Click for Mount Washington, New Hampshire Forecast

Mt. Washington Temp.
Click pic for forecast.

...More Topics...

 

 

Get Firefox!

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Made with CSS

Validated by W3C

       
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:52 pm



Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
 Your not-so-typical Isolation dayhike! 
Author Message
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 Your not-so-typical Isolation dayhike!
Isolation. The last wild card left on the list. You see, the Bonds and Zealand are already pre-planned as a backpack, and of course Moosilauke is saved for last. With that in mind it was time to hit up Isolation and mark one more victim off the final push to the end. My hope was to get McRat involved since he too needed this one. But early on it was shaping up like he would not be able to find a babysitter, and would thus finally come to be not able to join us. But all was good as someone he knew quite well was. Bob (Hikerfast) zipped me over a PM asking what, when and where. After a quick few replies back and forth it was decided we would pick him up in Concord and carpool up to the Rocky Branch Trailhead on Rt. 16.…….or so we thought.

We arrived early at the Park and Ride off exit 17 to Bob standing and waiting. After some sleepy hellos he threw his stuff into the back of our car and we jetted off back to the highway. As we got on Bob started talking about Rocky Branch. He said “I’m all for going in by Route 16, no problem. But you know, I’ve never heard of anyone coming from Jericho road.” He had apparently started going up that way once before (though he could not remember exactly when he turned back…but he did know for sure he had not made Isolation’s summit,) and remembered it as very mellow with no sudden elevation gain. It would be very long, with 4 water crossings that could be difficult in high water, but number wise it should be doable. I had remembered once hearing Jericho road was closed for a long time (all four seasons, not just snow.) But reading a few recent reports, like ShugahJohns, suggested it perhaps was open again. The one caveat, it was mostly, if not entirely, used as a backpacking route…….

“Its just an idea if you guys want. I’m up for whatever you want to do” said Bob. After less than a seconds thought we decided “hey, why the hell not!” :lol: And with that we passed by exit 23 which would take us out to Pinkham notch and screamed along to hit the Kanc. And Bear Notch road. We drove out onto Jericho road and found it quite intact and looking very pleasantly graded. The road terminates at 2 gates, one which the map tells me you follow to take out to hit the western route up Iron Mountain. The second gate was the one we wanted. We packed all our gear up and headed off for the first leg of our trip. The sign at the trailhead said 6.1 miles to the Isolation trail…..yup JUST to the Isolation trail. All told, including this section of Rocky Branch, the Isolation trail and Davis Path to Iso’s summit would total up to 9.6 miles one way! We crossed the large bridge over the Rocky Branch immediately after the gate and began leg one of the trip under gray (but not menacing……yet :oops: ) skies.

For a ways you follow an access road that leads you to a second access road before finally hitting the real trail proper. Even this part of the trail is wide, well graded with easy footing, and I’m told, follows an old railroad grade. It reminds me very much of Livermore Road going into the Tri-p’s. The woods are lush and green and the birds were out singing and content. We ambled along at a steady pace until we came to the Rocky Branch Shelter #1. Bob had passed this the last time he was here, but for some reason never stopped to see it. Of course my curiosity was peeked as well, so we headed over the few dozen feet to check it out. Having never seen one of these Lean-tos before I was pretty amused at the Spartan novelty of such a structure. Bob himself was even giggling at it. “Its always neat to see things in person what you always look at on maps.” Sure as heck, he is very much correct about that one! Having satisfied the curiosity in us we decided to keep moving along. We passed the junction for Stair Col trail, stopping briefly for Bob to wonder in amusement at this as well. Passing it we once again moved along briskly as the grade and footing were so incredibly forgiving. Slowly the sounds of the Rocky Branch once again returned to our ears and we hit our first real crossing of the day.

