Forum Index

Trail Talk

Partners

Trip Reports
 

Stewardship
/History 

Gear
/Food/Photo

Support
/Links 

Saloon
/Trade 
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Yellow Aster Butte, Oct. 10/11
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 5633 | TRs | Pics
Location: state of confusion
Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:05 pm    Yellow Aster Butte, Oct. 10/11
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

With the warm rain today, last weekend feels far away.

Yellow Aster Butte was my second backpack in Washington. For my first, Yanna and I took our 1 year old 105 pound pup Max to Gothic Basin in July of '94, a few months after we'd moved here and adopted him. The steep trail reminded me a lot of many trails we'd packed in the White Mountains of NH. Wow, what a joy watching the full moon rise over the Monte Christo peaks that Saturday night. On our way out, we passed a couple of women to whom we raved about the place. They said something like "if you like this, you should go to Yellow Aster Butte!"

A month went by, and Yanna was tied up one weekend so I took Max on a solo (human solo, that is) trip up to YAB. I saw what those women meant. We hiked up YAB proper on Sunday, and explored the tarns a bunch. But I also noticed the eroded trail leaving the tarns to head up Tomyhoi, and studied the map, thinking it looked likely to be a great ridge walk. Back at the car, Max hopped into the back of the Tercel wagon and went to sleep. We jumped forward a bit in our bonding that weekend.

I went back the next summer with Max and our friend Skip and we climbed Tomyhoi on Sunday before hiking back down the Keep Kool trail. Wow - even better. As we hiked upwards, more and more of the jaw dropping north cascades popped above the nearby peaks. There were a few "doggie outward bound" spots for Max, most notably a little 3rd class move just past the notch one has to descend to midway up the ascent, but he was a trooper and let us help him through it, and we all got to the false summit, and monkey man Skip went on to tag the true summit ("exposed 4th class with giant jug handholds" was his assessment on his return, and "it really didn't give much more of a view, other than of some of the Canadian clearcuts directly below to the north").

Yanna, Max and I went back the next July when our friend Alan visited from CA. I left work at something like 4 on Friday and we were at camp before dark. We found more snow than we expected, but it was still great. We hiked Tomyhoi again.

We got our pals Don and Tom up there one very hot weekend in early August. The deer flies were insanely distracting down in the woods, and the mosquitoes were quite intense in the alpine until just after dark. Still we had a pretty good time.

I almost brought a group of workmates up there the following summer, but bad weather pushed us out to Ingalls Lake/Headlight Basin, where we had a great time enjoying the rainshadow effect. A good backup plan.

We did several other fine backpacks through these years, each time going to new places, but we also kept returning to Yellow Aster Butte.

As Max aged, his back started calcifying a bit, and we learned not to take him on steep or rough trails. We did a few more camping trips up there with him but didn't climb Tomyhoi in order to save him from the steep eroded climb from the tarns and the 3rd class rock moves in the middle. By this point, the Keep Kool trail had been retired, so he had to do a little steep shot getting to/from the official trail to/from the tarns. But the new trail was so much prettier and easier than the old. By this point, we carried his food and sleeping pad for him. Lucky dog. He loved the trips.

I got him up to the top of the Butte for a dayhike one last time perhaps a month before he died at the end of the 2004 summer. He was still going strong. I was a little worried that the steep bit going to the top would hork his back, but he was fine the next morning - the usual time when back pain would present after the wrong sort of hike. He died in late August due to picking up Leptospirosis - likely in the little mud pond below the Red/Lundin saddle; one of five dogs to contract and die from Lepto in King County that month, the first dogs to die of Lepto in the county for some time (according the to the state epidemiologist who called me to quiz me on where Max might have contracted the bug, a strain by the way which was not covered by the Lepto vaccines at that point, but which has since been added). I guess you gotta go somehow.

Here's a shot of Max at the start of that last summer, not from Yellow Aster Butte:

For various reasons, we stopped going to YAB after that.

This year, I decided something was missing. It was time to go back.

I got Yanna and Paul psyched to head up there for a fall outing. We would target the first clear weekend when we all had no conflict.

We thought about going to Ingalls Lake for the larch show, but decided we wanted to go to a place where we could melt into a corner - where even if there was a bit of a crowd, we could have our own piece of solitude.


As with all the other reports from last weekend, it was cold. It reminded me of Yanna's and my yearly Columbus Day weekend backpacks into the presidential range of the Whites (NH) when we lived in MA. On the cusp of the winter/3-season bag decision. Time to think about the fact that water can freeze.


But it is amazing how bright the milky way is in the cold clear air. Yanna, Paul and I sat and lay for a few hours after sunset on our sleeping pads, sleeping bags draped in our laps, sipping Lagavulin, watching the sky, Shuksan, Baker, and the other nearby peaks.

I slept great that night in my 3 season bag, with the mummy hood cinched tight and a few layers on top and bottom. We slept in until the sun kissed our tents - hitting us nearly an hour before warming all but one other party in the area  hockeygrin.gif .

I went to fetch water from the nearby tarn, which had been mostly clear of ice the afternoon before. I had to break through the ice. I first tried the heel of my boot. That hurt, and didn't even crack the ice. My alumimum pot cracked the ice slightly, but the pot took the worst of it with a nice new dent. A sharp rock did the trick to break through the 3/4" of ice that had formed overnight.

