Isolated finish

Hikes, NH48, TripReport , , ,

Had the pleasure to join Kevin up Mt Isolation on his last summit completing the NH 48 4000 footers. It was a nice hike at a decent pace to beat the threatening Tstorms.

With the possibility of clouds rolling in we decided to take Rocky Branch Trail from Route 16.  This seems the most direct route up Isolation.  There are several other ways, Davis Path from Kancamaugus or Glen Boulder Trail from PNVC to name a couple.  Since water levels have been low this summer, the trail and crossings shouldn’t be an issue.

Kevin led off with a strong steady pace for the first couple miles.  This was a bit of a rooty ascent to start.  Once we gained some initial elevation the trail became quite rocky and often followed a stream.  The trail was in great shape and whoever maintains this has done a wonderful job.  You could see where this trail could become a mess quite quickly if left unattended.

After a bit of following the rocks over the water for nearly 4 miles we reached the junction of Rocky Branch and Isolation Trail.  Also at this junction is access to the Rocky Branch Shelter location.  I don’t believe the shelter remains, but there is ample space to tent camp.  We ventured toward the first of many river crossings on Isolation Trail.  As mentioned earlier, the water levels were low and all of the many crossings were manageable with some strategic rock hopping.  It helps that I’ve been carrying hiking poles when I know there will be potential major crossings.  They seem to help with balance and I’m willing to sacrifice the extra pound to stay a bit dry.

After several crossings, I believe it was 4 or 5 different times, the Isolation Trail branches away from the river, but still a lush damp trail.  We started to slowly gain elevation and deeper into the wilderness, we reached a stretch of severe blow downs.  They seemed aged, perhaps during a former hurricane, but the trail was decently maintained and easily navigated.

The home stretch, we reached the junction of Isolation Trail with the Davis Path which will lead us to the summit spur.  We seemed to get a bit more excited and cruised this final mile of the ascent.  I raced ahead to try to capture Kevin popping out on the summit to celebrate.

The descent was uneventful and paled to the tremendous accomplishment for Kevin.  It was awesome to witness and celebrate as someone completed the 48 big peaks in New Hampshire.
Congratulations Kevin!

Rocky Branch is named after the river, and the trail terrain reflects this
Rocky Branch is named after the river, and the trail terrain reflects this
After the initial couple miles it levels off and the trail gets moist
After the initial couple miles it levels off and the trail gets moist
Lush greens line much of the trail
Lush greens line much of the trail
Entering the Wilderness area, not sure what we were in before that, but sure seemed remote
Entering the Wilderness area, not sure what we were in before that, but sure seemed remote
This shot says much about this trail. Quite a bit of water as the trail and the brook overlapped
This shot says much about this trail. Quite a bit of water as the trail and the brook overlapped
Several river crossings, but all were manageable with the low water
Several river crossings, but all were manageable with the low water
A nice look down river
A nice look down river
Turn about and it's nice up river as well
Turn about and it’s nice up river as well
Signs, always more signs.. These were fairly new
Signs, always more signs.. These were fairly new
This was a well placed dam
This was a well placed dam
Kevin making his way across another river crossing
Kevin making his way across another river crossing
Looks festive
Looks festive
I stuck my camera out over the river and clicked. Came out pretty cool
I stuck my camera out over the river and clicked. Came out pretty cool
Kevin negotiating another crossing
Kevin negotiating another crossing
River meandering around some larger boulders
River meandering around some larger boulders
Finally moving away from the river, but still damp trail and lush forest
Finally moving away from the river, but still damp trail and lush forest
Not sure what plant this is, but it did startle me. At first envisioned a porcupine but it was sitting atop a stump
Not sure what plant this is, but it did startle me. At first envisioned a porcupine but it was sitting atop a stump
Impressive section of blow downs. Some crazy weather up in these parts
Impressive section of blow downs. Some crazy weather up in these parts
Cruising along, about a mile to the summit
Cruising along, about a mile to the summit
Starting to reach the shorter trees as we ascend a bit more
Starting to reach the shorter trees as we ascend a bit more
Continuing to press on and upward
Continuing to press on and upward
Just about there
Just about there
Oh that way, up the short spur trail to the summit
Oh that way, up the short spur trail to the summit
I raced ahead to capture the elation as Kevin began his victory lap on the summit
I raced ahead to capture the elation as Kevin began his victory lap on the summit
Some nice views up here
Some nice views up here
Kevin holding the Olympic torch in victory. Never mind its just a cell phone selfie
Kevin holding the Olympic torch in victory. Never mind its just a cell phone selfie
Mission complete! 48 summits and hundreds of miles of hiking. Great work, lots of fun!
Mission complete! 48 summits and hundreds of miles of hiking. Great work, lots of fun!
Shameless summit selfie
Shameless summit selfie
On the march back down toward the car.
On the march back down toward the car.
Noticed some neat mushrooms on the way out.
Noticed some neat mushrooms on the way out.
I'm likin' this lichen
I’m likin’ this lichen
I can tell this is a mushroom by the way that it is
I can tell this is a mushroom by the way that it is
Marching through the mud
Marching through the mud
Did I mention this trail was wet?
Did I mention this trail was wet?
Cute clovery things growing over some mossy things
Cute clovery things growing over some mossy things
Near perfectly shaped mushroom
Near perfectly shaped mushroom
Making good time on the descent
Making good time on the descent
Rust and freckled, many mushroom varieties
Rust and freckled, many mushroom varieties
One more shot of the brook, No wait, I mean trail
One more shot of the brook, No wait, I mean trail
Kevin blazing the way out
Kevin blazing the way out
One last sign as we exit at a the Rocky Branch Trail head. Wonderful list of lectures and warnings
One last sign as we exit at a the Rocky Branch Trail head. Wonderful list of lectures and warnings

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