Yellow Aster Butte

This weekend I did something that I have been avoiding for some time now…I promised to go on a backpacking trip with the boy and stuck to my word.  On Saturday morning we embarked on our weekend getaway.  After packing our packs Friday night all that was left to do was enjoy a fueling breakfast at the Marysville IHOP (it was the perfect hiking fuel) and grab a few odds and ends at Walmart.  Our luxuriously long breakfast and errands didn’t get us to our destination until around 12:30 pm with the sun already high and strong in the sky.

Hike up
Mt. Baker from the trail

With my ~30lb backpack on we set forth on the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead in Mt. Baker National Forest (my first national forest ever??).  The first 2.0 miles are steep but shaded. At this point I wasn’t sure I could make the full 3.4 miles to our destination.  I was sweating a good bit (though the boy sweats a whole lot more than me) and the pack was feeling heavier.  But after 2.0 miles you reach a Y in the trail and the trail levels off most of the rest of the way and opens up so that you are literally walking along the edge of the mountain, with wide open views of Mt. Baker and the surrounding North Cascade mountain range, while having tall and beautiful mountain grass and flowers completely surrounding you.  There was not a cloud in the sky but crystal blue skies and a gentle breeze that made it very pleasant.  There were portions of snow caps that we walked over fairly easily with our trekking poles and cooled us down just slightly.  It was beautiful.  We rested at the top to take in the breathtaking views and snack before heading down a short way into the valley where we were to set up our camp for the night.

Valley where we set up camp
Pretty little lakes in the valley…and snow!!!
Baker from the valley

I immediately kicked off the hiking boots and my pack, got out my sleeping pad and laid in the sun, drinking a ton of water and snacks for a good hour or two.  The boy set up the tent.  I got water from the glacial creek in his water filter system to ensure us a steady clean water supply.  He got out his campfire stove.  I was enthralled with his campfire stove with the little fuel tank, heating coils and metal windbreak.  He heated up the water for the mac and cheese.  I brought the mac and cheese.  We added cut up summer sausage and dehydrated milk powder and finished off two boxes between us.  He cleaned up after dinner.  I set up our sleeping bags.  He strung up our food in a bear hang.  I made us peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate (still love how he loves this but never had it before he met me).  We both drank hot chocolate on our pads to watch the coincidental meteor shower and I saw my first ever shooting star (multiple ones).  We both slept hard.

Our mac and cheese dinner

Sunday morning we woke up to bright sunshine and sore backs.  We took our time eating a shared bowl of oatmeal and coffee and then broke down the tent and repacked our packs.  The only challenge for the hike that day was climbing out of the valley.  Even Bryan said that he was a little worried about that trail because it was very steep, narrow, and windy.  I guess I just refused to think about that on the way out.  The rest was all downhill, fun and much faster than our way in.  We were filthy back in the car and it was hot!!!  We stopped at Nooksack Falls to see the beautiful waterfall and then booked it to Everett to have a great recovery lunch at Baja Fresh (baja burrito for him, baja bowl for me with all of the good stuff).

Nooksack Falls on the way home
Shrimp and steak baja bowl with rice, beans, achiote squash, fresh avocado and corn salsa. Perfect recovery meal.

I can tell you that this was quite the experience for me.  I really enjoyed the time spent with Bryan and how excited it got him.  We had a lot of time to just talk and marvel at nature’s beauty.  A shower never felt as good as when I got back.  It would be something I would do again, but I have also stressed that this is not something I will be doing every weekend.  I had a blast though!!


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