FR 155 and Mt Oscar (attempt)

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Our original plan was to drive to Pittsburgh, NH, about two and a half hours away to hike Mt. Magalloway.  However we caved to peer pressure of 1Happy Hiker and fellow hiker, Lisa to hike FR 155 off of Zealand Road.  This past week or so both of them hiked in the area and their photos were beautiful.  Also this hike had the added benefit of being closer to the cottage so we could get back earlier to enjoy the afternoon on the lake.

We arrived a little before 9 a.m., parking at the Sugarloaf lot, cars were starting to pile in.  We quickly gathered our gear and trotted off.  Our plan was to hike FR 155 and see if we could do the scramble up to Mt. Oscar.  Our first stop was Wildlife Pond.  For all the times we have visited this area we never knew this little beautiful oasis existed.

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We spent time trying to take that perfect selfie.  Thought we had it, until I looked at the photos and realized I had leaves growing out of my head.  Still might make a Christmas card photo montage though.

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Trotting along FR 155, we enjoyed the ease of it and the little peaks at the Sugarloafs.

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We spotted the cairn that pointed the way rock climbers take to get to Mt. Oscar.  The first part of the trail was easy.

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Then we faced the base of the cliffs. Not sure which way to go, Mike first went left to scout out the area.

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However it didn’t look like that was the way to go, so we went right, where the path appeared to go.  Along the way we did find ribbons, so we assumed we were on the right path.  The trail wasn’t easy, rock scrambles, shorter legs meant a few crawls.  I used tree roots to hoist myself up in spots, until I pulled two rotted roots right out of the ground and I even pulled a sapling out of the ground, hmmmm that wasn’t good.

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We weaved through the forest with the cliff to our left, going up and down.  Crawling up to one ledge area, Mike yelled down for me to stop and just enjoy the views from there.  I knew if he said that the going was getting rough. I sat and waited. The view wasn’t bad.

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Mike went up further, but he turned around at a point because he felt he didn’t have the technical skills required to stay safe. He ended up crab walking down a portion of the trail. He also mentioned to me he was swinging from tree to tree just to get safely down.  We both chuckled as that is most often my mode of hiking down, swing from tree to tree.  We decided this hike required monkey skills.  This is one photo he snapped from where he stopped.

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I needed my monkey skills to get down some sections.

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On our way down, we had a strange encounter with three climbers.  The three weren’t friendly and a bit abrupt with us.  The female of the group, insisted on knowing how we heard about this place.  We replied through friends and hike, climbing reports.  One male asked if we came up the ski lift and were hiking down. The female also wanted to know where we were staying, if at the hotel.  She then asked me to name a climber I knew that might possibly know about this place (I gave the name of my bad ass climbing friend, Lovena, though I said she prefers ice climbing, take that lady).  We tried to be evasive and short with our answers, looking to escape their disdain with us mere hikers.

Once down we returned to the Wildlife Pond for another round of photos. We had a kind visitor at the pond, a Canvasback duck.

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It was a great jaunt, good little bit of elevation gain, decent workout for the arms and legs, beautiful scenery and close enough to the cottage to return early and enjoy this:

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The Details: Park at Sugarloaf off of Zealand, head to the Forest Road 155 and just walk. We did 4.2 miles, elevation gain of about 1000 feet.