I went back. It was bugging me. I had to know how I messed up.
Sure enough, as shown on map, there's a well defined T junction, complete with sign.
Coming down this hill (pic below), the trail to the right is easy to spot but the trail to the left doesn't even look like a trail. Still, I should have spotted that sign.
I discovered today it's quite a bit of work trudging through the snow from this junction to the top of East ZZ. I was more than 90% of the distance, but that doesn't mean it would be easy to loop back via Burnt Lake. So maybe I should be glad I went the way I did.
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