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Hike-NH.com - View topic - Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16

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 Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16 
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 Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Mother Nature continues to throw up roadblocks wherever I plan to roam. Saturday it was supposed to be in the Adirondacks but they had severe thunderstorms forecast for the day. Plan B was Baxter, but it had clouds and showers in it's future. 5 hours of driving to waste some of the finest scenery around with our heads in the clouds would just be stupid, even by my standards! :wink: So we were pretty much left with the Whites as plan C. But a friend of mine still needs a few of the 48 to finish up his list, so we drew from those and set our sights on Isolation. Out and back via Glen Boulder and Davis Path was the chosen route, so as to avoid Rocky Branch, which hasn't impressed me at all on my previous two trips.

We started up around 8, and I do mean UP! I hadn't been on this trail in about 15 years and had no recollection of how steep it was. The good thing about that is you get to treeline relatively quickly as you climb the 1750 feet to the famous boulder in 1.6 miles. You hit treeline in a mile and a half, which is quicker than any trail I recall other than Caps Ridge. The boulder sits perched above Pinkham Notch with a nice view of the Carters and 'Cats across the street and some lesser peaks like the Baldfaces, Kearsarge North and the Doublehead among others. To the north are the ridges, ravines and sub-peaks of Washington. Nice spot for a snack and a break before climbing another 1100 feet over the next mile to Slide Peak, which is also in the alpine zone and has a great view of the Gulf of Slides. The trail eases up at that point, but tacks on another 350 feet over the next half mile to the junction with the Davis Path, which sits at 5,175 feet and would be our high point for the day. 3.2 miles with 3200 feet of elevation and we hadn't summited anything of significance yet. :? To add insult to injury either 99% of the alpine flowers were hiding from the weather or already gone. There were a few here and there but not nearly as many as there could have been.

Only 1.5 miles to treeline...


...but it makes you work for it


Really not a lot to see other than this cascade until you get there either


But relatively quickly you arrive!


And start with a scramble


Followed by steep, classic NH alpine zone


The boulder perched above route 16




Just for scale heres a picture of Atlas holding it up


Views of Boott Spur, some ridges and ravines we climb


George playing peek-a-boo


A few alpine flowers hiding under a rock


Very cold and windy above treeline. I brought gloves, but can honestly say I didn't think I'd be using these again until this fall


But with a significant chunk exposed to the elements from Slide Peak on up wear them I did


Pretty decent view south from Slide Peak


Gulf of slides bookended by Boot Spur and Slide Peak


Fellow aspiring 111ers on Slide Peak


Seen better days


From there we had to descent along the Davis Path, losing 1200 feet of elevation over 2.8 miles before making the short climb to the summit on the spur trail. Nothing of note along the way either, other than the friendly and ambitious trail maintainer who was doing some serious brushing out and tree removal along the sides of the trail. We talked with him for a bit before thanking him for his work and moving on. More excitement ensued when we hit the Isolation Trail (West) and some friendly guys taking a break accidentally told us we wanted to go that way for Isolation. We took their word for it and didn't really look at the signs or bother checking a map at that point, but about 5 minutes later one of them came running up behind us to let us know they sent us the wrong way, so we went back up to the junction and chatted with them for a bit. Turns out they were from NY and working on their NE111 like us, and also like us had 88 of them in the bag. Strange coincidence. They however were headed for Isolation to get to 89. Most of their peaks left were in Maine, with a dozen in NH. Ours are all in the Daks, so the race is on! 8)


Headed down to Mt. Isolation


Into the wild


Isolation dead ahead


Down through about a mile of this


CAUTION. MAN AT WORK


Glimpse of Isolation ahead


A little wet from the Isolation East junction




But after only six miles...


Where was I?? Oh right, summiting the mountain falsely advertised as Isolation! We arrived at the top to find a meet up group of 10 sprawled across the path to the true summit, and another dozen, plus some dogs, wandering about. :shock: Good for all of them, but that was a lot more people than I would ever have expected up there on a less than spectacular day. Weekend hiking on the 48 I guess. We stayed just long enough to have the NY guys take our photo and return the favor before heading down. Over the next half mile we passed another couple dozen people heading for the top, including a couple of fellow forumites (Matt (Madmatt) and Kyle (Satchboogie) headed for the top after coming up from Tux and then going out some other way, which I have already forgotten. First time I have even run into anyone from this forum on the trails.

Not sure you can get a better profile of the Southern Presis


The ridge we came down (and have to go back up) as well as W peaking out




Isolation...


