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Thread: Shaw-Flagg Loop - Banana Meets Gorilla (5/10/08)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Shaw-Flagg Loop - Banana Meets Gorilla (5/10/08)

    I met rocket21 at the main office parking lot for Camp Merrowvista, at the end of Canaan Road in Tuftonboro, NH, near the trailhead for the Gorilla (a/k/a Mt. Flagg) Trail. We picked a good day to park there, as the Camp was holding an open house.

    We drove rocket's truck to parking for the Banana (a/k/a Big Ball) Trail - just 0.7 mile away - a sort of logging clearing on the left side of McDuffie Road, with room for at least six vehicles. One hundred or two yards north, we came to the first house, on the right, where we had an amiable chat with the proprietor, who sported a sharp turquoise string-tie. Right opposite, an old road begins the Banana Trail.

    Neither Banana nor Gorilla appears on the standard hiking map for the Ossipees, published by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, since they are mostly east and south of the Trust's property. I learned of them from signs, on a hike to Shaw in 2006, and got more details after that from carole, who maintains trails in the Ossipees and knows them better than anyone else I know. carole recently obtained from Trail Bandit, who seems to have reblazed these trails after decades of neglect, his own map of the Ossipees, which displays them and much else, and her kind loan of same to me prompted this hike.

    The Banana Trail, to start, is an old road, used by snowmobilers now, that crosses Canaan Brook, follows its left bank north to a culvert, then veers west, as a real trail, up to a junction with the Tate Mt. Trail on ledges just north of Little Ball Mt. Blue blazes mark the Trail clearly throughout its length, and someone maintains it well - no blowdowns.

    From there, it follows open ledges up and over Big Ball (a/k/a Tate) Mt. up to Black Snout (so-called - the lower, south peak of Mt. Shaw - not the "real" Black Snout to the NW). This Trail over open ledges, with views south and west over Winnepausaukee, equals any I know in New Hampshire for scenery.

    From Black Snout's top, rocket led us on a herd path N that cut out c. .3 mile of carriage road, depositing us not far south of Mt. Shaw - New Hampshire's tallest 2K. From there, the yellow-blazed Gorilla Trail took us two mellow miles east to Mt. Flagg. This winds gently over two knobs, with fine views through little birches that are growing back after a big fire quite a while ago, I've heard.

    Mt. Flagg's summit offers wonderful views north, with Washington lined up directly over the horn of Chocorua. From the ledges to the south, views E, S, and W include a unique (since this is the eastern prominence of the Ossipee range) panorama east, over Ossipee Lake, of Green Mt. and the High Hills of Hiram and Parsonsfield in York Co., Maine.

    The blackflies came out only over the last mile or so, above the Camp, perhaps because the sun was warming things up. Either they weren't biting or my DEET worked.

    A senior poster here once quoted Gene Daniell's opinion that Mt. Shaw is the most underhiked mountain in NH. I think that may be so.

    Some photos are here.
    Last edited by Amicus; 05-11-2008 at 01:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kevin, Judy and Emma's Avatar
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    Mt. Shaw

    We also hiked Shaw yesterday, but took the Mt. Shaw trail first to
    Black Snout and then to Shaw. We started down the Gorilla trail, but
    never having been on it before, we decided not to go too far on it and
    turned around. Saw TONS of moose droppings, especially on Black Snout!
    I'm sure Kevin will post pictures of the hike later.
    "Use what talents you possess- the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best."

    Henry Jackson Van Dyke

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kevin, Judy and Emma's Avatar
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    Trash

    I would like to be notified if anyone organizes a clean up of Mount Shaw, I will gladly join. I was absolutely disgusted at the amount of trash on the summit. I carried what I could back down, but I didn't make a dent in it. I won't mention what group is responsible for this. Suffice it to say that foot travel is not the only way to the summit in winter.

    Otherwise, I was quite pleased with the hike and was amazed at the "Grand View of New Hampshire's White Mountains" as advertised on the trail signs. Views from Moosilaukee to Carter Notch to Kearsarge North and Green Mountain, well worth the effort. A+ for views. Black Snout ain't to shabby, either!

    KDT
    "Use what talents you possess- the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best."

    Henry Jackson Van Dyke

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin, Judy and Emma
    I would like to be notified if anyone organizes a clean up of Mount Shaw, I will gladly join. I was absolutely disgusted at the amount of trash on the summit. I carried what I could back down, but I didn't make a dent in it. I won't mention what group is responsible for this. Suffice it to say that foot travel is not the only way to the summit in winter.
    I can put you in touch with the property adopter for the LRCT which has the summit on its property if you are interested. Trail adopters are always welcome as are helpers. I am saddened to hear that it is trashed and appreciate your doing what you could.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin, Judy and Emma
    I was absolutely disgusted at the amount of trash on the summit.
    We saw no trash on the Banana or Gorilla Trails, including the first mile of the former, which can be used by vehicles. For that matter, we saw no trash on Shaw, so it must have been away from our approach.

    Had you continued down the Big Ball (Banana) Trail from Black Snout, at the point below the summit of Big Ball (Tate) where the blue-blazed Banana veers east, the green-and-red blazed Tate Mt. Trail (also omitted from the LRCT map) veers west, and joins the Mt. Shaw Tr. just .25 mile from the parking area. That makes for a great loop if a car spot isn't convenient.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kevin, Judy and Emma's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Great tip on the trails, thanks Amicus. We travelled a short way down the Gorilla Trail, as Judy stated in the earlier post. Near the summit the woods were littered with beer cans and toilet paper. It obviously is used as "the bathroom". In the open field near the fire pit at the summit were more beer cans and hundreds of cigarette butts, along with all sorts of other bits of trash.

    I wonder if the trees cut down for the view on the north side were cut with permission?

    Carole, please put us in contact, we would love to help out, thanks!

    KDT
    "Use what talents you possess- the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best."

    Henry Jackson Van Dyke

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin, Judy and Emma
    Carole, please put us in contact, we would love to help out, thanks!

    KDT
    I'm sending a PM with some info.

  8. #8
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    Just to keep Amicus honest, here's my expository/trip report:

    http://www.franklinsites.com/hikepho...-2008-0510.php

    What a great day for a hike! Good seeing you again, Amicus. Sorry we didn't run into you guys, Kevin, Judy, and Emma!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kevin, Judy and Emma's Avatar
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    Late

    We took a late morning climb, reaching the summit around 1PM. I'm sure you guys were much earlier. Too bad you missed out on the black flies! Actually, they weren't terrible, just annoying. Beautiful place!

    KDT
    "Use what talents you possess- the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best."

    Henry Jackson Van Dyke

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