I think that it is safe to say that I was not expecting Hurdy Gurdy mountain to be anything more than a round lump at the back of Hidden Valley. What I got was a highly entertaining ridge walk that looked extremely suspicious from the get go, but just kept on letting us through...barely.
Ryan Hiking Up Hidden Valley
As we ate lunch and speculated where we were most likely to get shut down at, I was still anticipating a relatively short day out. I feel almost retarded at this point because of my reoccuring miscalculation between the way a mountain or route looks, and the way it feels when you are on it. In this case the 'route' just kept letting us sneak through,...I was so amazed that we didn't get shut down...sometimes the opposite happens for sure!
A Steep Long Ridge
The three small circles on the map that represented mini summits before our true summit did little to capture the true magnitude of this hike. It was safe to say that we were open to exploring a different route down. Down the ridge and oh so far away now was Hidden valley, on one side of the peak lay Eagle River valley, the other side was the South Fork of Eagle River. It actually made a better loop we decided to cut down to the S. Fork...and away we went...until the way got steeper, and more cliff like, and then sketchy.
Uh OH..Can You Spot Ryan?
As I scouted a potential route around the cliff Ry was sitting above, where we were going to try and "down climb just a little bit" and from my angle I could see how truly ugly our stance was...sometimes its just better to turn around, suck it up and head back the way you came. Luckily Ry totally agreed with me and it was not big deal...but I think we've all been on both sides of the go or retreat dilemma.
Back to Eagle Lake
We eventually picked our way back up and then across the mountain where a really nice mellow valley went down almost to the river below...this was a truly fun day of exploring a new valley and an interesting new peak. I love this valley, it takes a little more effort to get back into, but the rewards are great.