Ever since Joe & company started playing up this canyon, I've been itching to make it up there and check out the saddle and the route up to Secret Mt. I've done Secret Mt a couple times before but from the long way up Loy Canyon but the farthest east I got was to about above this Boynton saddle, so I never had enough daylight to hit one of the eastern viewpoints of Secret Mt but I figured this be the perfect opportunity to wander around up top a bit and find one. The hike up to the saddle wasn't to bad up the canyon especially when I found the use trail up to the saddle and the views back down canyon are quite sweet. From the saddle there's only one sane way up a steep chute to the next level and from there it's east a tad to another loose scramble up an open little drainage. From the viewpoint up top there while have a few helos go buzzing by as I grabbed a snack, I lucked out and found an elk trail that lead east of there for a half mile or so. Instead of following cairns, I was following hoof tracks and pills of elk poop.
Unfortunately that game trail ended about the next overlook and since I wanted to hit another eastern overlook, I had to wander across the mesa to the northeast. I'm so glad I wear shin guards since the bushwhacking thru Manzanita, downed trees, and pine sapling was pretty thick at times!
After about 1.5 miles of slow bushwhacking from the saddle, I popped out near a sweet overlook at the head of Long Canyon at about my turnaround time. If I had more time and desire, it might have been sweet to run out on the 'peak' 6607 arm or to an overlook of Secret Canyon near 6547 but I'll just have to save that for another time. I made pretty short work of the hike back and found the route down without too much trouble. Now climbing up the steep chute wasn't too bad, but climbing back down it was kinna hairy since I'm sending down half of my potential hand/footholds as they go flying hundreds of feet down the mountain while I'm searching for the solid ones!
I was cleaning out so many rocks at one point that I was creating a dust cloud at the bottom of the chute... I eventually made it down to solid ground at the saddle and slowly made my way back down to the canyon while getting buzzed by a few more helicopters. The rock hop back down canyon isn't too scenic because the trees are so thick that you can barely see the towering canyon walls around you and before you know it you're back on the main trail with all the tourists. I just love all the 'Menace to Society' glances I get from the Moms on the trail since I'm a thirty something male hiking by myself...