Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Isolation, NH
Trails: Rocky Branch Trail, bushwhack, Isolation Trail, bushwhack, Davis Path, Isolation Spur
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, January 27, 2022
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plowed to the pavement. Of course, after this Saturday's "stawm", all that will be moot for at least a few days.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: On the Isolation Express bushwhack, there's a nicely frozen-over crossing. Coming back down via Isolation trail, the corner with Rocky Branch trail has been cut at the second water crossing, entirely eliminating the two crossings at that corner. I didn't see any footprints suggesting a human had taken the long way -- although a snowshoe hare had left its prints heading up that way.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: At the moment, the trail is in superlative shape. Any blow-downs are generally well managed, if not buried outright. There are a couple step-overs, but nothing much to write home about.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Oh wow, the black flies were... non-existent. I'm not complaining.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: I thought I had a handle on this mountain, and then I figured out where the Isolation Express 'whack was. Mind: blown. It was a little boggling that anyone followed the "real" trail at all, but yep, someone had at one point. For anyone who wants to try before the snow, I took a few dozen steps, and the snow is light and fluffy on top, with a decently solid base just a few inches down. It's not terribly difficult travel, at least for the bit I tried.

The Engine Hill 'whack meanders a lot. Just for grins, I recorded part of my passage on my app. It wasn't my imagination. The trail climbs the hill in a couple places where it doesn't need to. It's far less straight than it could be. I'm hopeful that some folks will see the storm as a chance to hit the reset button and straighten things out. On the way down, I took "the long way" and it turned out to be the easy way, and possibly even a little quicker if not a break-even. Upshot? Cutting over Engine Hill is worth it to walk through those wonderful glades, but I don't think it saved any time or effort.

(In fairness, thanks to the people who laid down this year's 'whack. With no blazes for guidance, they laid down a useful trail. Not for nothing, those glades are magnificent.)

Big kudos to the two guys I met on my way down, and their way up. One was sighted, the other blind. The sighted guy was leading his pal up #40 on the blind guy's 48 list. Huzzah!

Photos and a write-up are on my blog as always.  
Name: Protean Wanderer 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2022-01-27 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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