|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Isolation (attempt), NH|
||Rocky Branch Trail, bushwhack, Isolation Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Wednesday, March 13, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable) |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|Lost and Found:
||There was one car in the parking lot when I got there around 8:30am. Rocky Branch trail is crunchy snow to start so spikes were fine. The snow softened up a bit as I got higher, but spikes were fine enough. Near the start of the Engine Hill bushwhack, I postholed once to my thigh and quickly switched to snowshoes for the rest of my hike.|
Around there, I met a pair of guys who were retreating back to their car. They had initially tried Rocky Branch Trail west past the bushwhack and found that the trail started to get a little wet in spots before the footprints came to an end. They had also explored the footprints that would appear to lead toward the bushwhack, but they found that those footprints too also died out quickly in front of thick forest cover.
I continued and found that the footprints forked 2-3 times but all very quickly died out. I continued past the end of the most promising set of footprints through some thick trees and found some open space. The snow was completely untouched everywhere I looked, but the trees were open enough so I continued on breaking trail, hoping that the Isolation Trail would be broken out. I'd never done the bushwhack before, but I did the best I could to balance staying on the 3200' contour with finding open paths through the trees. Eventually, I heard the sound of the brook and my GPS app told me I was right on top of the Isolation Trail. I searched around trying to find any signs of the trail, but couldn't find anything.
I was hiking solo and at this point alone in the wilderness. Tired and faced with the prospect of further breaking trail and potentially bushwhacking alone, I decided to bail.
I'm a little confused that the Rocky Branch Trail was so well broken out but that the bushwhack was untouched. I looked around on the way back to see if there were any other forks I missed, but couldn't see any. Hopefully someone else can continue where I left off.
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.