Piper is a sweet little mountain, I really like it a lot. Been there several times, and had a couple things in mind to do.
One was the Valley View trail, basically a loop off the main trail over Piper. The other was Swett Mountain. Or so I thought ....
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Warning! This trail is considerably more difficult and potentially dangerous than most trails in the Belknaps.
This is an advanced trail. Avoid it if you are not comfortable with heights, or conditions are wet ( or snowy or icy!) . I would recommend NOT using this trail for descent. The Red Trail from Anna is not far away and is considerably easier in my opinion. The footing is generally good (with the exception of the rockfall part of the trail), but there are several spots where a little lapse could result in a very bad - even fatal - fall. This is not a trail for sneakers!
Much to my amazement, I was actually on the road by 6.30 this morning, headed for the Precipice Path.
This was a trip up the Western leg of the Precipice Path 'horsehoe', over to Anna and down the Red Trail.
Despite it being the tail end of Bike Week, traffic was not too bad. Until just before reaching trail head, where I encountered a tow truck and police officer and a slight mystery. Seems someone left a perfectly good motorcycle in the middle of the road. Careless and carefree, that's the bikin' life I guess ..
Anyway after a few minutes ( and after the officer checked me out ... probably wanted to be sure I wasnt coming back for my bike or a buddy or ... I dunno .. something ) I was able to go on to the trailhead.
A short out-and-back. Trail condition is excellent.
It's a pretty easy trail, with only a couple steep spots and one slight scramble with plenty of hand/foot holds.
Descent can be a little tricky due to small pebble/gravel in a couple spots, but nothing really treacherous.
View:effort ratio is outstanding. The S & E views are great; but I prefer the views of the Rocky Branch valley, from the northern side
(continue past the summit).
The trail leads to ledges with sharp long dropoffs.
It is not necessary to go near cliff edges, but they are potentially hazardous.
Despite getting up at 4:30 AM I didnt make trailhead until about 9.30. Sometimes, seems the earlier I get up the later I get to the trailhead. Sort of bad Zen...
Fortunately, though, this is not a high traffic destination and it didnt really matter - unlike (I heard) the Falling Waters loop...
I knew the Presi's and Franconia Ridge would be mobbed, so I went for a lesser known hike.
No regrets! I had one f-i-n-e day!
The plan was to loop from the end of Mt Alton Road to Straightback , the Precipice Trail down, then up to Anna, then back down via the Red Trail.
Having blown through all my personal/sick days already this year, when I had a set of appointments Tuesday I had to take a vacation day.
There was no way I was going to go home to do yard work on a vacation day , so after my last appointment I headed for the nearest mountain ....
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