Yellow Aster Butte: 24 Hours Car-to-Car

Neil, running away from the bugs...

Neil, running away from the flies…

Sometimes everything goes smoothly. After a few ordeals on trips this summer, this is not something to be taken for granted. After we got our car back from the mechanic in Whistler, we both felt it was time for a weekend hike, and we decided on Yellow Aster Butte, a place we had been to a few years ago.

We left Vancouver pretty late, ensuring that we all got a good night’s sleep. There was a lot of traffic, a bit of a wait at the border and then we took a long break at the ranger station in Glacier to pick up a parking permit and blue bags (to collect our poo). By the time we were on the trail and started hiking it was past 2:30pm, but we were surprised by the number of people who started even after us!

On the trail

On the trail

The parking area was very busy, basically a long line of cars parked by the side of the gravel road. As soon as we were out of the car we were attacked by big, annoying flies. Luckily they weren’t of the biting type but still very annoying. People we met on the trail warned us that the bugs were just as bad at the top. Thanks, party poopers, but the flies actually disappeared completely higher up on the trail.

One of our snack breaks

One of our snack breaks

The trail is wide and mostly very scenic, with expansive views of Mt. Baker and other mountains near by. Up and up we went, and the higher we got the less bugs we encountered. We took two breaks, but we mostly kept on going, since we wanted to make sure we’d arrive to camp with plenty of daylight remaining.

Setting up the tent, border peaks in the background

Setting up the tent, border peaks in the background

When we were finally looking over the small tarns below Yellow Aster Butte we started seeing many tents around. Luckily there is plenty of space there for camping and we found an isolated spot with amazing views of the border peaks. We set up our tent and by the time we finished we were ready for dinner.

Dinner is always fun!

Dinner is always fun!

As we were arranging the tent Gili realized that my blow-up mattress was missing. I slept on Gili’s mat, and despite it being the thin type it was pretty comfortable (at least it doesn’t make a noise every time I move like mine). Gili had to sleep straight on the ground, but at least it wasn’t too cold…

Either Neil was very tired, or he’s getting better at sleeping in the tent, but he fell asleep pretty easily and the night was very peaceful. We were too tired to check if we could still spot some shooting starts from the recent meteor shower. Neil woke up at 6:20am (very early for him) but at least it gave us an early start unlike the previous day.

Just as we were leaving camp people offered to take our photo

Just as we were leaving camp people offered to take our photo

We had breakfast, took down the tent and went for a little hike to Yellow Aster Butte, a cute little summit which is mostly a hike and just a bit of scrambling at the end. As we were leaving our camping spot we came across three youngsters and a dog who told us very excitedly that they were going to the top of Tomyhoi Peak. We scrambled Tomyhoi a few years ago and Gili described the route to them and they were still keen. However, as we were coming down from Yellow Aster Butte we met them again, they had decided not to try Tomyhoi after all, and go for the little peak of Yellow Aster Butte instead, probably not a bad decision.

Mt Baker everywhere you look

Mt Baker everywhere you look

We stashed my heavy backpack at the intersection and went for the hike to the summit. Neil was already asleep and missed the summit completely. On the way back, after picking up my backpack Neil hiked a small section of the trail impressing everyone who walked by. We had a short lunch break since the flies were already starting to bug us again. I felt my backpack was very heavy so Gili took some of the gear to lighten my load.

Getting to the summit of Yellow Aster Butte

Getting to the summit of Yellow Aster Butte

Neil fell asleep again on the last section of the trail and was still asleep when we reached the car, a little bit after 2:30pm and almost exactly 24 hours since we had left our car the day before. He slept a little bit more, but when he woke up he realized the flies were bugging him so he climbed into his car seat all ready to go.

We both didn’t feel like making the traditional detour to Bellingham for Mexican food and stocking up at Trader Joe’s. After a short stop in the supermarket in Sumas, we had a quick border crossing where we all got to use our Canadian passports for the first time and were back in Vancouver in time for dinner. We stopped by Sal y Lemon for good old Mexican food, so despite not stopping in Bellingham we still got our share of yummy Mexican food.

It was a great weekend, amazing views and no big epics to report, sometimes things just go smoothly…

Leading the way...

Leading the way…

Posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Hiking & Scrambling, Trip Reports, Western USA | Leave a comment