Wednesday, February 13, 2013

W48-in-1: Mt. Isolation - 2/3/2013

Mt. Isolation is always interesting. I've been here in the rain in June, and twice in late fall months when it was a tough challenge. This day was going to be a beautiful winter day with sunny blue skies and it was perfect for a 14 mile solo hike to reach Isolation for my 30th winter peak this season.

I actually took a nap for about an hour after driving to the trail head. I waited for the sun to come up, and after that I was on my way at 8am. I used my microspikes all of the way until in between one of the crossings of the Rocky Branch. I am not very familiar with the bushwhacks on Isolation yet, so my plan was to stick to what I knew. I didn't take the popular Engine Hill Bushwhack (although I should have), but I followed the tracks on the main trail, which shortly later seemed to take me slightly off trail on a bushwhack towards the first crossing. I crossed at a point I didn't recognize, but I followed the tracks, and I came onto a trail, which was the Isolation Trail, and I took a right.
Rocky Branch Trail in winter 
Mt. Isolation from Rocky Branch Trail on the approach 
The frozen Rocky Branch
On the Isolation Trail, I continued to follow foot prints. They led onto another bushwhack, which I took. This was a longer one with a lot of twists and turns, but it brought me right out onto the Davis Path, where I took a left. As I was now headed straight towards Isolation, excitement grew. It grew even further when I could see Mt. Jackson, the Presidentials, and then Mt. Washington's summit behind me beneath bright blue skies.

Not long after, I arrived at the signs where the spur path leads up to the summit. After the view I just had from the trail, I knew this was going to be an awesome as I made my way onto the summit of Mt. Isolation, and it was. Here were the views....the best I've had on Isolation - perfect for my first time in winter.
Isolation summit spur path   

Summit of Mt. Isolation in Winter
On the way back, I simply followed the exact path I took in, which I was most comfortable with. On the Davis Path, I ran into a group who started after me, and one of its members recognized me from Twitter. I had a nice quick chat with them, and I was on my way all the way out. It was such a great day to be out. After a 30+ mile weekend, I was riding home happy after such a great hike.

Hike Stats
Trails: Rocky Branch Trail, Isolation Trail Davis, various bushwhack(s)
Distance: 14.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft.
Actual Book Time: 6:20

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