Monday, February 13, 2012

Finally Winter on Street and Nye

Saturday I finally got to wear my snowshoes. Yes, you read that right. Snowshoes!

Because the day was supposed to snowy and potentially windy, we decided to hike Street and Nye. We were planning on this hike a few weeks ago, but warm temperatures and rain a few days before had us guessing Indian Pass Brook would be uncrossable. We didn't even bother to go, which was the right call. Other folks said the brook was wide open and high and they all got turned back. But the weather had finally turned colder so we took a chance. 
Indian Pass Brook

We started out from the Loj parking area in microspikes, the footwear of choice for this winter. The brook was only partially frozen over, but the water level was low and the crossing easy.  We ran into a group from the ADK Schenectady Chapter. They were nice enough to break trail for a while, and then we returned the favor (haha, only kidding...). The higher up we climbed, the more snow we saw. With the trail steepening, it was time for snowshoes, if only to use the televators on our MSR snowshoes (a very cool feature- it props your heel up so on a steep surface your foot remains level and works your quads rather than your calves). I also wanted to put on the snowshoes because my pack was sooooooo heavy with them on the back. Plus, I really wanted to say I used my snowshoes this weekend.

Look Ma - snowshoes!
Moving along, we spotted something strange falling from the sky. It was white and fluffy. We stopped and stared, pondering its significance. It took awhile, but we realized it was snow. How exciting! We were hiking in what we have coined the "Blizzard of 2012" (yes, just a bit of sarcasm here - but it was nice to see).

Climbing up to the ridge
Looking more like winter

Up on the ridge, there was lots of blowdown in the woods, which will probably make for some nice views on a clear day. I was here last year and I don't recall that many trees down. I'm assuming a result from Irene. We stopped at the trail junction between Street and Nye for a bite to eat and chat with a couple of people hiking ahead of us. The Schenectady group caught up with us here too. Before we got too chilled we headed off for Nye, which is no more than 15 minutes up the trail. No view at all from Nye, but then again there never is :-).

Summit of Nye
Coming down off Nye - maybe some views?
The start of the herd path to Street is in fairly open forest and winds and zigzags among the trees. Every time I hike this trail I start singing "The Long and Winding Road" from the Beatles in my head (you don't ever want to hear me sing out loud). I am such a cliché sometimes!

Climbing Street - near the summit

Summit of Street

The trail steepens as it nears the summit. The trees were laden with heavy snow, enhancing the wintery vignette. We finally hit the summit and as usual I walked right past the top. The views are actually just a bit further down the trail. There are views from Street, and usually even better in the winter with a deep snowpack.
No views today from Street

View from Street on a nice day

It was fun coming back down the ridge. I even got a couple of butt slides in. Haven't had enough snow to do that all winter. Hopefully we'll see even more snow this week.

Near Indian Pass Brook, the herd path follows a stream for a spell. There is a beaver living there that is a master engineer. One year it's stream was flooded out and soon after it built an impressive system of flood control dams upstream. It looks like Irene might have taken some of them out, but the beaver is still around judging by the chewed tree stumps. I wouldn't be surprised in the next wind storm if this tree doesn't fall down. That's one big snack. I wonder how big that beaver is!

Beaver snack