Street and Nye Mountains - An Adventure Above the Clouds
It’s a rare occasion when you can enjoy a view above the clouds, but even rarer would be that similar view from the summit of Street Mountain, but on this day it happened. I was to guide a couple from the Cooperstown area on their first “trailless” high Peaks. They had never done a High Peak that didn’t have a designated trail and through research they figured Street and Nye would be a good place to start, they were very much correct.
The forecast was calling for clearing skies but chilly temperatures. As we started out we could see from the drive down Adirondack Loj Road that the mountains were totally covered in clouds, but the sun was working very hard to burn off the moisture, we would just have to see if the meteorologist was accurate with the clearing skies prediction.
The start of the hike we got to know each other and come to find out they have a camp just few miles down the road from where my fiancé grew up. We made excellent time to the herd path near Mount Jo They were in awe of the beauty of the changing leaves and the soft footing of a herd path; they were in complete joy to be out, as was I. The crossing of Indian Pass Brook was an easy endeavor, with plenty of rocks to hop on. From here the path began to get a bit muddier in areas as we made way over the second brook crossing and then past the abandoned beaver pond. The mud only got worse as we climbed up to the height-of-land in the shallow valley. Then when we thought the mud couldn’t get any worse, it did. By the time we reached the junction I was coated from toes to knees in mud.
This leads into a funny story. They felt the going was a bit slower than usual, but I assured them it wasn’t too bad. When we got to the junction I distracted them as we passed right through toward Nye Mountain. We topped out on Nye and I said, “One down.” They looked at me and relied “One what?” “Welcome to Nye” I said, they were very surprised to be there, they didn’t even think they were at the junction yet. They were now very pleased with their progress. As we were taking and joking about the wool being pulled over their eyes we noticed what we thought was glass on the ground, which was in fact ice from the trees. All the tall spruces and balsams were coated in a fine layer of rime ice, which explained the need for a light pair of gloves and a fleece jacket.
Our trip over to Street was quite uneventful, which isn’t always a bad thing. As we approach 4000’ in elevation we started to notice even more ice on the trees, this time a rather thick layer that was also slowly littering the trail. I proceeded to lead the nice couple over to the viewing rock to see if the clouds had parted, they had not. We decided it would be a good idea to hang around for a bit and have lunch, since we were the only thing in the sun and it was warm. In not more than 5-minutes the clouds started to lift and settle and blow through, leaving us slightly above the clouds to our left and looking through the fine cloud layer in front of us as the MacIntyre Range started to come into view. Soon Marcy was in view and then the upper portion of Basin, then they were gone, then they were back to stay. This was quite a dramatic change of events for a couple of peaks whose drama is not so noteworthy.
Our descent was a nice change for our muscles and unfortunately still very muddy and slippery due to this fact, but we made it out in nice fashion to enjoy the open reflective waters of Heart Lake.
Interested in an adventure on a “trailless” High Peak, you can find me at a local guide service for details. Maybe you need a cold beverage and a hot meal after your epic hike, Lake Placid will take care of you. Interested in other High Peaks check out our 46 High Peaks pages for more details on the trails?