Pass Brook crossing again. We were worried the snow was now too soft, so we moved delicately across… Rae, then Darcy, then me. Once again it proved a solid crossing with no issues. The hard part was over! What a relief… now for the trek out and the ride home.

Oh yeah, and coffee with chicken bacon ranch pizza from Stewart’s!!!

The trail for Street and Nye mountains is an unmarked but easily followed, 9 miles (+/-) out and back hike. It’s somewhat difficult depending on experience and fitness, and you’re not really rewarded with *amazing* views. There are views, but limited. On this day, there were none. Elevation gain according to AllTrails is 2,634 feet, and you get a lot of it going up Street!

Check out AllTrails for more info… it’s a pretty good source.

And don’t forget to make the turn at the Old Nye Ski Trail sign!