Thursday, July 28, 2016

Another hot, sunny day

Early view of Mt. Baker
Twenty Senior Trailblazers showed up this morning for our hike to Yellow Aster Butte, one we do every year, usually in July. Since the wilderness area is limited to 12 per group, Al broke us into two groups, one of 12 to hike up to Yellow Aster Butte on the regular trail, and the other 8 on the Keep Kool trail, which is the original route to the Butte. That trail is no longer maintained, but it's still traveled and quite do-able. I went with the larger group.
Carol on the trail, surrounded by wildflowers
You spend a great deal of time in full sun on this hike, making it very hot, but I was prepared with plenty of water, as we ascended the trail and admired the views. They were pretty spectacular, and the wildflowers didn't disappoint.
Pink monkey flowers surrounded by green and white
When we reached the saddle, where we had unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains, especially Mt. Baker and Shuksan, three of our group decided to climb to the top of the butte, while the rest of us found some scarce shade and enjoyed our lunch. We had a light breeze, but the biting flies were a real nuisance for most of the day. It was only when we were high in altitude and moving that they weren't a problem. But it was just too nice a day to let something like that bother us.
Mt. Baker from the saddle
The other group was approaching from the left side of the mountain you see in the foreground. We never saw them, but they were able to see us (as we found out when we ran into them at Graham's, our ice cream stop).
The tarn where some Trailblazers swam last year
The Trailblazers who swam in this tarn last year were in the other group, and if they swam in one, they didn't make it to last year's swimming hole. There are plenty others for them to enjoy. We didn't venture down to the tarn, although we discussed it and decided against it. It looks a little lonely to me.
Steve and Doug in front of St. Shuksan
And then it was time to retrace our steps and return to our cars. The flowers and the scenery were wonderful, but some of us were ready for a chance to cool down. The thought of ice cream began to sound awfully good to me. I did stop to take a couple more pictures of Mt. Baker.
Mt. Baker and wildflowers
Now it's almost 7:00pm, making this a very long day, although we covered less than eight miles and around 2,500 feet in elevation gain and loss. Enough to make me feel I've earned my glass of wine! It's too bad that I didn't get to spend the day with the rest of the Trailblazers because of the US Forest Service restriction of groups to 12. I'll find out later how their trip went, but it was fortuitous that we ran into them briefly just as they were leaving Graham's. I know that we all had a good day. Another successful trip into the High Country.


  1. heat, gorgeous views, great exercise followed by ice cream, then wine at home. sounds perfect - except for those stinkin' flies!

  2. The scenery is breath-taking, the wildflowers, the mountains, the water. I especially love the last photo.

    I smiled when I read only 8 miles! You are incredible, Jan!

  3. What a glorious day! Thanks for sharing!

  4. The wildflowers were abundant! You got some wonderful shots of the far mountains. The heat and biting flies would do me in, but I'm glad you all enjoyed yourselves on another adventure. :)

  5. Nice photos of the wildflowers. And to top it off with a visit to the ice cream shop, wow!

  6. Saddles or ridges give you great views on both sides. It's cool when there is a big wind going over the saddle or ridge.

  7. Oooh.
    Thank you so much (again) for taking us with you. Love those views and the wildflowers. Loathe the heat, and am a biting insect magnet.
    Definitely a deserved ice-cream and glass of wine.

  8. What a beautiful day, your sky is so blue and the views are awesome!! :)

  9. Think I would have been tempted to take the Keep Kool trail but the one you took was amazing. What beautiful flowers and views.

  10. That scenery is spectacular! Heat and bugs would bother me, but, oh, the reward of getting to me in that setting.

  11. Biting flies would be a true nuisance. But the ice cream is like the light at the end of the tunnel!
    What gorgeous hike backdrops today. Wow.

    1. By the way, I don't know if I've ever said this but I LOVE the name of your hiking group....the Trailblazers.

  12. i think i might have been tempted to go down and maybe i am thinking more of my weather...which has been so least it is raining this morning...and only in the 80s..


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