July 6, 2008

street and nye and killer black flies

I should have listened. Have I mentioned that in addition to having no patience I am also not inclined to follow instructions well. More positively, I prefer to call it being "driven". People told me not to enter the high peaks in June, the black flies are too bad. Well, no can do...my patience have diminished as I have had to put hiking on the back burner due to busy sports schedules and I am ready for a mental health day on a mountain. June 9th, 2008, my father and I head up to the Loj. We are armed with 100% deet (no bug net..I know, it's my next purchase). The trail around heart lake and up the mountain to the cairn where the trail branches off to either street or nye is beautiful. We chose to do these two peaks because they are not known for their views and it is hot, humid and there is a chance of rain. Since we are early in our journey of becoming 46ers we are most interested in trips that we can bag at least two peaks in one day and we do not want to make it to wright and Algonquin just as the clouds close in on the view. Already been there and done that on Giant! The first half of this trip is enjoyable, cool under the canopy of the trees and there is plenty of cold stream water to wipe our sweaty faces with. And for my father to keep filling that water filter bottle of his...I am putting off drinking filtered stream water as long as I can!! We saw ladyslippers, some white triliums that were late bloomers and still looking pretty and very intricate beaver work. This easily traveled herdpath was deceiving at first and then us newbies were introduced to the true meaning of herdpath. Between the mud and the blowdown we were slowed to a snails pace. That is when the black flies began to devour any bit of showing skin. Luckily we came to a big rock/lookout point where Algonquin, Boundary and Iroquois were in full view. We had to move quickly though and were soon at the summit of nye. No view, tons of bugs. I put deet on first, then ate my sandwich with the same hands (yikes)...actually contemplated drinking the deet before I was done. I rushed my slow eating father, who did not seem to be as bothered by the bugs. I thought this could easily be a challenge on fear factor....get into the tank with about 3 million black flies and win. On to Street...through the mossiest forest I have ever seen. Only a few difficult spots to maneuver and we were on Street. It took a little searching to find the summit sign. It is so high in the tree, it is easy to miss. We followed a hardly discernible path to a ledge which treated us to 180 degree views. Very thankful for that. I have paid about 80 black fly bites for this view. What is the saying...a bad day in the cripplebush is better than a good day at work? Umm...my next mental health mountain day is going to be in July. The milkshake on the way out of Essex County hit the spot...thanks dad! Congrats to us, we are now 6ers.

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