After hiking to Hidden Lake, instead of heading straight back to the parking lot, I took a detour via the Ridge Loop trail, which splits from the Hidden Lake trail approximately .25-mi before reaching the lake itself. I’ll admit, I did get a touch lost at one point because it was difficult for me to tell where the official trail turns and where the unofficial trail continues along the lake, which really only exists for fishermen to get closer to the water and for one or two sunbathers to find the exposed rock of their choice overlooking the lake.
If you’re looking for a great view of the lake, Ridge Loop is not for you, at least, not in the spring/summer when the leaves are fully in bloom, obstructing the lake from eyes and camera lenses. However, there was one moment on the ridge where the trees parted and myself and the three guys hiking in front of me got a delightful view of the lushness of the valley below, which made the additional mileage completely worthwhile.
For anyone reading this and actually double tracking my mileage for the Hike Challenge, normally the Ridge Loop Trail is .7-mi lone, which is not long enough for my personal goals of this challenge. Yet after the ‘I knew I should have made that left turn in Albuquerque’ Bugs Bunny-type detour, my hiking app stated I ended up traveling 1.2-mi altogether for my Ridge Loop adventure. Since the detour was unintentional and not some strange desperate act to increase mileage, I am going to count it this time. All other hikes where I get lost (hopefully no more, but who only knows with me) will be evaluated at such time.