The Dry River Wilderness - Isolation - trip report
The goal was 3 days hiking in the wilderness culminating with Rockgoddess finishing #48 on Isolation on her 48th birthday. This turned out to be an interesting weekend in the Dry River Wilderness with RockGoddess, Claudia, Maddy, Matisse, Stanley, and Ghostdog. A 10:30 meet time at Davis Path, Friday morning had come and gone. At 12:30, I ate a great Subway sub originally packed for the trip. Shortly after a vehicle arrives with ladies waving. Who is this? Why it is Rockgoddess et al! The auto dealership delayed an early appointment and even a simple inspection. Rockgoddess forgot her tent and had to return home for it. Just a common snafu on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon.
We hugged, a fine way to meet each other, then discussed the most important point, the weather forecast. I checked the WCAX forecast out of Burlington Vermont, the Mount Washington Observatory higher elevation weather forecast, and 3 of the other internet sites which all concluded Sunday's forecast to be: "Summits mainly in the clouds with showers and t-storms likely. Highs: 40's. Temps falling into the 30s°F. Wind: Increasing to 50 to 70 from the NW with higher gusts. Tonight: Summits mainly in the clouds, some clearing towards morning. Lows: Around 30°F. Wind: NW 50 to 70 mph, decreasing late."
T-storms predicted on an open ledge summit and 3+ miles on the open Montalban Ridge did not appeal to us, so we decided to change our plans to fit the weather. At 2:05 we hit the Dry River Trail. I started tracking our journey that my hiking and mapping job dictates utilizing the new Motorola i860. A few simple button strokes and we start to leave 'bread crumbs.' Our shortened two day adventure begins. We reached the 'boarded closed' suspension bridge and decided to rock hop across.
After I crossed, I removed my backpack and re-crossed to help Claudia, who had difficulty. I donned her pack, and started re-crossing, slipped on a wet rock, and ever so slowly fell into the river. The current is very strong and the water is very cold. I almost broke my wrist and may have fractured it. We continued on until about an hour before sunset and found the perfect level spot to camp for the night down by the river. Saturday, we agreed the journey was so much more important than the destination. RockGoddess & I hiked to visit the Dry River Falls and Shelter #3. We returned, broke camp, and headed out. With the mountains socked in, we decided to not summit Isolation. It will be there patiently waiting. And so will the spectacular views seen on Montalban Ridge!
Get 'em next time
Too bad about not reaching Isolation. The 1st time my wife and I did it was August 14th 2000 and it poured for 7 miles as we hiked out the Rocky Branch Trail. Despite having raincoats our pants, boots and socks were soaked. My wife was slipping into the first stages of hypothermia. When we got back to the car I could not convince her to get out of the wet clothes into dry ones. She was too cold to reason that getting into dry clothes would warm her up. With the heater blasting in the car I raced back to MooseBrook State Park where our pop-up camper was parked. Once inside the camper I had to wrestle the sleeping bag away as she was trying to crawl in it still wet. Finally after explaining what was happening to her I got her into some dry clothes and then into the sleeping bag with a hot drink. Only dumb luck saved us from a disaster out there. So we have learned. I think the choices you made were good, sound judgement, especially considering your injury. Better luck on your return trip.
We shall return!
Thank you KD. Yes that hypothermia really messes up one's judgement. It's tough to communicate, to get through to a person. Thankfully I and we were not hypothermic. We wanted the best views from Montalban Ridge instead of those we have seen before on Glen Boulder. Our return should be succesful as rockgoddess has a whole year remaining to summit #48 on her 48th birthday.
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