Mount Isolation is no joke especially if you get there via Glen Boulder Trail and Davis Path.
My hiking legs have been in hibernation since completing my goal: 48 in my 49th Year. This hike was a challenge.
While I’ve been swimming, biking and running – this doesn’t seem to translate well to hiking in the White Mountains. I guess the best training is hiking the White Mountains to be ready to hike the White Mountains. Ross and Vicky just seemed to float up and over to Isolation while I seemed to suffer to go up and up.
The initial goal was an epic trip. We settled for 12 miles to Isolation and back.
Less than one mile in, while Vicky and Ross attended to a water bottle malfunction I continued on. I kept looking back and at one point stopped to wait for about 4-5 minutes. When I didn’t see them I knew something was wrong. I turned around to hike back to see what was holding them up and realized my mistake: I went down a ski trail instead of staying on Glen Boulder.
The next 2 hours was trying to catch up to them. I asked people if they saw them and they did. I knew they were ahead of me but I couldn’t catch up. Plus, it was a tough trail. Once I got above treeline I thought I saw them and I thought they looked back to see me, but they didn’t wait for me.
I began to get annoyed but at least I knew they were ahead. I hike with them because I don’t like hiking alone sometimes, plus “the Vicky and Ross show” is pretty hilarious.
I caught up with them on the summit of Isolation and it turns out they thought I was ahead of them the entire time, seeing a woman with a white hat. The white hat woman, in turn, kept looking back at them from high points and Vicky was hoping she (thinking she was me) would wait for them. When the woman didn’t, they got pissed.
All in all, I knew they were heading for Isolation but it wasn’t a fun few hours. They were hiking faster to catch up while I was hiking fast to catch up. We were all pretty mad about it. Then laughed about it on the way down.
However, despite opting not to do the epic hike, or going on to Davis (52 With a View) we had a large visitor on the way across Isolation trail – a young moose just hanging out on the trail. We were warned by Mirra who was hiking ahead of us about the moose in the trail. I bolted into the thick brush to hide. Ross and Vicky hid on the trail but made eye contact and took pictures and video. I was scared to death but he was so cool to see.
He slowly made his way down the trail chomping on trees. Flies surrounded his butt and Vicky saw ticks all over his butt. I saw him a bit through the trees enough to know a big, brown moose was 6 feet away. The brush was so thick on this section we couldn’t hike around him. We just had to wait for him to move along.
Mirra then decided to join us the rest of the way down, and we laughed and chatted back to the car. The views of the Presidentials were so much better on the way down; the skies cleared and we hiked together.
I hiked in my new Timp Altras and they were a bad choice. Despite only wearing them a few times, they aren’t as grippy as the Lone Peaks. Vicky only wears Lone Peaks and I like trying different Altra models. I’m now convinced that the Lone Peaks are the choice for hiking on rocks in the Presidentials. This trail had wet rocks at all different angles and I slipped a bunch. The rocks were dry on the exposed trails but in the trees it was very damp. Lone Peaks are the way to go!
Glen Boulder is pretty cool to see every single time; the rock is just hanging there. Rhe views looking south to the peaks in the distance is just stunning, especially in the late afternoon light.
We completed just over 5,000 feet of climbing for 12 miles. It’s one of the tougher routes to Isolation but the alternative is Rocky Branch, which I hiked the last two times. Being above treeline and seeing Mount Washington is one of the pleasures of this trail.
Our original plan was to hike Dry River Trail to Lakes of the Clouds, over Monroe and Eisenhower and down to the car spot. We started a bit late and hiked a bit slower so the plan was curtailed. I’d like to try it another day.
We ran into a woman who was doing a supported Direttissima – she was on peak 5 at Isolation. She was high energy and loving life. Now that’s how you run/hike in the White Mountains for 4 days. I wish I got her name. I would’ve liked to know that she finished.
While I didn’t get to bag three peaks for the July grid I’m happy to finish and take in the views.