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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Shaw, Black Snout, Big Ball Mountain, NH
Trails
Trails: Mt. Shaw Trail, Black Snout Trail, High Ridge Trail, Black Snout Summit Trail, Banana Trail, Italian Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Third car in the lot for Mt. Shaw Trail off NH 171 in Tuftonboro early this morning, packed when I returned, with "creative" parking in the lot and cars lined up along 171 and Sodom Rd. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Both crossings of Fields Brook on Mt. Shaw Trail were easy hops. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The official trails are fine. The unofficial ones had scattered blowdowns, all of them easy stepovers. Don't count on relying on blazes for the unofficial trails, most are faded and infrequent. Banana Trail is obscure in places between Black Snout and Big Ball. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Sure. 
Bugs
Bugs: Nope. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: I removed a plastic flower from the summit of Black Snout. 
 
Comments
Comments: I hadn't done this loop in six years and either I'm getting older or this is steeper and rougher than I remember. :)

Mt. Shaw Trail is a continuous 2.5 mi. climb with the last half mile or so being very steep and rugged. There were some slippery areas of mud to watch out for.

The carriage road trails were fine with some semi-frozen mud that was soft underfoot.

Banana Trail was mostly ok, with some obscure sections down in the saddle. One particular turn was a head scratcher for a few moments. It was however well marked with small cairns across the ledges on Big Ball.

No problem following Italian Trail down, blazing is still mostly good and the corridor is obvious.

An early start meant I saw no one on the ascent to Shaw, but it's clear that the off-the-radar trails in this area are no longer a secret. Banana and Italian were the busiest I've ever seen them. Very chilly with a stiff wind and overcast skies on Shaw, but the full sun came out by the time I reached Big Ball, affording excellent views.  
Name
Name: KenM 
E-Mail
E-Mail: kmacgray@gmail.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-11-21 
Link
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

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