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The last peak in the Belknaps that I had not summitted. Been curious about it for a while, but never got to it. Only moderately interested, but Sunday seemed a good opportunity.

Gallery / slide show

Not a super peak for views, but there were some ... and a consolation prize on the way home :)

 

Swett Mountain is the southern terminus of the Piper mountain ridge. The only maintained trail to it is along Piper Mountain. However, time and injury made that unattractive. The access from either the Carriage rd or Belknap Mountain road would have entailed a longer round trip that I wanted. That approach would also have made it a nuisance to seek an outlook on the southeast side of Swett.

The Roberts map shows a 'rough' trail that leaves from a logging road out of Camp Bell; that looks about 3.5 miles round trip. I've traveled one or two of these rough-listed trails, so ... that was the plan.

Met the Camp Bell ranger and got a little trail info from him. Parked and set out. The first part of the trail is a logging road, nice easy walk for about .7 miles, then into the woods proper. No indication of the trail, no cairns or flags or blazes, but I did see a (barely) visible treadway. It faded out before long, but the terrain made it pretty simple to brushwhack ... no real way to miss the mountain - just keep heaing up and West.

I kept hitting little segments of treadway, I dont know whether there are multiple old paths or just one that I kept intersecting, but I spent about an hour alternating between being on some sort of path for 100 m or so, and brushwhacking. Fairly rough in a few spots, with a leaf-buried rock fall, but not really bad , and pretty short. One interesting rock formation below a ledge, I name it the 'Hermit's Hut' ... it looks vaguely like a stack of big rocks, about the right size for a cabin. But it's not an artifact, just a pile of ledgy rocks.

Eventually circled around a ledge outcropping and found my way up the SE face of the mountain. A series of promising ledge openings took me to a shoulder below the summit proper. Unfortunately the promise didnt pan out; even on the summit the views are pretty restricted by trees. Probably some good views in the winter, or at least better ... but pretty disappointing. The deerflies seemed to like it OK, though :(

Heading back out I cut above the SE ledges; this turned out to be the correct thing to do as there is a very nice outlook with good views to Mt Mack and to the scout camps. The outlook is hidden from the camp below; if you know just where to look you can see it, but it is overgrown with low bushes and hard to spot from the ground.

Continuing past this outlook I found another trail; this was helpful on descent, with a clear treadway. Which I lost after getting off the steep part. But , again not a hard brushwhack, with the logging rd to the E it was simple to just head that way until I reached the road, only about 200 yards from my departure point. So ... that was Swett Mountain. Not very exciting, but better than hanging around the house.

On the way home, though, I saw a woman taking pictures over a pond. My first thought was 'she's spotted a moose' but then I saw the nests in the snags ... So I pulled over and tried to be quiet so as to not spoil her shoot; turned out to not be a problem, she was happy to share and the birds seem pretty used to being watched. They're pretty far out in the pond, anyway. Never seen an osprey before ! Very cool watching them fly off and return. Very satisfactory bump up to the afternoon ! :)

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