Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mount St. Hellens - Washington

This was a travel day. We drove about eighty miles to Toutle, Washington. Toutle is a very small town, in the foothills of Mount St. Helens.
We are staying on the High School and Elementary School property, a large meadow near the baseball fields, for a daily donation of five dollars per rig. The schools are for the district, they have a lot of buses to bring the children to school.

We are not very far from Silver Lake. The kayakers should be happy at this outing. At the house next to our camping area they sell cherries for two dollars per pound. It is for the benefit of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I bought two pounds of yellow and two pounds of black cherries. They are really ripe and sweet. One pound is gone and I have to be careful and not overdo it. There are consequences.

At 5:00 AM I enjoyed this view. I went back to bed again.

A large group went kayaking and some members of the group visited the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in Silverlake.
In the morning I drove to the library in Castle Rock and early afternoon I went to the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. They have displays and mounted newspaper articles about the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helen. From the terrace one has a very good view of the mountain.

My next stop was the Forest Learning Center. They have a film about the disaster. Displays show the landscape before and after the eruption. 

It is also part logging museum. 

Displays are very informative.

The inside forest looks almost real. 

Weyerhaeuser planted 18.4 million seedlings after the area was cleared of logs and debris. Those trees are now about 75 feet tall and can be harvested by 2020.
There are many logging trucks on the road.

All but two women went today to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. They stayed behind because of their dogs.
On the way we stopped at an overlook. There was fog and I thought we would not see much. When we came to a higher elevation the fog was gone.

The observatory was built after the eruption and faces the north side of Mount St. Helens, the side which blew away. In the crater a cone is steadily growing and eventually the crater will disappear.

The movie at the observatory was very interesting. Before the blast cameras were set up and it shows the mountain exploding and trees and rocks just being thrown all over the valley.
In the inside of the observatory are many displays. This tree was torn apart and one can see from which side the blast came.

Wildflowers are growing everywhere.

Among the stumps wild flowers are growing and little trees.

We also stopped at Coldwater Lake.

In the evening I drove to Longview to a free concert in Sacajawea Park. A band was singing and playing Johnny Cash’s songs. Some of the WIN group went first for a baby back rib dinner, and came later. The parking was all gone by then. 

According to Forbes Magazine this park is the sixth most beautiful park in the US. The music was very good.

Seven of us drove, in two cars, 85 miles to Lava Canyon for a four hour strenuous hike. We left at 7:30 AM. Arlene had to be thrown out of bed and she looks it.

There are narrow places on the trail and it can be dangerous. The trail has 1,400 feet difference in elevation. Going down was easier.

The benches on the trail are enormous. It appears they were built for Big Foot, who lives around here.

Displays along the route are very educational.

We saw several beautiful waterfalls. A wooden bridge is near it.

At that point we are still full of vinegar.  

We came by another waterfall.

Walking across the swinging bridge was fun. Only one person walked gingerly across it.

The walking sticks were handy maneuvering the trail. 

Coming down the vertical forty foot ladder was not easy for some members of the group.

The swinging bridge is barely visible in the distance.

On the way home we stopped at an outlook where we saw Mount St. Helen from the south. The crater is not visible from that direction.

The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Lodge cooked breakfast for us this morning. They only asked for a donation. Normally they have breakfasts and dinners only in the winter. Since we bought a lot of cherries, apricots and blueberries from them, for their scholarship drive, and we are neighbors right now, they decided to do it for us. All but two of us went.
After the breakfast I drove to the Castle Rock Lavender Farm. 

They sell all kind of merchandise in connection with lavender, from honey to cookies. And of course they sell bundles of lavender. This young lady was preparing the bundles for sale. 

Four ladies were playing flutes. I sat for thirty minutes listening to the beautiful music.

From the farm I went to the library. I had to download a new McAffee Virus Protection which took almost an hour.
At the circle meeting we had Christmas in July. Jan, Donna B, Arlene and Lyn entertained us.

After the 5:00 PM circle meeting Lu cooked halibut and salmon for all of us. It was a hot day and it was no fun cooking in a hot motorhome. She had caught those fish. We all brought side dishes and dessert.
 After dinner we had a White Elephant Christmas Gift Exchange. Gifts could be taken away from people who picked up a gift from the table earlier. It was funny.
 Later a group greeted the full moon with a lot of noise. We have only one neighbor and he likes us. I believe he did not mind the Indian dancing and singing. 

This is our last day in Toutle. Everybody did their own thing. Some people caught up with visiting the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center or went shopping. This was a wonderful outing.
We had a few drops of rain today. Everybody hooked up their cars to the motorhomes, in case it rains tomorrow morning.

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