After a nice dinner last night, I watched some TV shows and went to bed around 10pm. I was up at 6am, and headed out for the trailhead at 7am. It was lightly snowing already. On the quiet access road to the trailhead and Adirondack Loj, I saw a timber wolf with a American Marten in its mouth trot across the road. It was awe inspiring. I arrived at the trailhead around 7:20am, suited up as quickly as I could in the driving snow, strapped on snowshoes, and then headed out by 7:45am.
The Street/Nye trail is not maintained and doesn’t have any trail markings. However, it’s popular enough that there were tracks the entire way to the summits. I followed the Mt Jo trail around Heart Lake and then continued straight past the Mt Jo turn-off. On the way there, the path was easy to follow, despite the falling snow. The first two miles were relatively flat, with 3-6 inches of snow, and weaved among streams and marshy areas. Passing by a stream, I saw a beaver hanging out in a pool, before it saw me and went underwater.
Just before the path began its climb, there was the major creek crossing that I’d read about. Given how early it is in the season and how vigorously the creek was running, it wasn’t fully frozen yet. I searched around and found a spot upstream that was entirely frozen solid. I safely crossed it, glad of my snowshoes.
From there, I climbed for the next mile and a half before reaching the trail intersection, with the two trails leading to the summits. Nearer the summits, the snow was deeper and the wind had filled in sections of the trail, making the going much slower. At times, I had to break trail. I decided to summit Nye first, since it was closer. I then headed up the other, steeper trail to summit Street. The only views to be had were the summit signs; the driving snow limited visibility and what views Street and Nye might have ordinarily were completely masked.
By that point, the snow was falling more quickly and the wind was picking up. Because of the narrowness of the unmaintained trail, I was also soaked from snow falling on me and then melting. I returned to the trail intersection, dropped my pack, put on more layers, and had a snack and a hot drink. While I was drinking my hot tea, a curious American Marten wandered past. It considered me and then continued on its way, heading down the trail. I quickly followed in its footsteps, since the temperature was dropping, the speed of snow fall was increasing, my base layers were wet, and no amount of hot tea was going to make my toes warm. I’d also put off changing my wet glove liners at the summit of Street because it was windy, but the 10-15 minutes of downhill snowshoeing it took to get to the trail intersection did a number on my hands. They were beyond numb, and even with hot tea in my belly and dry hardshell gloves on, it took a good 20 minutes of vigorous hiking before the feeling (very painfully) returned.
As I descended, following the trail became more difficult, though the wind died down with the decrease in elevation. However, the last few miles proved challenging, since enough snow had fallen to fill in all previous tracks. I was glad to arrive back on the more maintained trail by the Mt Jo turn-off, and hoofed it back to my car, arriving around 12:45pm. I then dug my car out, started it up to let it get warm, and changed into dry clothes, before starting my 3-4 hour drive home.