The water levels, thankfully, were low, and with a little thought it was easy enough to cross without getting wet feet. We would do this 3 more times, in rather quick succession, with little wooden signs with white arrows pointing out the trail before and/or after the crossings. With those behind us we started off on a rather long leg of trail before reaching the Isolation trail free of water crossings. Despite no sunshine the day was mildly warm and pleasant. We walked along getting a taste of many things the woods of these mountains have to offer. Sphagnum mossy wet areas, large plots of ferns, green mossy woods, small open (albeit heavily grown over) glades. The trail continuously went from comparatively wide to almost obscure from overgrowth in just a matter of feet. One section was even grown over with raspberry bushes, much to the dismay of Bob and I who chose to wear shorts this day :? . These woods were beautiful. They were majestic. The roar of the Rocky Branch now dozens of feet below added its soundtrack to what was turning out to be one very wise decision. Now, at one point I thought I heard someone talking. Bob heard someone sneeze. Eventually we would find ourselves on the tail end of three backpackers heading in for the night. Now we knew where those other cars at the trailhead came from. We pulled up right behind the tail end man who did not even realize we were there for at least a FULL 30 seconds! Our group then engaged in a short conversation. They asked us where we were headed, and when we said Isolation the woman said “ARE YOU GUYS INSANE!?” Man, I’ve been asked that quite a few times since I started hiking……why cant anyone for once ask me “are you SANE!?” But then again, what do you expect from a mentally unstable person like me! :twisted:

Before we knew it we came upon Shelter #2. We stopped to top off our bodies with some quick snacks a liquid. It was about here we started to notice a few mild drizzle drops falling about us. Weather.com had called for the rain to hold off to about 6 pm. But lord knows, when you hike with me, anything is to be expected. We crossed our fingers hoping for the best and continued on. A short couple hundred yards up the trail we hit the Junction of Isolation trail and Rocky Branch and the second leg of our adventure was to begin.

The grades once again remained a pleasant, almost level nature. The only real sharp elevation gain we had done all day was the numerous drainage washes which went down several feet and then back up the same amount. Bob equated it to walking out to 13 Falls, it had been that easy and mild up to this point. We moved along the Isolation trail taking the bushwack route that avoided 2 of the water crossings. We probably should not have (and on the return trip we did not), and proof came when I stepped in mud up to my ankle, coating my brand new, $170 boots with mud. Oh well, thank goodness I’m not vain about my gear :roll: . Sadly, the rain drizzle decided it wanted to pick itself up, and I made the decision to stop and put in my pack cover. Jen and Bob did the same. 10 minutes later it was coming down pretty good on us, but no one wanted to stop to dig out rain gear, and really it did not seem bad enough to warrant doing so. We pushed on to the Davis Path. From Davis it was a moderately graded walk to the Isolation spur. From the Isolation spur it was a scramble to the summit of number 43. We topped out into what has been described as intriguing views of the Presidential range from an angle not regularly seen. Well……we still would not see them. As is usually the case everything was socked in except for the short section of ridge we had just walked up. We were soaked to the bone by now. The water on all the bushes and undergrowth had run down my legs and effectively negated any and all waterproofing, and my boots now weighed about a pound heavier each. Yup, the trials and tribulations of the peakbagger…..but hey, at least we made it.

Thankfully there was no wind to really speak of. If there had been we might have been in trouble as we would have surely all caught hypothermia of some degree. We all changed in to dry or warmer clothing and donned our rain gear. We ate a quick lunch lower down in the protection of some of the trees, quietly and slowly starting to chill over. We all finally decided enough was enough….we needed to get moving and warm NOW. And we did just that. With the usually little fanfare we give to peaks that deny us a view, we said goodbye to Isolation and continued back the way we came. 9.6 miles for no view. 9.6 miles just to get back to the car. But hey, at least it was pretty easy walking.

So we returned to walking….and walking…..and walking. We skipped the bushwack and crossed the two water crossings I already mentioned, we passed the #2 Shelter (now collecting a good number of people), passed another group of younger adults out backpacking, and plodded our way back down and down. Despite the lack of views, this long narrow valley walk was truly amazing. The rain had softened up a bunch of spots that were muddy to begin with, but all were still very manageable. And with the added fact our feet were now hopelessly soaked it became easier to just slog through puddles and water crossings knowing that it cant get any wetter, right!? It was amazing to be able to look up and down the Rocky Branch at this rugged, stone lined river and marvel at the glacial activity that created all this. We stood amused, staring at 2 boulders at least 25 feet wide each, just casually sitting in the middle of the rocky surface, adding their own touch to the flow and direction of the water. No one seems to use this trail as a dayhike option. Sadly, it seems only the backpackers get to be revel in this valleys utter beauty….until today, that is.

