Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yellow Aster Butte

Here is a picture of some of the 360 degree panorama from Yellow Aster Butte about fifty miles east of my home. Turn left at MP46.1 off the Mt. Baker Highway and then a few more miles of a dirt road to the trailhead. I hiked in last night, set up camp and had plenty of time to enjoy the sun seting over the rugged North Cascade Highland Forests. The night was chilly, but the days were quite hot. Last night I camped around 6,000 feet (and the sleeping bag performed diligently), from the trailhead around 3,400 feet - a rather strenuous hike by my standards: roughly 700 feet of vertical per mile.

Bike riding all over town does little to prepare one for these climbs. Especially with a full pack (with tent and sleeping bag). I am reminded of an old leg injury that makes for a sore evening here at home with the dog. But I am sure I will get drawn back to these magnficent mountains. It's unfortunate that it took me over three years to get to experience camping up here, in spite of it being in my back yard.

But I was able to camp by a serene glacial lake (called a tarn) and experience the playful and ubiquitous marmots that seemed to enjoy their beautiful surroundings and were not bashiful in scurrying from rocks across your path to another vantage point to either rest or act as look-out. As difficult as it is to get through the heather, the marmots seemed to swim through it with ease. Watching them was entertaining in itself. And the wild blueberries were a nice addition to my morning breakfast on the way down the hill.

And alhough last night's trip up was pretty much empty, throngs of people made the journey up on this wonderful Fall day, I fourtunately was coming down. And after candy bars and fruit (including blueberries, of course) for dinner and breakfast, it was a wonderful americano and scone I had at the Wake 'n Bakery in Glacier. More pictures are sure to follow.

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