Day 20: Mount St. Helen’s

This morning when we left our charming campground at Mt. Haven near Mt. Rainier, I found myself wishing we could stay a little longer…such a serene, beautiful place.  One night was not enough.  But alas, we had many places to go and see, and Mount St. Helen’s was waiting for us. Today might prove a bit more challenging, as the morning greeted us with strong winds and plenty of rain (which is actually very good news).  After a good breakfast at the base of the mountain at a cute place called “Patty’s Place,” we were off. The long, winding road up to the Johnston Observatory atop Mount Saint Helen’s was challenging for Greg to drive…very, very windy.  We noticed along the way that there were lots of tree stumps.  We couldn’t tell if they had been cut down, burned down or the victims of some other force of nature.  We would soon find out the answer to the mystery.  Once we finally made it to the Observatory, parked the RV and endeavored to make the short walk to the building, we were surprised by how hard it was to make it to our destination.  With the heavy rain and strong winds working against us, it felt like each step we took yielded no forward movement. The Champ grabbed me and forged our way to the building…had it not been for him, I might still be standing there, being tossed about by Mother Nature. (Sorry, no pictures to post…snapping pics wasn’t going to happen in the wind tunnel.)

Glad we made it to the Observatory.  There was a very interesting presentation by a Park Ranger describing the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s back in 1980 (which I only vaguely remember….guess I was too young haha :/  )  Then watching the movie about this massive volcano made me wonder when she’s going to blow again.  The Observatory was encased in 360 degrees of windows, so, in theory, the view of Mount St. Helen’s should have been spectacular.  However, there was zero visibility.  So, that was disappointing. Every time I watched one of these National Park movies (including Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier), I found myself wondering if today would be the next historical day that the eruption would take place.  Obviously, since I am sitting here comfortably in front of my computer, today was not the day.

By the way, the answer to the tree stump mystery: those stumps are remnants of the 1980 eruption.  All these many years later, they are tangible evidence of the explosion of gases that occurred after the avalanche.

After Mount St. Helen’s, we needed to make tracks!  Greg made us a reservation for a zip line tour about 2 hours away at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington along the Columbia River Gorge. With the road ahead pretty difficult to navigate through the wind and rain, we had to drive slower than normal, and wondered if we would make it there in time.

Thankfully, we made it with only a couple minutes to spare. So glad we made it!  It was a great time!

We were the clearly the oldest ones in our group…but we didn’t feel like it!  We felt like a couple of teenagers!

Today was lots of fun and full of several challenges.  So glad we experienced them together. Farewell Washington!  Hello Oregon!

A full moon welcomes us to Oregon
A full moon welcomes us to Oregon