Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rainy Yellow Aster Butte

On the Yellow Aster Butte trail
Well, color me VERY surprised when eleven Senior Trailblazers showed up for our annual hike up the Yellow Aster Butte trail on a very rainy day, projected to stay that way for the whole day! I expected no more than Al, me, and maybe a few other regulars. Seven of us met at the Senior Center and then met the Ferndale carload at the Glacier Ranger Station. Everyone was prepared for a wet hike, and it was already raining, a nice soft mist.
All but three of us pictured at the Ranger Station
When we got to the trailhead, it was also surprising that we saw several other people getting ready to hike up to the top as well, since it was not, well, ideal hiking conditions. It was quite warm, and a few of us didn't put our raincoats all the way on, since we knew we would be working reasonably hard as we moved upwards. The rain was pretty continuous, although light for most of the time, until we got a view of our destination, Yellow Aster Butte.
Looking at the Butte, in the center of the picture
As we trudged up the trail, the rain let up for part of the journey, and there were still plenty of pretty wildflowers to see: fireweed, lupine, and Indian paintbrush. It was obvious, though, that we are near the end of the season up here in the High Country.
Al and Diane on the trail
The weather wasn't getting any better as we hiked, and once we left the valley and started up into the more exposed areas, the wind picked up. It was time for a conference.
No view, and wondering where to stop for lunch
We decided to try and find a place out of the wind and hope for the best as we stopped for lunch. The idea of making it to the top was nixed by everybody. We just didn't want to spend another hour or so working to get to the top and have (1) no view and (2) no place to huddle out of the rain and wind. So here is our view from the lunch spot we chose:
Beautiful in its own way
While we stopped for lunch, we saw another group of four hikers heading back down. I asked them if they had made it to the top, but they said no, the wind and cold got more intense as they climbed, so they retreated and stopped for lunch at a lower elevation, near us. After a rather quick lunch, we headed back down, leaving the summit for another day.
Mt. Shuksan is somewhere under those clouds
After we started down, the rain pretty much stopped, and we almost got a view or two of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker, which are both usually prominent on the skyline. If you are wondering what we didn't see today, here's a link to our hike in 2011. But today was just fine, in its own way. Every single time I head out into the wilderness, I take all the appropriate gear, and I know I will be accompanied up there by my fellow Trailblazers, and that it will be an adventure, no matter what.
It was still very beautiful, even in the rain
Today we didn't see the sun until after the hike, when we reached Glacier, the place where we gathered to start our day. However, by the time we got back to the Senior Center, the rain had returned. Here are the pluses: no bugs (they know better than to be out on a day like this), cool hiking temperatures, and good company. The minuses: we didn't make it to the top, it was raining and windy, and it was over way too soon!

Oh, and one more thing: we heard from Steve that the Forest Service checked out the fire we reported on Monday, and it was still burning and had grown to twice the size we described! They contained it and now all is well. I'm glad we did our part to keep the fire from growing, although considering the recent rain, it probably wouldn't have had much of a chance to become a real problem.


  1. Actually, all of you looked incredibly colorful against the gray backdrop - and even in all the green!

  2. You may have been coloured surprised, but this post (as usual) has me 'tickled pink'. Gorgeous greener and so very beautiful. Thank you so very much.

  3. Wow, I was going to ask about that fire. Glad they put it out. The scenery was beautiful despite the adverse weather conditions, DJan.

  4. thanks for the follow-up on the fire-putting-out. :)

    the views you shared of the mist and foggy mountains are still absolutely gorgeous to me!

  5. Although I would rather not hike in the rain it's not all that bad. Rain does put some limits on hiking. The trail can get slippery. The view is limited. And sometimes the rain turns to snow.

  6. geez good thing you reported that fire so they could finish it off...and good on you for making what you did of the all are def dedicated....

  7. Your photos do make it look very beautiful.
    We got rained on too, with some sudden, very hard showers, and then thunder and lightning late this afternoon. We have had the kids this week and our outing today was the Burien Farmers Market. We got there when it opened at 11:00, hoping to beat the next band of showers, but we all got dumped on and had to seek shelter until the worst was over. Then we continued with umbrellas, over our tee shirts. It has been quite warm and steamy all day.

  8. A wise decision not to persevere to get to the top with no rewarding views at the end. But as you say another great day out with friends.

  9. DJan, your pictures are still wonderful... despite the rain and no view (actually the views look pretty good to me here in Texas). What amazes me is that it could be cool enough for coats when we're predicted to hit 105. Cool air and a little rain would be welcome.

  10. Another wet and wild adventure. You are such a trouper. The views were still beautiful.

  11. Cool and no bugs would be a big plus in my book. The flowers were still pretty.
    How scary about that fire and so glad your action was able to nip it in the bud. What horrific damage it could have caused. Hikers should have to pass a course.

  12. A beautiful hike. Walking in the rain would be hard for me to do.

    It was lucky you reported the fire. It might have become almost unstoppable.

  13. There is a little snow on those peaks! Another lovely hike. Funny that Lupines which bloom here in June and Indian Paintbrush July and Fireweed in August all bloom at the same time there. Eleven you are becoming a large group! :)

  14. Even with the rain everything is still very beautiful. Those wildflowers are very pretty. Speaking of Fireweed, in Alaska we would always watch the blooms. When the last of them fell off we knew winter was coming soon.

    Thanks for the update on the fire. I was wondering about it since I know how it can smolder around tree roots.

  15. Gee DJan, good thing that fire was reported, otherwise, it could have been quite bad. Most wonderful that you all participated in squashing it when you did, right, for I am sure it would have been out of control before too long. Nasty day for your hike but the scenery only changes to show us yet another beautiful look. I found the green on the mountain path, the greenest I have ever seen - perhaps it was the wet weather against the darkness, but it sure stands out.

  16. I was wondering the outcome of the fire y'all found that other time. Good news!!!

    And for your rainy matter, it's all still gorgeous!! Have a wonderful holiday weekend DJan.

  17. First of all, I am glad the rangers made sure that fire was out. :) Hurray! What a good climb--even if you didn't have the best of weather. I'm even surprised so many people showed up! Nice! :)

  18. I always love to look at your photos. It is lovely the way that you capture hikers at a distace with beautiful scenery in the background and foreground. You are a splendid photographer.

  19. Wow! That's a good thing you found that fire! The wildflowers look pretty even in the cloudy weather.

  20. Looks like another wonderful hike, with such gorgeous scenery, even if it was raining. I envy you the landscape you get to walk through. And thanks for your visits to my blog.

  21. As you say, it's still a very pretty view even in the rain.


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