Thursday, September 21, 2023

Yellow Aster Butte 2023

Linda and Helen on the trail

This turned out to be one of my favorite hikes of the entire season, and it was all rather impromptu. Helen was originally scheduled today to take us on a hike to Park Butte, but the Forest Service has already removed the temporary bridges, so we decided instead to move up next week's hike to Yellow Aster Butte. Not to mention, the weather today was supposed to be clear and cool, both of which actually happened.

Beautiful Mt, Baker

The trail starts on a mountain road that continues on to Twin Lakes, but after five miles of bumpy road, we reached the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. We saw an incredible number of cars that had arrived before us, in the vicinity of perhaps fifty, and this is on a weekday! Apparently a lot of people realized that the weather is going to change soon and took advantage of today's perfection to hike on a favorite trail before it is gone for the season.

A gaggle of hikers on our way up

It could not have been more perfect: the skies were clear, the full sun was not too hot with a delightful breeze blowing, and everybody was in just the best mood as we headed up a rather challenging 2,000+ feet of elevation. This group tends to follow the rules and we stayed together, until three of our hikers decided to stop part-way up and rest there, while the remainder of us went off to our lunch spot, about a mile farther up the trail.

No wildflowers left, just spent fireweed

At our lunch spot, I gazed up at the rest of the hike, which I've done on earlier attempts, up to the top where there is a wonderful 360-degree view, but we didn't do that today. This is the "Relaxed Hike" group, after all.

John peeling an orange in front of the top

Although I've climbed to the top in previous years, another steep scramble of around 500 feet, I had little to no desire to go the distance from here. I was happy to stop in the beautiful sunshine and enjoy the view, as well as my lunch, with my friends who were also enjoying the day.

Mt. Baker, Helen, Tammy

I love this shot, which shows us just before we started back down, with another picture of Mt Baker with two of my dear (if newly minted) friends in front. We had finished our lunch and it was time to head home.

Mt Shuksan of the left, Baker on the right

I did want, if possible, to capture both of our beautiful mountains in one shot, which I managed as we started back down. Everybody made it back down without a mishap, except for me: I slipped on a rock and hit my knee, hard enough to cause a pretty good sized hematoma, but it didn't stop me from continuing back down to the cars. Since I was in a car with two retired nurses, I was given the treatment, a good wrap with an Ace bandage and admonishments about what to do when  arrived home (RICE, of course, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

And now I am home, still sipping on my glass of wine as I write this post, with a nice hot shower awaiting me after I'm done here. It was, without a doubt, one of the best times I've had on this hike, and I once again thank all my wonderful fellow hikers for a really GREAT DAY.



  1. Sorry about the knee, DJan... but otherwise, sounds like a very enjoyable day.

  2. Congratulations on your great hike, DJan, but just looking at the distance you covered, has me feeling tired. Your stamina is amazing. I wouldn't have done that climb up the hill either... even 30 years ago.

  3. How wonderful. You totally deserve your wine o'clock and I hope your poor knee recovers quickly.

  4. Wonderful photos DJan, your day sounded exhilarating. But ow the knee! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that heals quickly... 👍❤️‍🩹

  5. Even smacking your knee didn't dim the day for you! Was quite a day with great company. :)

  6. Too bad about the knee but it sounds like you had a great time just the same. What a gorgeous view up there! I miss mountains!

  7. Scrambling at this age is a definite no no. Days like you had on a mountain are priceless. I hate leaving people behind because you don't know what they'll do once they get bored sitting there.

  8. What a day and hike! Sorry about the fall, but I am thinking it is not very serious. 🤞

  9. That is a very exposed hike, but perfect for a COOL sunny day.

  10. Glad you had such a good day! Hope your knee gets better quickly.

  11. I’m glad you went and enjoyed the hike. As you know, Yellow Aster Butte was never a favorite of mine, so more power to you my dear friend. Keep on hiking Jan—you are outdoing me!


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