If you read my last blog post (July 23), you may recall that Thor, Bear dog, and I were caught in a thunderstorm and shower as we set out on the Yellow Aster Trail, so we defaulted to a lower altitude ramble along the wild Nooksack River. The following week, the skies cleared and beckoned us for another shot at one of our favorite hikes, to the lovely mountain tarns in Yellow Aster Meadow.
About an hour’s drive east of Bellingham on the Mt. Baker Highway, we take a left at the equipment maintenance shed at Twin Lakes Road. Then it’s a very bumpy, potholed gravel road winding through fir forest for 4.5 miles to the trailhead. The trail switchbacks through open meadows and mostly forest until it opens out into high mountain meadows and rocky bluffs.
Bear dog leads the way.
Keep climbing through some interesting geological formations.
A snowmelt creek gurgling down from the butte provides a welcome break for hot, thirsty creatures…
It’s late July, and the snow is retreating from most of the mountaintops.
Looking down from the trail as we crest a high ridge, we can see our destination far below: the meadow and scattered tarns, still partly snow-covered.
After a steep scramble down a cliffside of zigzag switchbacks where Bear likes to sniff out marmot burrows (they were calling and mocking him from the boulders below), we arrive in the rocky meadow for a view of Mt. Shuksan.
We pick a lunch site beside a tarn that’s mostly snow-free.
Bear likes to wide and lie in the cool water, but he hates to swim — he’s just not built for it. Thor and I have a refreshing dip while Mr. Furface watches.
After enjoying our break, we climb back up the ridge and look over the other side to red-tinged Mt. Larrabee and the American Border Peak overlooking Tomyhoi Lake in the hidden bowl.
Bear leads the way back along the upper meadow.
Late afternoon sunlight casts a golden glow over the lower meadows as we bid adieu — for today. We’ll be back to take in the fall colors, if not before!
You will find The Rambling Writer’s blogs here on alternate Saturdays. Sara’s newest from Book View Cafe was recently released in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection. It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?” The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction.