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Saturday, February 11, 2012

What a Lame-@$$ Winter (Adirondack Hiking Street & Nye Mountains Trip Report)

Time to get off my butt and start posting again.  Adventures are afoot, people.  This is serious business.

You know what wasn't serious business this year?  WINTER.  Downtown got only a few tracings of snow the entire season.  Disappointed?  Freaked out?  Concerned that the entire Finger Lakes region is gonna be covered in ticks this summer?  Yes, yes, and yes.  I live for the days when it's so cold that my nose hairs stand on end (because they're frozen)--this is "proper" winter.  Thank heavens I got to go dogsledding (though word on the street is that our ├╝ber-cold week was Ely, MN's only week of "proper" winter).

In February, we escaped to the Adirondacks High Peaks in search of winter.  None there, either.  Instead, we found a few funny, familiar faces.  Good trade-off, I'd say.

We day-hiked Street and Nye Mountains, two of what are traditionally considered to be the 46 highest peaks in New York State.  Somewhere around 8.5 miles round-trip with around 2,500 feet of elevation gain.  These used to be trailless summits, but the ADK 46ers (I think) have done some major trail maintenance, cleaning up the tangled web of herd paths between the two summits.  Either I'm becoming a stronger hiker, or these wasn't a particularly difficult hike.


It was mid-February, but wow, it was warm on the lower-elevation parts (probably right around freezing).  I was down to my base layer on top and was sorely regretting wearing the thicker thermals.  I ended up sweating more than I wanted to, so by the time we made the summits...

...COLD.  Grrrrr!  As we started the steeper ascent above the col between the two mountains, the snow got deeper, we hiked straight into a snowflake-spitting newsprint-colored cloud, and it got cold.  Go figure.  It was beautiful, though--little branches shining with ice, evergreen boughs draped heavy with white powder.

Of course, as we retraced our steps back down the mountains, liberally employing the time-tested technique for cutting down the time of a snowy descent i.e. the butt-luge...  it got warm again.  Back to sweating.  In February.

What a lame-@$$ winter.




If you're thinking of doing this hike, know that many of the older guidebooks and maps are extremely out-of-date.  The trail is good enough that you don't need a guidebook or map, but you wouldn't be going into the woods without a map and compass and the skills to use them, now would you?  Otherwise, this felt like a standard ADK day-hike.