By now the miles were taking their toll on all three of us. Our legs were aching, the conversation slowly starting to hit a lower tone, and we were now moving simply on cruise control. I do not know how we did it, but we made the final few miles back to our starting point. We crossed the bridge over the Rocky Branch, victorious and proud. 19.2 miles we had walked. Probably 12 of that was with waterlogged boots. Cautiously we eased ourselves into the car, moaning and groaning as we did so. We headed back home, stopping only briefly at McDonalds to get Bob some food to eat (we had Chinese food waiting for us at home!) We dropped Bob off at the Park and Ride and said good-bye. We had left home at 6:00 that morning and at 9:20 we pulled into the garage…..victorious! :o

All told it was an amazing day. I really hope…wish…others would give this route a try. Its very long, but well worth it. Thanks to Bob for coming along with us. He is a great guy, and we very much enjoyed having him along for the fun. My only regret is that McRat had to miss this incredible day. Anyone who wants to do this trip again sometime after we finish our list, let me know….Ill do it again any day rain or shine (but hopefully shine)!!!!

Brian


Mon Aug 28, 2006 5:58 pm
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:51 pm
Posts: 1599
Location: Western Mass
Reply with quote
 
Nice new option! Sadly you missed one unique view of the Southern Pressies. Hikeswithclouds strikes again. Remember if you screw up Flags we are shipping you to Siberia...... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice job with 43


Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:21 pm
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
SilentCal wrote:
Remember if you screw up Flags we are shipping you to Siberia...... :lol: :lol: :lol:



What? Is that a threat? Snow, ice....I thought you were supposed to be punishing me, not giving me exactly what I want :lol: :lol: :lol: .

Brian


Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:37 pm
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:51 pm
Posts: 1599
Location: Western Mass
Reply with quote
 
:? :? okay maybe Death Valley in California would be better then. :? :? :lol: :lol:


Mon Aug 28, 2006 6:50 pm
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
SilentCal wrote:
:? :? okay maybe Death Valley in California would be better then. :? :? :lol: :lol:


Hmmmm, I wonder if scorpions taste like chicken :? :shock: :twisted: .

Brian


Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:03 pm
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2026
Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
Reply with quote
 
Hey Brian,

Another great trip report.

I tell ya, this one is a lot like Owls Head. The pride is in checking off as being "done" more so than looking for a view at the summit.
It's the journey and not the goal that make those 2 hills so unique.

and please don't bring the rain next week....please. :wink:

See ya soon!
Bill

_________________
"My feet is my only carriage..." Bob Marley


Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:10 am
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:51 pm
Posts: 1599
Location: Western Mass
Reply with quote
 
See!!!! I'm not the only one that thinks those lines!!!!

Very rare that a Habs and lowly Bruin Fan can agree on something :lol: :lol:


Tue Aug 29, 2006 9:35 am
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2026
Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
Reply with quote
 
hmmmm...I guess September is approaching and myself and the 2 other B's fans are looking forward to it especially the newly increased ticket prices.

Well, I'm still on a truce until 9/12! :wink:

_________________
"My feet is my only carriage..." Bob Marley


Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:18 am
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 
Pucknuts61 wrote:
and please don't bring the rain next week....please. :wink:



Of course not next week since we will be doing Bondcliff....as for Sept 9th, I guess I can show mercy. And then the weekend after perhaps. Only fair of me to let you see the view from West Bond free of rain. But it depends on my mood and wether my voodoo chicken dance has enough potency. Im consulting a native american shamen right now about a new rain dance, so we will just have to see........ :lol: :wink:

Brian


Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:56 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 9 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Hike-NH.com based on STSoftware.