The weather was sunny and clear – and hot! Not used to that around here. The Mount Baker Hill climb was scheduled for today also, so that meant the Mount Baker Highway would be closed between 7:30 am and noon. That meant I had to leave home at about 6:00 am to get to my turn-off before 7:30. There was no way I was going to hike up 2500 feet in the sun in the hottest part of the day.

Tarns below Yellow Aster Butte

Tarns below Yellow Aster Butte

Besides, my theory was, and I turned out to be not totally correct, I might be on the trail by myself. I thought that would be fun. I like my wilderness experience to be without crowds; too many people and I don’t feel like I’m out in the wilderness!

Peaks from Yellow Aster Butte trail

Peaks from Yellow Aster Butte trail

So, I left home about 6:00am and got to my turn-off a little after 7:00. Then I drove my 16-year old car up a pretty crappy gravel road. I averaged around 10 miles an hour up this not very maintained road for 5 miles. Some of the “gravel” looked more like boulders to me, and the potholes were deep enough to lose a wheel. The nice thing about the time I arrived was that I didn’t meet any cars coming towards me, as in some places one would have to back up to get to a wide enough place for the cars to pass each other.

Not to worry, it worked out fine – going up. I had a great hike, I met several people coming down, as they had backpacked in overnight and were now heading down. It was hot, and it was only 8:00 when I started up the trail. I got to the top around 10:15. I was searching for a good place to set up my tent next weekend, and I could see there were LOTS of great spots and many little snow-melt “ponds”. The views were spectacular.

Mount Baker from Yellow Aster Butte trail

Mount Baker from Yellow Aster Butte trail

There were tons of wildflowers everywhere, and I could hear the humming of thousands of bees, doing their work. I wondered where their hives are at that elevation?  Still wondering.

Wildflowers at Yellow Aster Butte

Wildflowers at Yellow Aster Butte

 

So, when I got back to my car, about 12:30, I thought it would be too early after the highway re-opened for any cars to be coming up. I was wrong! There was a pretty steady stream of cars I had to negotiate around on my drive down. I was really glad I had done my hike early, both to avoid the hottest part of the day, and because the number of cars coming up meant there would be a crowd on the trail. Yuck! Not my thing.

The hike went great for me, and I’m looking forward to my overnight trip next weekend!

Hamster report

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