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Mt Shaw, the highest of the Ossippee range. I was just up in the White Mountains a few days ago. The colors up north were pretty blah, and the drive long so I thought I'd try a little south.  I like Mt Roberts, but wanted a change. Shaw, by way of some different trails, seemed a good choice.

Lower Bridle Path -> Faraway ->Upper Bridle Path -> Oak ridge Cutoff -> High Ridge -> Mt Shaw -> High Ridge -> Oak Ridge Cutoff -> Faraway -> Lower Bridle Path.

Direct link for pictures

So I looked on the map and decided the Bridle Path and Turtleback Trails would be a good loop. One-lane construction and one near-miss from an out of state driver later found me on the trail. The lower Bridle Path was promising, nicely marked, an outlook I decided to skip during ascent. An easy slope, good footing, wide trail, but no views to speak of. Well, low elevation so wasnt expecting much.

The upper Bridle path deteriorated, becoming narrow and needing brushing in several spots. It also clambers over some loose boulders that tip as you walk on them. Not much, but enough to be disquieting. Lots of tantalizing almost-views. But none of the real thing.

This tantalizing-views thing was a pretty constant property of all the trails I traveled today. Very annoying. I was feeling pretty peckish already, what with some personal issues and the disappointing (so far) fall foliage ... the colors were pretty disappointing here too, but at least some views along the trail would have made it seem a little more interesting. I think the High Ridge and Upper Bridle path trails could be improved (cough, chain saw) by some judicious (cough, chain saw) infrastructure enhancements (cough, cough, chain saw) , similar to the outlook seat over on the Faraway Trail. Did I mention that a little use of a chain saw could really enhance these trails? What's wrong with the occasional (say every half mile or so) outlook?

The Oak Ridge cutoff, a connector to the High Ridge trail, was full of loose boot-size rocks, with several inches of leaves. Perfect for a turned ankle, several of which I experienced but fortunately no sprains. Whew.

The High Ridge Trail is a pleasant enough carriage road. Eventually reached Mt Shaw, and enjoyed the view for a while. Pretty impressive, though limited to around 180 degrees ....

Too much pokiness led to a too-late start and I decided to skip the Turtleback trail in favor of a shorter descent close to what I came up. Tough decision. Turtleback might have some views. But I didnt want a headlamp finish.

Back out in fairly short order, after stopping at the Bridle Path outlook I had skipped. Decent view of the Belknaps and the Big Lake whose name I am too lazy to spell.

A quick stop to check out the "Feed the Giant Trout" dock on Shannon Pond. That was fun, though the trout food dispensers ate quarters and gave back no trout food. They must work sometime though, because motion on the dock attracted schools of trout, some of them quite large. Worth a stop to look at the fish :)

So ... kind of a frustrating day. Perfect weather, and pretty woods. Still, not much in the way of the kind of  views I seek. If I'd been after a walk in the woods with hardly any views I could have just saved the drive and walked in Bear Brook ... but at least the views I did get were decent. And Bear Brook doesnt have trout anything like those Shannon Pond monsters :)


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