Sunday, October 19, 2014


Summer-ish weather is desperately clinging to northern Utah (but due to change in just a couple days) and we went out on Saturday to take full advantage, heading up Little Cottonwood Canyon to hike up to the Maybird Lakes.  We'd done the Red Pine Lake and White Pine Lake hikes earlier this summer; Maybird would be the third of those three major hikes out of the same trail head.  We got up there early enough (before 10 a.m.) to get one of the last parking spots in the lot but late enough that the sun was up, warming it enough that I didn't have to wear my gloves for too long.  We'd only done this Maybird Lakes hike once before: just over a year ago, after an early snowstorm that left us hiking in six inches of snow for most of the hike.  This time, we crossed thin patches of snow but our boots stayed dry.

More moose!

We started right off on a good note, finding a herd of at least five moose browsing in the aspens just a quarter-mile into the hike.  There was a good sized male with antlers, several cows and a teenager or two.  They were completely unconcerned as we and several other hikers paused to take their pictures.  We continued up the trail, passing people on the old mining road to the Red Pine/White Pine intersection as well as on the Red Pine trail.  Once we turned off Red Pine, we still were in the company of a few other hikers although the Maybird Gulch trail is not nearly as popular as Red Pine and White Pine.

One of these days, Pfeifferhorn ...

Without the snow cover, the trail was easy to follow (steep and rocky in places but not the steepest or rockiest we've encountered by any means), and we climbed steadily until we reached the three little lakes.  They were pretty low and we could see lots of deer tracks on the muddy shores.  The Pfeifferhorn loomed above the steep talus slopes surrounding the lakes; under the sunny skies we made a mental note that we'd need to climb it one of these days.

One of the Maybird Lakes

The trail head to the White Pine, Red Pine and Maybird lakes is such a popular spot.  We saw tons of people as we descended, both coming up and going down and with a whole range of preparedness and skill level.  We did not, however, see any more moose - they had probably tired of people gawking at them and moved off further into the brush to continue their browsing.  After changing into dry clothes at the car, we continued up the canyon to Snowbird to take advantage of their Customer Appreciation Days (free tram ride with food donation to the Utah Food Bank or $3 donation to Wasatch Adaptive Sports).  We weren't the only ones with that idea - there were approximately a zillion people up there, all in line for the tram - but we were pretty much the only ones who took post-hike beers and snacks to the top of the tram for consumption atop Hidden Peak.  It was likely one of the last beautiful days of the fall and it was nice to see folks out enjoying it.

The last of the aspens

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