|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Isolation, NH|
||Rocky Branch Trail, Isolation Trail, Davis Path, Isolation Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, December 13, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||We were the only cars there at 5:15am and 3pm. |
||Ice - Black, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Wet/Slippery Rock, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Mud - Significant, Snow - Spring Snow, Slush |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Since the Engine Hill bushwhack wasn’t broken out we opted to stick to the true trail and brave the water crossings. Water wasn’t high so we figured that they’d most likely be a tricky rock hop. We were right. I was surprised to see as much ice as I did over the crossings. It was often very thin and unsupportive and made things challenging because it often hid where the rocks were that we wanted to hop across on. We prodded with our poles to see where ice might be stable and to intentionally break it to reveal where the rocks were. Definitely some tricky maneuvering, particularly in snowshoes. Poles are essential. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Rocky Branch Trail has the occasional but regular yellow blaze before you hit the wilderness boundary. A few blowdowns on the ascent along Rocky Branch Trail have caused the broken path to go off the trail. There were a couple leaners along the blowdown section of Isolation East near David Path that we had to duck under. Nothing too prolific or difficult. No blazing on any of the other trails that I recall but not hard to follow things yesterday given the Trail was broken. |
||Your dog would’ve been one very wet dog. |
||I actually saw some small flying insect on my shirt at one point. It was pretty freaking warm... |
|Lost and Found:
||A nice hike with a friend to get Isolation for our December grids. This was my 9th 4000 footer this month and my 16th in total for the month of December. |
What a freaking shit show...temps were fairly warm (like above freezing warm) which lead to sloppy, slushy snow and lots of melting. Hard to move quickly and get into a good rhythm when you’re climbing uphill in slush and your feet are turning every which way. Of course once we reached the HOL on Rocky Branch, the soft snow turned to running water on the trail. My boots were absolutely soaked by the time this hike was over with. Very, very wet. We used spikes until we were maybe a a couple tenths of a mile into Isolation Trail where we switched to snowshoes. On the return we took them off once back on Rocky Branch Trail and the last water crossing was over instead. This hike would’ve been a lot nicer had the temps been a bit colder and kept things frozen.
Note that the Engine Hill bushwhack was only broke out today and thus was not broken out when we hiked it. We’d planned on doing it and possibly even Isolation Express but between that and how wet we’d get pushing through all that, we figured it was best to just stick to the true trail. Although it had seen snowshoe traffic, it wasn’t as broken out as we thought it would be. Definitely could use some more snowshoe traffic. The one saving grace was that, to our surprise, we actually saw some blue sky and sun and even got some views at the summit before it went back into the clouds.
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.