We had one of those lovely slow lounging mornings, finally shifting to a dayhike up Tomyhoi at noon. Why leave camp when the views are so big? Well, because it gets even better above! The views of the Pickets and other N. Cascades just open up more and more as you climb. Based on our turnaround time, Yanna and I stopped at the last high bench before the last rise to the summit, and Paul ran on to go nearly to the false summit. We all enjoyed views that ranged from the Fraser valley to the Strait, Sound, and Olympics, to Canadian Peaks, to Rainier.


We got back to our camp by 4:30, pumped more water and snacked and packed, and were packing out by 5. A group that had come in that afternoon to set up camp at that first tarn beneath the Butte (why do most people stop there?) raised eyebrows and looked dramatically at their watches as we told them we were on our way back to the cars. We told them there was nothing to rush home for - we'd get back late but we'd enjoy the waning daylight up in the view zone. We got to the cars just on the edge of headlamp time - I finally put mine on to ensure that we didn't leave anything on the ground outside the car.

It was not the same without Max, but it was good to be back. I might have felt him pass by on one of the breezes...
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
the Zachster
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 4301 | TRs | Pics
Location: dog training
Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:35 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Very nice report. We all have special places with special memories attached to them and it's always nice to return. To remember, and also create new memories. Your pictures definitely convey "COLD" (especially "Watching sunset" all bundled up!). YAB was one of Zach's  favorite places too (he was allowed to run free there).
PS. Max was a very cool dog. I know you'll miss him forever but you had such great times together!

--------------
"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 3811 | TRs | Pics

Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:55 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

hey .. it was great meeting you and yanna and paul .. glad to hear you made up higher for the grander views .. as it was we didn't get back to the car till 6ish .. i kept stopping to take more pix .. it was very hard to leave that place!

here's some of them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets/72157622457201549/detail/

--------------
PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 5633 | TRs | Pics
Location: state of confusion
Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:05 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

I love the Morning Reflections and Frozen Abstracts shots. So you were the film crew with the film that's going to be screened at the Mountaineers who we hung with for a bit as we lounged on Sunday AM. Cool - we liked you guys!

We got to the car just before 7.

the Zachster wrote:
Max was a very cool dog. I know you'll miss him forever but you had such great times together!

He was indeed. And we did have great times - we were lucky to have found each other.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 3811 | TRs | Pics

Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:25 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

joker wrote:
I love the Morning Reflections and Frozen Abstracts shots. So you were the film crew with the film that's going to be screened at the Mountaineers who we hung with for a bit as we lounged on Sunday AM. Cool - we liked you guys!

LOL ... not exactly a film crew ..

btw i love your tr and you got some great pix .. i was so jealous of your spot -- i saw it when we came in but wasn't sure there'd be a view of baker .. and yeah i know how it feels to lose your best pal .. it took me years to get over mine  bawl.gif

and yeah .. i hope we see you there .. paul was pretty stoked about it  agree.gif

--------------
PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
Layback
Proud Papa x2



Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 5491 | TRs | Pics
Location: On a Bike
Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:30 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Simple beautiful joker.  Thanks for sharing.   up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
goats gone wild
Mr. Goat



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 2526 | TRs | Pics
Location: Vampireville
Post Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:53 am   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

joker wrote:

Here's a shot of Max at the start of that last summer, not from Yellow Aster Butte:

smile.gif  angel.gif


Glad you got to revisit such a beautiful place.  up.gif  Breaking through the ice for water,  WoW, now that's cold!!  eek.gif [/quote]

--------------
.....leaving me wanting to return over and over in what ever capacity that may be, even if one day my knees are too old and I can only see the mountains from my porch.

Jason Hummel
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
pimaCanyon
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2007
Posts: 1206 | TRs | Pics
Location: at the bottom of the map
Post Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:09 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

brrrrr!  beautiful scenery, great pix and beautiful story.  That area is amazing and usually crowded.  The mid-October temps cut down on the crowds a bit.

I have fond memories of YAB myself as it was there on a sunny April weekend in the early 80's that I joined a Mountaineer group for an overnight ski trip.  On that trip I met lots of new ski partners, one of whom would become my closest backpacking partner for the following two decades.

--------------
It's never too late to have a happy childhood
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 5633 | TRs | Pics
Location: state of confusion
Post Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:06 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses.

Yeah, it's definitely not the place to go for my dose of solitude (even in October), but it's indeed an amazing spot with easy access and wonderful rambling options, and plenty of nooks for those who want a private-ish corner for their tent.

The crowds dayhiking out as we packed in were quite fun - everyone had the biggest $#!+ eating grins on their faces as the traversed the lower alpine zone. The happy-place vibe was contagious.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message
Scrooge
Famous Grouse



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6922 | TRs | Pics
Location: wishful thinking
Post Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:16 pm   
 Reply to topic Reply with quote

Joker, if we did a calendar based on trip reports, your "Yellow Aster Butte" might just make the cover. What a treat.         humpy.gif


--------------
Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you....... Go and find it. Go!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail
  
Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours 
 Post new topic Reply to topic
Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Yellow Aster Butte, Oct. 10/11  
  Happy Birthday Stefan, PTLateHiker, The Monk, Pikawhisperer!
 
Jump to:   
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
Search this topic: 


   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
Privacy Policy