Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Isolation, NH
Trails: Rocky Branch Trail, herd paths, bushwhacks, Isolation Trail, Davis Path, Isolation Spur
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 22, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of room at Rocky Branch off Route 16 today. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant, Snow/Ice - Small Patches 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossing 5 of Rocky Branch was running a bit high...took a leap of faith about 20 feet upstream. Isolation Trail crossing was hoppable. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Close to a dozen blowdowns on Rocky Branch. I took out a few, but many still remain, including a few that are resulting in herd paths. A few also on Isolation Trail. Lots of unmaintained/failed waterbars. Failed bog bridging on Davis Path resulting in trail creep/herd paths. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Mosquitoes and black flies down low, transitioning to black flies above the ski trail crossing. Not too bad above 3,000 feet. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Rocky Branch Trail to the height of land was snow free and fairly dry, other than the usual areas of muck.

Initial herd path of the Engine Hill bushwhack had its usual muck, but nothing insurmountable. I peeled off soon thereafter and bushwhacked, often favoring spruce/fir to stay out of the muck in the birch glades, popping out not too far below the top crossing of the Rocky Branch.

Isolation Trail was very wet in the flats with lots of mud and standing/running water. Insignificant patch of snow prior to the Davis Path.

Davis Path had some patches of snow in the cols, however there was no uniform snowpack remaining in the woods. The usual mudpit was very bad today, with standing water and muck/snow surrounding it.

Isolation Spur was snow free. Had the summit to myself.

Descending, I tried the Isolation Express herd path/bushwhack. Initially fairly obvious as far as unmarked herd paths go, it did become more vague as I descended. I found evidence of an old herd path that pulled away from the drainage a little below 3,500 feet, and was able to roughly follow it down to around 3,300 feet. No longer seeing evidence of it, and in fairly open woods, I worked my way down to the Rocky Branch, gradually descending until I reached the shore, at which point I descended steeply to a tough crossing around 3,160 feet. I then climbed up, crossed over the trail, and slabbed around 3,200 feet ending up at the typical entrance to the Engine Hill bushwhack. Overall, this saved me about a mile as compared to the ascending route, and crossed a few quasi-ledgy areas on the Iso Express. On the downside, it was less than savory to get covered in pollen (my black backpack was a shade of yellow by the end of it). Lots of spider webs today too.

Decent amount of wildflowers in bloom, with trout lily even still holding on higher up. Plenty of trillium.

Mostly cloudy day with seasonably warm temperatures. Rain held off, making for reasonable conditions. Only crossed paths with one group and two couples all day.

No need for Microspikes or snowshoes on this one until winter weather returns.  
Name: rocket21 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-05-22 
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