Isolation via Engine Hill BW
Submitted By Michael Virdone
The Mountains & Stats
People On The Trip
We decided to start our W48 attempt with a bang. Reading views I saw that the engine hill bushwhack was broken out so we decided to go get one of the hard ones out of the way. We woke up at 4am and were on the road by 4:30. The morning hit us like a train, and the drive was somewhat nasty with ice and snow on the roads. Getting stuck behind plows was the norm. Eventually after a few stops for food and bathroom breaks we were at the trailhead. There were a few groups of NH hikers heading out, all sans snowshoes, but we figured if we were strong enough to attempt this hike, we were strong enough to carry snowshoes. We took the climb up to the height of land nice and slow and steady. Shortly after the "swamp" section after the wilderness boundary we found the bushwhack.|
A short ways into the whack, a large group ahead of us had turned back due to losing the trail and excessive postholing. We decided to push on, seeking an adventure for the day rather than the slog on the trails. We reached the end of the broken trail and we too lost the broken path, I floundered around in deep snow for a little while before we spotted the broken trail again. Every time you got off the broken path, you knew it pretty quick. We followed the path pretty faithfully, but sometimes we would lose it in some of the larger birch glades. At worst we lost the trail for maybe a few hundred yards.
Eventually the bushwhack turned downhill and re-joined the trail. We kept our eyes peeled for the second stage of the bushwhack but we never found it.
We continued up the drainage for a while, Nicole re-broke through a few new inches of powder. We gained elevation, and after a while we neared the ridge. We lost the trail for a little while, Nicole kept hiking while I fell into a few spruce traps.
At the junction we enjoyed some lunch and then continued down the ridge. There was a bit more snow to break through on the ridge, but nothing that dramatically slowed our pace. Shortly before the final climb to Isolation we got passed by our first hikers of the day. The last climb up the spur was tremendously steep and there was a very steep snow climb at the end which was really fun. We sat at the summit for a while and enjoyed the views. Big George was in and out of the clouds the whole time which made the views that much more interesting.
Finally we decided to descend. We managed to correct all the spots where we lost the broken trail (which impressed the groups that followed us). Overall the hike out was the same as the hike in.
It was a nice day, with good weather, and it was nice to get one of the tougher W48 out of the way early in our winter 48 (instead of leaving all the tough ones for the end like our 46)
The Good and The Bad
The drive was nasty
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