"Isolation Nation"

Date of Hike: 1/29/12

Rocky Branch / Engine Hill Bushwhack / Isolation / Davis Path
12.8 miles (3,550 elevation gain)
Click here for trail descriptions

Trip Report:
- After beating myself on a solo hike of Zealand on Saturday it was time to join in with a big group (12 hikers and 3 dogs) and head over to Mount Isolation.
- Mount Isolation in the winter is shorter than in the summer, as the preferred route is a bushwhack through the Birch glades of Engine Hill.  When broken out correctly the hike through the glades is one of the prettiest paths below treeline in the White Mountains.
- Today the snow conditions were a mixed bag, the hike up the Rocky Branch Trail was packed out and we all barebooted, once on the Engine Hill Bushwhack it was time for snowshoes, unfortunately a few us decided to not bring them so they were post-holing a lot.  Randy didn't bring his and was post-holing more than anyone because he's taller and weighs more.  He made it through but I can imagine what it must be like to be blind and post hole, but he's a strong hiker and made it through and was still his happy through it all.
- The bushwhack dumped us off onto the Isolation Trail a little earlier than we wanted but it was pretty much smooth sailing from here on out and we bypassed a few of the crossings only dealing with the final one.  Sometimes there is a bushwhack off the Isolation Trail through a drainage that intersects the Davis Path saving a few hundred feet of elevation gain on both ends of the hike but today it wasn't broken all the way up so we stayed on the Isolation Trail through to the Davis Path.
- The weather was warm again, around freezing with light winds, views from the summit were ok but Mount Washington was in the clouds.  We stayer don the summit about ten minutes before heading down.
- Alton and I went ahead but went a little to fast between where the drainage bushwhack would be and one of the crossings so when everyone caught up we just hiked with the group again.
- The hike back through the Engine Hill Bushwhack was much easier on the way out, no more post-holing after all the use that the path got throughout the day.  However we did lose one of the dogs (Delilah a Black Lab).  She was having so much fun running to the front and back of the line that one time she ran to back but just kept on wagging her tail all the way back to the Isolation Trail!  Luckily we were only a few tenths of a mile up the bushwhack and Bob went back and found her.
- The sun started to set as we were going through the bushwhack and it was pitch black for a majority of the hike down the Rocky Branch Trail back to the car.
- It was a fun day on Mount Isolation, which is always adventerous and unlike most of the other below treeline hikes in the White Mountains Mount Isolation much like Owl's Head always presents a different experience like hikes above treeline.

Pictures: Click here for all Pictures

 Hiking through the Birch Glades of the Engine Hill Bushwhack
 Crossing a Snow Bridge over the Rocky Branch
 Justin and Alton on Approaching Mount Isolation's Summit
 Heading back through the Birch Glades
Engine Hill Bushwhack


  1. Looks like your group had a great day on Iso! Congrats to all!

  2. Chris, I'm glad you and your group broke out the trail some more this past Sunday after my brother Chris, Bill and gang were out the Sunday prior. I'm heading up with Bruce on Thursday so I can get #25 Winter Peaks done and out of the way.

    We've definitely got to catch up on a hike in the near future.