Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yellow Aster Butte

Mikey, Diane, and Peggy at the trailhead
Eight of us Senior Trailblazers showed up on a hot day to hike up the Yellow Aster Butte trail. We do this once a year, and this is just about the earliest it has been accessible, as we still had to cross several snow fields to get to the summit.
Mt. Baker from the trail
We have some spectacular views of the mountains around the trail, and this one of Mt. Baker is just one I took, showing the brilliant blue sky and the white snow that graces our beautiful mountain. It was hot and steep at the same time, and a new hiker and Al decided they would not try for the summit and would travel up at a slower pace. The rest of us made our way up the 2,500 feet of elevation we had to climb to get to the top.
Mt. Shuksan on the right and a snow field we had to cross
The higher we climbed, the more beautiful it became, and we had a light breeze that cooled us down somewhat, but the relentless climb began to wear on me. I was setting the pace since Al and Charlene were below us, and I think I might have gone a little faster than I should have to conserve my energy. However, beautiful scenes like the one below kept me going.
Flowers next to the trail
The flowers just got thicker and more beautiful as we climbed upwards. Although the trail doesn't look very steep, we climbed to the top in less than four miles, covering 2,500 feet of elevation, so it was never exactly relaxing, but it was pretty gradual, until...
The steep summit push
We got to this point, where it just goes pretty much straight up. I lagged behind the other four ladies (Mike was behind me, unwilling to leave me to be last). At first I wasn't going to go any farther, but once I saw them heading up, I couldn't manage to stay behind.
Carol, Chris, Peggy and Diane pulling me upwards
What I realized as I struggled my way up that final push is that I just don't do very well in full sun and steep upward climbs. It just about wore me out, to finally get to the top of the Butte. But I did make it, my second time ever, and here's the proof.
Chris, Carol, me, Peggy, Diane, taken by Mikey
I asked Mikey if he would take a picture of the ladies who made it to the summit. Charlene and Al are down there somewhere, and we were able to call them on the phone, since we were high enough to catch a signal, and they were right at the place I thought I should have waited. We had our lunch and then headed back to join them. Below us, we saw several lakes that are in the process of melting out.
Lake below us looking like it will be clear of snow shortly
If it had not been so far away, I was hot enough and tired enough that I would have loved to dip my body into that water. So, the next stream we came to, I dipped my neck scarf in and dipped my hat into the cold water, pouring it over my head. It was heavenly!
Carol, heading back down
I captured this picture of Carol, showing the amount of snow that still hangs out in our High Country, and looking like the fresh sprite she is. I love these hikes for many reason, not the least of which is getting to know my fellow hikers better. I'll see her tomorrow in exercise class, along with Al. Now that I am home and sipping my wine, life feels pretty darn good! I hope it's doing as well in your part of the world. I'll sleep well tonight.


  1. Congratulations on reaching that summit!

  2. whew...sounds like a tough last bit there...but wow what a view...that lake is like art itself...thank goodness for winds and nice views to keep us going eh? smiles.

  3. I don't suppose trails ever get dry there. Lots of times our tails are dry and dusty.

  4. Way to go but it sounds like you needed more to eat or more to drink... I bought one of those Polar neck wraps for really hot days...they sure do cool you off, you could carry one in a sandwich bag to use on hot hikes:)

  5. I don't do exertion in heat at all well any more, so I suffered a bit just reading this. But it's all so beautiful!

  6. Yep, I have two of those wraps for our longer hikes - we are not doing mountains, but are doing forests and the shore lines. What a challenge and so happy for you to expel that last surge of energy and make it to the top. I hope it did not hurt your knee too much for the trail back down. Beautiful photos DJan, especially the summit one. Very nice Post :)

  7. Wow....that was such a beautiful hike. Green, wildflowers, snow capped mountain view...snow here and there...and the melting of the lake almost looks glacier colored.

    Wonderful share as always.

  8. i went to bed a bit early last night so missed this post, then, but what a GREAT post to start out with this morning! just GORGEOUS colors and views! that hill climb says it all! but i'm proud of you for doing it. i wanna grow up to be just like you! (except for that skydiving thing...) :)

  9. I don't know how you do it. I do like to get exercise as well, but walking on paths and swimming. Congrats on getting to the top, and your pictures are stunning.

  10. I don't think I would have climbed even 1/4 of the way, so you going to the top beats me. The photos are beautiful.

  11. I do admire your stick-to-it-ive-ness. I would have bailed much early and missed the view.
    I use one of those Polar neck wraps also like Far Side. They do help you feel more comfortable in the heat and help cool the blood going to your brain.

  12. Looks like another great hike. I really enjoyed the picture of the lake.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  13. Those mountains are soooooo photogenic aren't they. The air looks so clear and bright. Just perfect. Glad you made it to the top.

  14. Looks fantastic. And you all are hardy souls!

  15. Wow! That was really a push to get to the top, but what wondrous shots of the mountains and the paths. Must have felt like an amazing accomplishment to struggle to the top. You and your crew are true adventurers!! :)

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  18. Wow! Way to go, DJan. I sure admire your strength and fortitude AND those amazing views!!

  19. The views are gorgeous. That last section to the summit does look like a hard climb. Congrats on making it. You definitely earned that glass of wine.


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