|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|
|John peeling an orange in front of the top|
|Mt. Baker, Helen, Tammy|
|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.