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 Isolation 2/2 
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Leg Burner
Leg Burner

Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:40 am
Posts: 59
Location: Thornton
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 Isolation 2/2
Once again, the hike today was geared toward another new peak for Jeff.
He had only been to Isolation one other time, and that was via the Glen Boulder trail during the summer season. Another new Winter peak, and a new route makes the going interesting.

We headed up the Rocky Branch Trail around 9:30am. There were no recent boot/snowshoe tracks in the snow since the last small accumulation was received on Monday. The snow was still only about 8 inches deep at the start, but it increased steadily as we moved along the RBT. About 1/2 mile up the trail, the snow surface, that had been touched by too warm temps or a precipitation mist, changed to glorious powder. We would walk in this all day long. Imagine, an entire trip in snowshoes 8)

Jeff let me know that he hadn't ever really navigated a bushwhack, so he was looking forward to the 2 or 3 we would do on this hike. Once we reached the height-of-land on the Engine Hill section of the Rocky Branch Trail, we moved to the far West end of the wet area to start the first bushwhack. I started the navigation of this section, and soon let Jeff take over. We encountered one set of fresh Moose post-holes in this section, and wondered if we hadn't spooked the big guy and got him to move along. After reaching the Isolation (east) Trail, we made our way to the 3rd crossing of the brook, and although this one looked potentially doable, we opted for the short bushwhack along the banking to the far side of the 4th crossing. At the 5th crossing, we were pleased to find good ice spanning the water just far enough out from each banking to allow us an easy crossing. After that, we made our way to the far end of the former blow down area to the left side of the trail. There, we started the short 3rd bushwhack. There was evidence of a previous bushwhack here as well, though the other folks had looked to travel the drainage to get to the Davis Path. We knew that wouldn't be the best route in this Winter, as there are large trees lying across the drainage that would have to be manuvered around. We cliimbed the small rise in the terrain that is the south banking of this drainage, traversed the short section of open softwoods, and collided with the other bushwhack track at the far end as the drainage & southern knoll intersect just before the Davis Path. Jeff was grinning from ear to ear. He was truly enjoying this hike.

After a quick snack, we headed off for the summit of Isolation, which is approx .8 miles from this "junction". As we moved along, the fog that had been ever present so far, was starting to thin. It allowed us to have views of Mts Franklin, Monroe, & even Washington. However, as we topped out on Isolation itself, the fog remained to block any summit views. Drats. Oh well, an excuse to come back another day :wink: It took us approx 5 hours to reach the summit using this route. After leaving the summit, again along the Davis Path, views to the Presidential's were able to be seen!

As we retraced our steps, each section seemed to fly by; Davis Path - check, Isolation to 5th brook crossing - check, 5th brook crossing to 3rd/4th bushwhack - check, and very quickly we were back on the Engine Hill bushwhack portion of the trip. About 1/2 way back across this, all of a sudden there was another hiker who had been following our tracks. We stopped and had a short conversation with him. He let us know that he had been intending on camping at the shelter down at the major brook crossing, but was delighted to see our bushwhack track leaving the Rocky Branch trail. He said he had always wanted to give it a try, so he decided that he would camp at the tent site along the Isolation trail instead of the shelter. He and his 11 year old dog would look to go to Isolation summit in the morning, hopefully before the rain set in, as was forecasted.

The rest of the hike out was uneventful, but definitely quick. We made it back to the parking area at approx 5:30pm, and at this time of year means NO headlamps 8)

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Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:56 pm
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Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 10:20 am
Posts: 779
Location: Lancaster, NH Avatar: On the trail again
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Thanks for the well broken out trail, we followed your routes. Sweet!

Lendawg & ChinookTrail were the last in our group the bag the summit. I wish I took a photo of him touching the cairn then his double take to see a bottle with a yellow ribbon that congratulated him on his successful #48. What a very happy smile he had. He'll never forget it too. A kind soul left it for him. Let's see, who could that be?
:D
Thank you!

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Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:49 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2026
Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
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This is a fun one to bag in the winter.....right Magic?

Just sorry the views were so poor.
Another great report Cath!
Bill

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Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:30 pm
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