On August 22, 2020, Adam and I stood on the rain-soaked summit of Mount Isolation in New Hampshire. Behind us, the Presidentials were veiled in cloud; everything was socked in and dripping wet.
You need an early start! We’d left Vermont around 5 am, traveled to the trailhead, and headed out on the final hike of our New Hampshire 48 4,000 foot mountains. I’ve never been one for peak-bagging; when Adam suggested we do it, I reluctantly agreed. I’ve always hiked because hiking is fun!
On the morning of our final hike, we knew there was a chance we might not get the best weather. We rolled the dice and began our hike in a swirling mass of clouds and sunshine. The Presidentials peeked in and out of the mist, rocky ridges and green valleys appearing and disappearing--sometimes bathed in golden light, other times dark and foreboding.
Let me make one thing clear: I hike for the view, and I’m not ashamed to say it! As we approached the Davis Path on on the side of Mount Washington, the clouds swallowed everything, including the two of us! Rain began to fall, and the wind picked up. We quickly pulled on our rain gear.
We saw some incredibly beautiful things on this hike. As soon as the rain stopped, the fog became infused with golden light, the wind stilled, and we stood in awe! The rest of the hike to the summit of Isolation was cloudy and rainy.
After a soggy, celebratory lunch, we headed back the way we came. And to our delight, the clouds lifted! We hiked up to the Boot Spur in radiant sunshine with all of the Presidentials in full view.
Dramatic scenery made for an epic day, even if it wasn’t what we expected. The wind was howling, and as we stood on the Boot Spur looking down into Tuckerman’s Ravine, a massive bank of dark clouds rolled over the summit of Washington toward us. We gathered our packs and followed headed back to the car.
On the way toward the famous Glen Boulder (of Glen Boulder Trail), we were bathed in sun and surrounded by clouds. It was one of the most beautiful hiking experiences I’ve ever had.
Adam noted that the final hike had a little bit of everything and encompassed the whole of the journey in one 12 mile outing. He was right!
There’s no place quite like the Presidential Range. The size and scope of the Presidential Range is impressive for New England, and the more time I spend in those mountains, the more I appreciate the rugged beauty they offer.
I had chosen Isolation as our final hike because I wanted to finish the NH48 with all those beautiful mountains in my view. It didn’t go as I had planned, but it was far better than I imagined!
The patches arrive! In February of 2021, Adam and I got our NH48 patches, and while I still don’t hike to bag a list, I will tell you that I’m so glad we did it. I saw so many things I’d never have seen if I hadn’t agreed to do something a little trendy!