The Rocky Branch trail up to 1600' is fairly smooth under foot. Enjoy it, it's the only smooth trail you'll get the rest of the day.

The Rocky Branch trail up to the initial height of land at 2800' where it makes the sharp left turn is fairly dry with the exception of a couple of short stretches where the water flows down the trail. Enjoy it, it's the only dry trail you'll get all day. From the 2800' mark to the river the Rocky Branch trail is pretty much like walking in the middle of a stream. The Isolation trail is similar.

The Engine Hill whack went well except that the first Birch glade is a vast marsh. It's easy to sink to your ankles or deeper in the mud if you're not careful. After that the succeeding glades were much dryer.

On the way back we stayed on the trails. The crossings were all fairly easy. The lowest (and first crossing on the way up) was the only one that didn't offer multiple options for crossing. The one spot we found worked well.

Note that our time for going up via the whack was very similar to our time coming back via the trails indicating that the whack, even in the summer, does save quite a bit of time--at least if you do it right.

The weather gave us a bit of everything today: sun, clouds, snow (a tiny bit) and rain a couple of times.

I guess it was crowded on Isolation yesterday. Today we had the place to ourselves. In fact we saw only two people on the Rocky Branch trail on our way back otherwise we had the whole wilderness area to ourselves.

The views from the summit of Isolation are unique to the White Mountains. You are above the tree line. It's the only peak in the 4000' range that I know of that has an Alpine Zone sign. The views are magnificent, but quite different. Rather than looking down as from most peaks you find yourself looking up. It's like viewing the world from the bottom of a saucer.

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