|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Isolation, NH|
||Rocky Branch Trail, Isolation Trail, Davis Path, Isolation Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, May 16, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked in the paved lot for Rocky Branch trailhead off NH 16. This is plowed in winter. Nice large lot that can hold many cars. Kiosk, no privy. I have never seen so many NH plates in one lot. They DO exist!! 😀 |
||Dry Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Weeeeelllll.... There are multiple water crossings on Isolation trail. The water level was visibly rising with the warm temps. What were bare rocks an hour ago were submerged under 2-3 inches of water later. These are passable, the feet will most certainly get wet. These are not treacherous crossings but will certainly make one pause for a looonnnngg second before proceeding. We had to use submerged rocks to get across. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Good trail for dogs. Many open water points up to the Davis Path. |
||Oh yes. It’s officially open season! |
|Lost and Found:
Rocky Branch trail (northern section) > Isolation trail (eastern section) > Davis Path > Isolation Spur > back the way we came.
Rocky Branch Trail: well blazed in yellow to the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary. After this it is not blazed. The footbed, well foot brook, is well defined and simple to follow. I forgot how pointy the rocks are on this trail. I should have brushed up on my ballet pointe lessons. I also forgot how much water is on the trail. Warm temps caused a rush of snow melt off that made the trail even wetter (like, how is THAT possible?!). No snow on this trail.
Isolation Trail: not blazed. Wet, muddy, and wet. Did I mention the water crossings? Plan for additional time. I always shoot myself in the foot when I ask “Well how much wetter can it get?” Oh plenty... Unstable monorail begins at about 3500 feet. This is interspersed with open sections of trail. Read: spikes and snowshoes are pointless extra weight. You will step on what you think is a solid piece of monorail only to plunge shin deep into an icy pool of mud. Leave excess weight of snow gear at home. Your feet will gain 5 pounds of water weight by the end of this trail. We camped at the first established campsite on the trail. The campsite is super nice, snow free, quiet, and has a fire ring but no privy (not complaining- just reporting). One good flat tent area, though with creativity you could create many other tent sites. Wicked nice site. Both this campsite and the one before the Davis junction are signed with a small tent sign and arrow. I really like this campsite.
Davis Path: not blazed but it is travelled often enough to establish a solid foot bed. Trail maintainers try their best to stay on top of the multiple blow downs that love this section. Must be some kind of blow down magnet deep in the core of the Montalban Range... The 0.9 miles from the Isolation junction to Isolation summit spur were not too bad. Still unstable monorail, still plunging into ice cold pools (with far less frequency), but the grade is fairly mellow and we met such nice people! It may have something to do with the fact that we dropped our heavy camping packs taking only water and a fanny pack to the summit. Such faster travel without the 35 pound pack!
Isolation Spur: not blazed, signed at junction. Short scramble to ice and snow free summit. Phenomenal view on clear days.
The snow is receding. The price we pay is throughly soaked boots and the smell of blooming trees.
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.