All bundled up for the start of the hike
The trail into Maybird Gulch splits off of the Red Pine Lakes trail, about 2.5 miles from the White Pine/Red Pine trail head. It was sunny and 35 F when we got to the parking lot Saturday morning. There were several other cars there but not nearly as many as you would see on a summer weekend. Snow covered the trails: it was quite beaten down and slick along first mile of the old road from the trail head to the Red Pine turnoff, and well-traveled for the next 1.5 miles to the bridge marking the Maybird route. No one else had gone up into Maybird, however, so we were breaking trail as best we could, not knowing the route at all. There were tons of animals tracks - deer, fox/coyote, squirrel, mice - and we ended up following the footsteps of a fox or coyote for much of the trail ... until he stranded us on top of a cliff and we had to backtrack to find the real trail.
Great colors along the way
We found the frozen little lakes nestled in a talus bowl underneath the Pfeifferhorn, bright blue sky arcing overhead. As we enjoyed the dramatic scenery, a solo hiker came up behind us, and another one shortly after that, and both guys thanked us for breaking the trail for them. There are apparently three lakes up there although we only saw two of them; the snow-covered boulder field made for treacherous shoreline hiking and we decided to leave further exploration of the bowl for another, summer day.
Section of the Red Pine Lakes trail
With the sun so bright above us, temperatures rose quickly through midday and as we descended, it was almost like hiking through a rain forest in places as the snowmelt cascaded from the branches overhead. What had been icy on the way up was mostly slushy on the way down and our water-resistant hiking boots finally gave in to the repeated drenchings. There were dry shoes and socks waiting for us at the truck - and beer - an excellent end to an excellent hike. It was steeper than we thought it was at the time and both of us ended up with tight calf muscles - something to remember when we go back to see the Maybird lakes the next time.
The Pfeifferhorn rising above Maybird Gulch
Hike stats: 7.66 miles round-trip; 2,254 foot elevation gain; 2.0 m.p.h. average speed.