Yellow Aster Butte (Sep 6, 2019)

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YAB_coverConditions: backpack
Gear: overnight gear
Map: USGS Mount Shuksan
Area: Mt Baker
Reference: 1Day Hiking North Cascades
Stats: 7.42mi, 2739' gain (round trip)

It was a long week and I was looking forward to a nice hike. My original plan was to hike the High Divide but when I checked a trip report I saw reports of ground hornets at the lake. Yuck...the idea of getting stung had me thinking of alternate trips. I settled on YAB because I knew I might see some late summer color.

I arrived at the trailhead (about 3630') around 9:30am and found much of the parking was full. I wasn't surprised, this has become a pretty popular trip. I parked down lower and had the advantage of turning around (nose downhill) so that I could easily pull out after returning from my hike. The trail starts out steep and the open meadows above the parking always seem warm... Returning to the shade of the trees was a nice respite from the heat and sun. I always think of this trip as steep. In reality the first part is moderately steep, the middle part is almost flat, and it returns to moderately steep higher up.

I took my time hiking up. I wasn't in any rush. A few stops to pick huckleberries (they seemed just past peak) and lots of time soaking in the views. The fall color has just started to show...lots of yellows in the grasses but the hucks still haven't started to blush red.

Lots of people out on the trail but not to the point it felt crowded. I reached the "bench" area (where the trail junction and you have the option to head up to YAB or down to the tarns). Having gone up or down in multiple trips to this area I didn't have the urge to explore like previous trips. Instead, I found a nice rock with stunning views and enjoyed a quiet lunch before hiking back out.

The Twin Lakes Road has seen better years. The potholes aren't tire crunching or man-eating but it's still pretty rough. A car with clearance can easily make it. Lower clearance cars...well I did see several but I wouldn't take one up there.
Yellow Aster Butte Slideshow

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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