...in name only




A Mad man and a Boogie man seen along the way :D


After passing the turn towards Rocky Branch where all but 2 people were funneling towards we had the quiet inside of the clouds to ourselves and it was a steady but not steep climb up the 1200 feet of the Davis Path we lost before. Along the way few sprinkles fell, but nothing major, and from there it was a simple matter of the knee jarring descent of the Glen Boulder Trail. From the time we hit Slide Peak until treeline we were in a nice little pocket of clarity, with clouds below, above, to the left and right and in the distance, but we had this little bubble to ourselves it seemed, where we could watch the clouds dance on the rides and in the ravines as we hiked down carefully on drizzle soaked rocks. Pretty cool I must say to be in that little pocket, but then it was back into the trees and the low flying clouds which made for a slippery, humid end to the hike.

Up into the soup




Hey, these things really work!!


Back to civilization


A window opening up


Dancing clouds






Our very own view bubble as we descended




Even the summit of Washington made a brief appearance


Overall a pretty good hike. Definitely a workout with 5000 feet of elevation gain, but only 12 miles, and a good chunk of that above treeline. All that however for one lousy 4004 foot high mountain! :D Not clear views from the top, but better than the snowstorm I saw the inside of last time I was there. Maybe next time I'll actually get a clear day, because the summit view is actually one of the better ones I think. 41/48 for my friend I think, and another enjoyable hike in NH for the other two of us.


Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:40 pm
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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Thanks for the first few photos of those crapped out flowers and your estimation that 99% are gone! Don't we get screwed every year? :x :x :x

We car camped last night and waited to see what Sunday would bring. I said no way with the wind blowing down rt 16 the way it did today. Now I don't feel like I missed anything flowerwise.

We've been up as far as the boulder, the rest of it looks good, looking at your photos. I don't think Isolation is EVER isolated!


Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:15 pm
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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Cathie and I had Isolation to ourselves for our 48 finish on an awesome October day two years ago. We went in from RB - our 3rd attempt. Next time I want to go over Glen Boulder.

I like the new sign. WAY better than the old one

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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
First, you did the obligatory hold up Glen Boulder photo wrong. It's suppose to be like this. :P


Funny, the only time I ran into Matt on trail, he was headed to Isolation. Yup, "Gridiot" :wink:

Too bad it wasn't nice enough to run up to Boott Spur. :)

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Last edited by JustJoe on Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:19 am, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:19 am
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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Uphill both ways. The only way to hike! Cool madmatt sighting. I guess that's the only way you will meet people on the forum. Kinda hard when you are mainly hiking on Thursdays and frequent Acadia. I remember coming down Glen Boulder and being dead tired. That section between Glen Boulder and the junction with the Davis path is really pleasant though. Easy grades and Alpine lawns make up for all the effort early on. Sweet pics of the dancing clouds. A cherry on top to a long day.


Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:41 am
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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Hey...that weather looks familiar! What a way for the weathermen to last-minute decide to change to a so-so weather day. So much for the partly cloudy morning that was forecast up until Friday afternoon... I was glad the rain never really amounted to anything though. It would have been a long trek out if it had decided to pour. (Since you forgot, we went out Isolation East and Rocky Branch South to Jericho Road. Saw only 2 people on that last 6 miles, who were hanging out at Shelter #1 for the night. Some insane river erosion along that stretch from Hurricane Irene! Maybe I'll do a proper TR for this hike since it was my Spring finish.)

We only shared the summit with 5-6 people, most everyone else had left by the time we got there :) Still, I've never seen so many people there before, apparently this was the Isolation day for some odd reason. I did the Glen Boulder route over Labor Day weekend last year on a much nicer day, and only saw maybe a dozen-ish people, and only 3 at the top. :?

Joe, you forget we also met on Moosilauke several winters back. Along with BobC, Greg, and Mike/Salty! I've run into a number of Hike-NHers here and there, but GraniteGuy was the last one I would have ever expected to see on/near a 4K on a weekend on an iffy weather day! I couldn't believe it! Haha, great to run into you.

Love the non-standard Glen Boulder shot. Now combine the 2! One person trying to push it over, one holding it up a la Atlas!

There was a fair bit of Diapensia blooming over by Boott Spur, especially on the Boott Spur Link. I couldn't decide if it was starting, or ending, and since it snowed up there a couple times over the last week, who the heck knows! I'm going with things being on the down-swing though.

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Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:24 am
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Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:36 pm
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 Re: Isolation...In Name Only - 6/11/16
Had things been very, very, very different, we had been thinking of some sort of loop involving Boot Spur, Alpine Garden, and down Lion's Head. But we were there Sunday, which was a #$%^ day. We sat on Mt. Crescent in the howling wind and looked over at all the missing summits and were grateful for the trout lily, the last remaining trillium, and all the lupines along the road we took to get there! Glad all of you had a good time!


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