I have slowly worked on the Adirondack 46er High Peak list of mountains over the past 18 months that I lived in the Adirondacks. With 36 of 46 peaks climbed, I was eager to knock a couple more off the list. After my icy outing on my last High Peaks trip, I hoped that a few minor snow events made for better conditionsby covering the ice
I set my sights on Nye and Street Mountains. The two mountains are some of the shorter hikes among the 46er High Peaks. I didn't want to commit to anything too long in case the conditions were less than desirable. I set out the morning of December 23rd. This day offered at least a chance at some clear skies to start the hike.
The Adirondack Loj is the typical starting point for those headed to Nye and Street. Parking at the Loj requires a $15 fee. To save some money, I parked at the end of the South Meadow Road. This added an extra mile at either end of my hike.
I began walking around 745AM. Clear skies overnight brought a chilly start. It was about 8F when I left my house and felt about the same when I started hiking. Within 15 minutes or so, I reached the Adirondack Loj entrance and the extra distance served as a nice warm up.
The trail begins just before the gate house at the Loj. Initially the trail passes buildings on the Loj property on a wide and level trail. Soon the trail passes Heart Lake. A couple of short trails lead a few feet to overlooks along the lake. The lookouts provide nice views of the the higher terrain.
|View over Heart Lake|
|Follow Old Nye Ski Trail|
|Enroute to Indian Pass Brook|
I soon reached the brook. Although water could be heard and seen at a few spots in the brook, the trail crossing appeared to be pretty solid with tracks from previous day hikers. I started across and the ice seemed solid. About 2/3rds of the way across, the ice creaked but didn't appear to lose any integrity as I made it safely across.
|Frozen Indian Pass Brook|
Beyond the brook, the trail enters a meadow before starting a gradual climb. With snow and no tracks, I almost missed the turn away from the meadow. No markers blaze the route and most cairns were hidden under snow
|Meadow just beyond Indian Pass Brook|
|Downed tree bridging the unsafe creek|
The lower reaches of the route travels through open hardwoods. The forest looked rather pretty with the unspoiled snow. Quite a few animal tracks, mostly snowshoe hare, dotted the landscape and often the trail. The trail indentation usually kept route finding to a minimum despite a couple inches of fresh, fluffy snow. The route continued to follow small creeks. When the route crossed or traveled on the creek banks, sometimes the path was slightly less obvious and required a little more vigilance to stay on course.
As I gained elevation, I left the hardwoods. Unlike the hardwoods, the spruce and balsam trees held loose snow. At times I couldn't avoid brushing into the snowy branches on narrow sections, wearing quite a bit of snow.
|Transition to coniferous forest|
The trail climbs gradually for a mile or so after Indian Pass Brook before getting steeper. Generally the trees block the views. At least one section provided a descent clearing to get at least a partial view.
|A view at higher elevation|
The trail gets pretty narrow at times and the snowy branches sagged pretty low from the snow. Although never deep, the snow appeared fluffier as I climbed obscuring the trail indent completely. Hiking in winter has its advantages. With the snow cover, the tread is nice and smooth. Roots and rocks disappear. Most of the ice flow on the trail was covered as well. I never even felt the need to put on my microspikes.
|The trail gets narrow as it climbs|
|Blowdowns and a narrow path|
The route levels after climbing upon reaching a flat clearing. Even with unbroken snow, it was pretty obvious I reached the split for Nye and Street. On my return, I noticed at least one tree had an arrow and Nye scratched into it.
|The lackluster summit of Nye|
|Pleasant forest on Nye|
|Not much to see in the clouds|
|Passing a glacial erratic enroute to Street|
I reached Street's 4,166' summit quickly. The summit of Street is just as lackluster as Nye's summit. Although I had to wander a little bit, I found some partial views a couple minutes from the summit. Unfortunately Mother Nature didn't cooperate. A few breaks in the clouds opened up to catch glimpses of the MacIntyre Range. The views were short lived however. I ate a snack while hoping to get a longer break in the clouds, but it never happened.
|High point of the day|
|The MacIntyre Range peaking out of the clouds|
I dropped from Street and passed the duo from Nye and another pair with a dog before reaching the split to Nye. The descent back to the valley went by quickly. I managed to get a better view from the one clearing on the descent. I passed one more pair as I neared Indian Pass Brook.
|A clearer view on the descent|
|Looking down Indian Pass Brook|
|Another look across Heart Lake|
|Rocky trail to Mt Jo|
|Icy cliff along trail to Mt Jo|
|More icy cliffs|
|Stairs/ ladders heading toward Mt Jo|
Given its relatively short distance and proximity to the Adirondack Loj, I passed quite a few groups on Mt. Jo, many of them with smaller kids. Even with more than 1,000' less elevation than Nye or Street, Mt. Jo's rocky summit is bare with excellent views into the High Peaks Wilderness. The round trip added only 40 minutes to my day.
|View from Mt Jo|
|Barely visible Algonquin|
|Mostly frozen brook along the road|
|Elevation profile of the route|
I'm told Nye and Street are muddy and wet in the regular hiking season. Given that the views are minimal, I don't think they are anybody's favorite High Peaks. While I won't rush back to hike them again anytime soon, I thought the hike was rather enjoyable. I'm accrediting that to the easy winter conditions and fresh snow on the trees. I forget about the pleasures of hiking in winter, especially when the conditions are good.