Mt Baker Wilderness and Snoqualmie NF

While we were staying in Aldergrove, we took a few trips to Mt Baker area in Washington as it is close and has fabulous hiking trails. One of our most favorite hikes is the Yellow Aster Butte Trail within Mt Baker Wilderness. We went in October and the alpine flowers covered the foreground in reds, yellows, oranges and purples which you can see from the photos is the best time for the brilliant palette of fall colors. We also enjoyed spectacular views of Mt Baker, Mt Shuksan, and the Border Peaks, Mt Larrabee and the western portion of the High Divide. We started the hike at the Tomyhoi Lake Trailhead and switchbacked up through an avalanche path, gaining elevation until the trail breaks out to a flat bench in a meadow. After a steep half mile trail we finally reached the windy summit of Yellow Aster Butte with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It was a perfect day with a few clouds hanging above the peaks in the distance. Another time we would love to backpack here as there are phenomenal tent sites located in the meadow with tarns for camping next to and time for a day hike up Tomyhoi Peak. It’s a 7.5 mile R/T hike, with a 2,550 ft elevation gain. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Mt Baker and North Cascades NP

Patty posing for Mt Shuksan

We are so close to Mt Baker that we can see it from Greater Vancouver on a clear day. We decided to finally drive there and do some hiking for the day. It was a beautiful sunny day, we left early and drove 30 miles east of Bellingham on the Mt Baker Hwy, Hwy 542, and followed the signs past the ski area and Picture Lake, Mt Baker at 10,781 ft, is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. We hiked the Artist Ridge Trail, 2 miles RT, to an overlook with spectacular mountain panoramas. We could see Mt Shuksan, 9,131 ft, an “Alp of the Northwest”  in the distance and meandering up the staircased trail we had beautiful mirrored reflections of Mt Shuksan in snow-melt ponds. Mt Baker peeked through the trees along the trail. We met a local couple, Dean and Dudley Evenson, he was playing the flute, while she was taking video of him (www.soundings.com) making CDs for relaxation music and videos. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading