On Sunday, July 24th, I decided to hike an “easy” duo for my 3rd day in the Adirondacks. I set out on the trail after a full breakfast at the Loj. I was not sure what to expect for these two mountains, except for the fact that both summits are completely wooded. It is funny to me that I saved them for my “almost” halfway point to the 46, but I actually think it was a smart decision in hindsight.
At 7:50 a.m., I began the walk down the trail towards Mount Jo and Indian Pass. The Old Nye Ski trail was just past the 3rd trail junction for Jo a little further down the path. I couldn’t help but reminisce a little about the sunset, winter climb to the summit of Mount Jo…it is still one of my favorites to this day.
This half mile-ish walk to the trail register is just your basic, lovely walk in the woods. I was the only person out on the trail this early, so it felt quieter than usual. I would continue to follow the signs for Indian Pass for now.
The trail begins as a soft pine bed under foot…and is very secluded and quite peaceful. It was a bit chiller on this morning, so I began with my light rain jacket. This would prove to be useful later on, but not for any rain…
At 8:00 a.m., I arrived at the trail register for Indian Pass, Rocky Falls, Street & Nye, Mount Jo (the “back way”) and probably even Mount Marshall, if you chose to ascend via this route. I was the first one to sign in for the morning. Next to my name in the register I wrote, “For it is within yourself, you find peace.” #exhale
Hiking onward, I followed the still-maintained portion of the trail towards the Old Nye Ski Trail, which is about only 5 minutes past the trail register. If you look closely, someone wrote in “& Street” on the Old Nye sign.
After this section, the trail reaches an end to nice, clean path and enters…
and is that ever true! The trail narrows quite a bit after this point, as well as becoming much more dense in the woodlands. Now comes the part where I was thankful to have my rain jacket on…being the first person on the trail, I cleared and tackled more spider webs than Spiderman! Honestly…I broke through a new web with every other step! #kungfumoves
At 8:30 a.m., I reached the crossing for Indian Pass Brook. At times during the year, this brook can actually be impassable. But on this morning, that was certainly not the case! No nemesis brook crossings for me this time! Phew. There were plenty of cairns marking the way across as well. The path is fairly visible even without the beautiful cairns though.
I stopped here on the rocks to remove my jacket, since the weather was becoming warmer and more humid. I drank some water and ate a protein bar. It was eerily quiet on the brook. It has been such a dry summer that you could barely hear water flowing. I gazed up towards the path ahead of me and wondered if I should turn around and head back. Fear always creeps in when I begin a hike…
I decided to “keep on, keeping on” and cross the brook to begin my ascent to the summits. The trail is dark under the pines and messy. More mud, blowdowns and erosion. Trailless peaks really have quite a different feel than the maintained ones. There are many trees blocking the path that you have to climb either over or under as well.
After about 10 minutes of walking, I noticed Beaver Pond off to my left. And by noticed, I mean, it was soundless. The water was so low and quiet. No sounds of birds singing…no frogs croaking…just silence. Shaking off my nerves, I pressed onward.
You follow the brook up on the ascent (or what is left of it), so there are a few more crossings requiring easy rock-hopping back and forth. I’ll be honest….for an “easy” hike that many hiker complete earlier on, it was challenging for me. The climb was steady and messy. Maybe it was due to already climbing 3 peaks prior to this day, or maybe my heart was tired..but I was sweating and breathing heavy at times.
That being said, the forest was very beautiful. As I hiked, I visualized how wonderous it would be to climb this trail in the winter…newly-fallen snow hanging gracefully on the arms of the pines. The frozen brook with the trickling sound of water flowing under its ice-covered blanket. The air of silence would feel peaceful and serene, rather than eerily silent like today. I guess it is just a matter of perspective.
Compared to Phelps, THIS trail actually felt like the “trail that keeps on giving.” Maybe it was due to the fact that I really didn’t know the exact mileage of this hike, or the distance to the junction split for Street & Nye. My mind was playing Adirondack tricks on me…
At 9:45 a.m., I arrived at the very first lookout! I began to see blue sky and a break in the dense forest. Thank goodness…
I had to stand on the only boulder at this lookout. And when I did….
A gorgeous, unique view of Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois. The clouds were spectacular as well.
Twenty minutes later, after hiking through a tighter, extremely narrow path, with plenty of bugs and mud…the junction for the split of Street and Nye. It took me about 2 hours to reach this tree and cairn.
I decided to tackle Street first. I knew it was the longer trail of the 2, about 1 mile in distance. But I mainly chose it because I wanted a 4,000 footer to be my #20 instead of the miscalculated Nye! Ha!
I wish I had taken some photos of the Street trail…it was magically messy. Moss covered many parts, blowdown trees scattered everywhere...dark, dense, cooler, silent. I walked with a fast pace, as the trail wound around through the woodlands for quite a bit. And then, it was up, up, up over boulders, contending with some mud and tired legs.
At 10:30 a.m., I completed my #20 high peak at the summit of Street Mountain! Street is the 31st highest peak standing at 4166 feet tall.
Gotta love a summit marker carved in the tree…
It took 25 minutes for me to reach the summit of Street. Although it was completely wooded, there was some sunlight spilling through the pine trees above. I rested on the tiny summit rock to enjoy an apple and some water. The temperature had risen from 60 degrees when I began this hike, to 80 degrees now.
The descent from Street went MUCH quicker…and this would be when I encountered my first group of hikers. Two women were ascending and looked as exhausted as I had just a few moments before! I told them they only had a few more minutes to the summit on the “trail that keeps on giving…”
And still, two more groups of hikers on my descent, as the trail was filling up quickly. I reached the junction at 11:00 a.m. After a quick, 10 minute climb up the even narrower path…
At 11:10 a.m., I summited my #21 high peak! Nye Mountain, ironically enough, stands at 3895 feet tall, just shy of the 4000 foot requirement. It is the 45th highest peak on the list for the 46ers.
I actually rested here for quite a bit too. Having the completely wooded summit to myself, I enjoyed the sunshine and peace. But that would be about it for this quick hike. The Keen boots made an appearance for this trek as well because my Merrells were still drenched from the rain/hailstorm on my prior day’s hike.
My descent down the mountains was definitely much slower…the mud and rocks were slippery in spots and I did not pack my poles for this journey. My knees were screaming at me for hiking 35 miles in 3 days…and my toes were begging for a dip in Heart Lake.
Still, I took my time and observed all the beauty between the disarray on path.
After 2 hours of sauntering down the mountain, I signed out of the trail register at 1:30 p.m. I was hot and overheated and tired…
Total time: 5 1/2 hours
Total distance: 9 miles, give or take a few
I spent the remainder of the day on and in Heart Lake. This beautiful lake had my name written all over it!
There, you can see Street Mountain. Hard to believe I was just up there not too long ago..
Wright Peak from the dock at Heart Lake…
As I enjoyed the surrounding mountain beauty, I reflected on my weekend in the Adirondacks. 5 peaks…35 miles of hiking and climbing…quiet, peaceful nights by the lake…
It is hard not to be filled with joy and gratitude. Fear continues to play a part in my life, and always will I imagine…I just don’t give it the same amount of arena time anymore. Courage is currently my mode of fighting these days…and thank goodness for that.
For it is within yourself, you will find peace…and the ability to rise humbly from the trails of life.
Blessings from the sunsets,