Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keep Cool trail

Fall colors viewed from the car
Today, eleven Senior Trailblazers headed up the Mt. Baker Highway on a glorious sunny day to hike the Keep Cool trail, our second time this year. I looked back to see when we last hiked this trail, and it turned out it was on July 11, with lots of snow still present from the previous winter. You can read about it here.
Nice waterfall
This trail is an alternate route to the summit of Yellow Aster Butte and is not maintained, so we had lots of brush and fallen trees to navigate. And it's very steep, bringing us up almost 2,400 feet in around three miles. By the time we met this waterfall, we had negotiated some pretty challenging spots, but we had perfect hiking weather, around 50 F, full sunshine when we weren't in the trees, and the occasional glimpse of wonderful snow-capped mountains.
Brilliant foliage
Once we climbed up to the meadows, we crossed them and began our ascent up to a lunch spot, with magnificent views. At about 4,700 feet, we hit fresh snowfall. Well, fresh in terms of having fallen this year, but because of the days of sunshine since last week, the snow was not all that soft and crunched loudly as we crossed it.
There was snow from here on
We made our way across the valley in the snow, looking for a place to stop for lunch, because we were all getting pretty darn hungry. It was already noon. Finally, after climbing some switchbacks, we found a place with lots of views all around and satisfied our hunger as well. A light breeze made it a bit cold, but I found that even though I put on my coat, I didn't really need to be bundled up.
Top: Karen and Rita
Bottom: Diane, Carl and Jonelle
Along with our glorious views, we enjoyed a very nice and rather leisurely lunch before heading back down. I was reluctant to leave this place, because the season is definitely winding down. All three of the hikers in the lower two pictures (Diane, Carl and Jonelle) will be leaving to head back to their desert environment for the winter before our hike next week. It was wonderful to have such a beautiful final day for their 2013 High Country season.
Mt. Shuksan as we headed back down
Oh, and one more thing: while I was in Elsinore, I placed an order at REI for a new pair of boots. It has been more than two years since I purchased my last pair, and the 20% off a full-price item at REI caused me to look forward to a new pair. I found that my favorite boots, the Lowa Renegade, now comes in colors. So, you guessed it, I ordered a pair of purple boots, which came yesterday! I wore them today and found them to be just right.
My new boots
At first it was a little disconcerting to look down and see my violet-colored feet, but before long I knew that it was just right! I look forward to several more years of enjoying these pretty boots. Now that I'm home, I made sure they are drying out so that maybe they will last for at least three years. I noticed that in 2 1/2 years, the tread had worn down quite a lot on my old boots and my feet were no longer perfectly dry, as they had been for two solid years. When you wear out your footwear as quickly as I do, you are sure happy to have found a good brand. I'm a lifelong convert to these wonderful boots!


  1. The views are beautiful....
    So pretty, Jan. So very pretty.
    I love your boots...and the color is perfect because it is so "you!"
    Love them.

  2. the cute boots made me smile.

    i liked that: fresh snow - meaning it fell this year. :)

  3. Oh yes! I love your purple boots! The views on your hike are breathtaking. We Re disappointed to find that the foliage in the Midwest is not very vibrant at all. I wonder why.

  4. Another great hike in the high country. Wow. And you are so lucky to be able to order boots that fit you so well that you can hike all day in a new pair that is not even broken in. That said by an envious person with serious foot problems.

  5. loving the colors of the mountins...where there is not snow at least....smiles...very nice hike....

    and def nice boots too...smiles.

  6. Those new boots are pretty. Good choice of color, DJan. Your photos are much brighter than usual. Is it due to the sunshine or to your camera?

  7. It's always cool to be able to move through different seasons just by changing altitude.
    what ever happened to good old leather boots? I do like your fine purple boots.

  8. Love those boots. I've just bought some new ones but they are a boring grey colour. Great scenery as always.

  9. That one photo of Mount Shuksan with all the colors and snow on the mountain peak...glorious.

    And those boots!!! A magenta purple!! Can't go wrong with those in my opinion.

  10. Love the boots! Can't believe you are walking on snow already.

  11. A truly colorful day, in foliage and boots! So glad you got the purple ones!

  12. Hope those boots don't require a break in time. That can be painful.
    You really need shoes to handle hiking, climbing and snow. I'd say you got your money's worth with more than two years they way you hike.

  13. Your photos are lovely; such beautiful view. I love your new boots.

  14. Another one here who loves your new boots. The purple is awesome. Your group is certainly getting some nice weather lately, I hope it holds for a few more weeks. Your photos are gorgeous DJan.

  15. Those boots suit you perfectly..however they look more plum than purple to me! What a beautiful hike...even if there was snow:)

  16. Love the purple boots, DJan! I hope they bring you many happy, beautiful miles of hiking.
    The views are as beautiful as ever.

  17. Mountain climbing must really wear them down.My woodsy trails are easier on the wear and tear though this year I had to get a new pair of waders for flyfishing...:)

  18. Isn't it funny -- I "get" why you go out to see the fall colors and the beautiful waterfall, and enjoy the crisp air and beautiful sunshine. I do all that too. But why would you hike up 2400 feet, just to find snow?!? I spend half my time planning how to get OUT of the snow! (Just booked my winter trip to Florida.) However ... that snow DOES show off those purple boots quite nicely!

  19. My favourite colour! Great choice!
    Love the scenic photos. Will try to
    Get out and see colours around us tomorrow.

  20. Love the purple boots for hiking! Photos are gorgeous and nice hike.

  21. What an interesting hike this must have been. I love the purple boots too!

  22. Gorgeous landscapes. I just love these virtual hikes. After I read these entries, my legs muscles ache. Hey, maybe that's a good sign, right?

  23. love your new boots, great color
    the fall colors are amazing

  24. Those beautiful fall colours can't possibly compete with your purple boots. ;)


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