Yellow Astor Butte yesterday, up off the Mount Baker Highway in the Mount Baker Wilderness. It was a hike--and only eight or nine miles total. It's a classic on that highway, and I've never done it---it was time. The sky was Joni Mitchell blue, the views as long as...um, coming up empty here--my tortured youth? Pinocchio's nose? a chick flick? I don't know--long, big, far views. That's two weekends in a row now of great weather and clear skies. Suddenly, I feel fortunate.
I made it out early, 6 AM, and so had the trail to myself all morning, but many many followed. I spent a good three hours up top, wandering the snow fields, climbing the butte, checking out the wildflowers. Columbine, Cow parsnip, avalanche lilly, tiger lilly, purple asters, lupine. I whistled in a marmot for about ten minutes, getting all sorts of poses. WTA featured Yellow Astor Butte as one to find wildflowers this month.
There's still a whole lot of snow, and so I think it will only get better in the next couple weeks. But the bug count is just right to do this now, and the snow is kind of fun to march around in--like hiking through a smoothie. It seems like I spend more time in the snow in July and August than I do in the winter--that probably needs to change.
From the top of the Butte, you can see amazing views of Mount Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, the whole Welcome Pass-Excelsior Mountain ridge, Goat Peak, Church Mountain, Mount Baker Resort....lots. It seems like it'd be pretty awesome to sit on the butte at night, with a clear sky and full moon, which we had this weekend. I'm getting a bit of a backpacking jones these days.
For more pics, click Yellow Astor Butte.
Earlier in the week I went up to Fragrance Lake, swam, and jogged down. Fragrance Lake is awesome for swimming--in the middle of the lake it seems like there is an amphitheater of trees looking down at you.
My running just doesn't seem to be improving fast. I'm not stressed about it--I'm actually enjoying not being stressed about it. I could do more stretching, but I do get out. Every time I try to run, it's very awkward, as there is no flexibility in the lower back. As long as I can find my way on trails, and stay relatively active, I'm fine. I think a change of pace/focus is good for me right now. Not sure about Where's Waldo--I waffle on that one from day to day.