Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ptarmigan Ridge 9/12-9/13 2009

Backpacking trip to Yellow Aster Butte was something I was looking forward to since the beginning of the summer but the weather's been very uncooperative lately. Sunny during the week but turning in rainfest as soon as Friday comes. I postponed the trip twice due to stormy forecast. Then finally a sunny weekend came - but all of the people who wanted to go already had different commitments.

Panorama Baker

With the amount of stress I was dealing with lately (my Mom being very sick) I really needed to get out of the house, enjoy the simplicity of life in wilderness, and let the nature help me to relax a little.

Evening sets in

Chad saw how miserable I was in last few weeks and despite his fear of bears suggested that we still go. Now that it was only the two of us, I had to reconsider the logistics of the expedition. Yellow Aster Butte is a spectacular destination with tremendous views, tarns reflection surrounding peaks, and sweet little scramble to the true summit. It is also the only place in Washington State I ever saw a bear and on the top of that the first mile of the trail is rather steep. Not being able to split the weight of group gear among seven people as originally planned, I was worried that Chad's knees would not do well on the steep part.


Than I remembered recent trip to Ptarmigan Ridge and cool little camping spot we saw about 3.5 miles in the hike where my favorite volcano, Mt. Baker makes the primary view. And the new plan was born.

The weekend turned even better than forecast predicted. We hiked in under clear sky with all the views available. And we were not alone. The trail saw hundreds of visitors that weekend. According to the trail register that was only one other group camping who headed ahead of us and their planned camping spot was further than ours, yet there still was this little bity feeling inside me, making me wonder if the spot I had in mind would be open.

Water stop

Just as we approached the last stream crossing we run into a couple of day hikers who took one nalgene bottle of water between the two of them. At this point they were completely out, and 3.5 miles away from their car. We were about to filter our water for the night anyway so we filled their bottle as well. Hopefully they learned their lesson and won't run into the same problem in the future.

Night time

Anyway it was a great feeling when finally after a hot 3.5 miles I peeked over the hillside, and found the area empty. Quickly I descended the last few hundred feet off trail to claim our weekend's living room. About 5 minutes later, another couple of backpackers arrived. They found a nice spot little further on the plateau.


The rest of the trip was filled with surprisingly warm evening, beautiful sunset, star gazing, goats sighting, no bears to be seen, tons and tons of blueberries, and that all in a great company of my husband and amazing majestic mountains.

This adventure trully couldn't turn better.

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