Monday, September 17, 2012

Gold Run Pass 08-26-2012

While enjoying the beautiful scenery along the Yellow Aster Butte trail but also feeling guilty for not expending the energy to reach the YAB high point it seemed like a fair trade off to visit Gold Run Pass before heading back to the car.

Gold Run Pass is accessible via following the 'uphill' path at the obvious (and signed) trail juction with the YAB trail.

YAB is to the left (flatish route) and Gold Run Pass is straight ahead (or right-ish, or just plain uphill).

The good news is that once you pass the junction it is a very short distance to Gold Run Pass.

The bad news is that there isn't a whole lot of gold at Gold Run Pass, nor is there much room to run.  Similarly, the views are 'nice', but they aren't 'gold'.  Pewter maybe, but not gold.

As you make that last steep ascent to the pass you may be able to see happy hikers living the good life on top of Yellow Aster Butte (or YAB's false summit more likely). 

As I approached the pass it sounded as if there were kids reading stories.  How odd would that be?  Well, that is exactly what I found:  a young boy and girl sitting alongside the trail, reading a story out loud.

Once within conversation range, my brain wouldn't cooperate with my voicebox. 

The kids looked at me.  I looked at them.

My mouth opened... my brain shut down and my voice box curiously questioned them:

"By any chance do you happen to be Hansel and Gretel?"

They laughed - which is a good thing - since the only other possible outcome would have been for them to start screaming bloody murder and run off up the trail to their parental units who just happened to be cooking up a batch of macaroni and cheese at the Pass.

Instead of screaming and running, they just resumed reading.  I met their parents up at the pass (less than 20 feet away) and they offered me some mac & cheese for lunch.  Clearly they thought I might have low blood sugar or that I was mentally unstable.  Neither of which are true (blog author's opinion of course).

They had camped down by Tomyhoi Lake the previous two nights and were heading back home but stopped for lunch at the pass.

My inquiry about Tomyhoi Lake with them led to a suggestion that I hike down two steep switchbacks to where the lake would come into view.  Despite the protest from my leg muscles, I did in fact descend three switchbacks to a nice view of Tomyhoi Lake and the peaks above it.

Looks like a nice lake that I'll probably never go visit.  'click'... good enough for me.

Advice from the Kraft Lunch family is that setting up camp in the meadows above the lake is a much better option than trying to find a good site at the lake itself.  The trail between the meadow and the lake is reported not well defined... many dead ends and many downed trees which were difficult to naviage with the backpacks loaded.  Camp in the meadows and then head down to explore the lake with lighter day (or fanny) packs instead. 

Here is my route map for the day.  Note the short spur that deviates off to Gold Run Pass and the short distance of the three switchbacks I descended to view the lake.

 This little guy was glad to see me and chattered away while I captured his pic in between lake photos.

The trail to Gold Run Pass is well marked and easy to follow.

The trail to Yellow Aster Butte, Gold Run Pass and Tomyhoi Lake all start at the same trailhead located about five or six miles up the Twin Lakes Road.  Twin Lakes Road connects with the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542) right next to the WA Dept Of Transportation Maintence facility about 50 miles east of Bellingham. 

Twin Lakes road is well signed where it connects with Hwy 542 and the trail head is well marked by signs and lots of parked cars. 
Happy Hiking!

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