September 28, 2015 – Street and Nye Mountains
Dear Grace, *
Today, the forecast was for overcast skies and maybe some rain showers — a perfect day to climb a couple peaks with wooded summits, like Street and Nye. So my new hiking pal Marsha and I enjoyed the view of Heart Lake, signed in at the trailhead at 9:34am, and started our hike through the fall leaves. Along the way, we chatted with a man who was making his second attempt at Street and Nye. The first time he’d tried, the water was too high for the brook crossing, but happily, that wasn’t an issue today.
We reached the junction, where the two trails diverge, just after 11:30 and decided to tackle Nye first, since the trail was shorter and the view the lesser of the two. Ten minutes later, we were at the summit – something we knew not because of the beautiful views from up high but because the trail simply came to an end and there was a simple sign letting us know we were there.
We returned to the junction, headed up Street, and summited just before noon. This one is wooded, too, but there are a couple of trails that lead to overlooks with limited views that were more limited than usual today with the clouds.
We had lunch, climbed down, and signed out at 3:20pm, so the two mountains took just under six hours in all. Not my favorite peaks, but I did love the cute toad we met, the fascinating old lumber camp remains along the trail, and the brook.
These rock-hopping water crossings always make me feel like I’m ten years old again. Mountains have a way of turning us all back into kids & adventurers, and for that, I’m thankful.
* Grace is Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to climb all 46 high peaks. She was a founding member of the Adirondack 46ers, the group’s 1st president, and later on, its secretary and historian, roles she filled until she died in 2004. It used to be that if you wanted to be a 46er, you had to log each climb by writing a letter to Grace. And Grace would write back. She answered thousands and thousands of letters, with encouraging words and sometimes, her own reflections on a climb, too. Today, the 46er application process is simplified; one only needs to keep simple climb records on a club form that can be downloaded. But I wish I’d had the chance to climb these mountains and write letters about them when Grace was around to read them. I love her story and her strength and the way she urged others to get outside and explore and tell their stories. So I’ve decided to write the letters anyway. I think Grace would have liked that.