August 2003

We started off the month with an impromptu trip. Friday night we were talking and decided we wanted to go somewhere fun for the weekend. I got on the phone and found us a hotel in Kelso, WA. We got up Saturday morning and headed out for Mt. St. Helens.

I hadn't been there since shortly after the eruption in 1980. Well, aside from driving by it when we moved up here. Dan had never been and had been itching to get there for a long time.

We drove up on Saturday and stopped to get a sandwich before we got into the park. We stopped at the first visitor center in Silver Lake and watched the movie and looked at all the exhibits. Our plan was to see all the visitor centers on the main road Saturday and then do the other side of the mountain on Sunday.

We stopped and ate our lunch at the Hoffstadt Bluffs visitor center, but we didn't go in, instead heading up to the main center at Johnson's Ridge. It was really nice. The weather wasn't perfect, there were some clouds, but it kept it cool enough that we weren't uncomfortable.

We listened to the ranger talk at the Johnson's Ridge Visitor Center and looked around at the scenery. We were fascinated by the hummocks in the mud flow zone. Would love to have had more time and energy to hike out there and take a closer look. Maybe next time.

We looked around at Coldwater Lake and back at Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Centers. We bought a hurricane lamp made from Mt. St. Helen's ash glass at the visitor center. I really like it. We never buy things when we travel and later I always regret not having a little something to remember our trip by. I have tons of souveniers from places Dan has been because he brings me a little something as a gift. I have things from the Salem, Mass witch museum, from Moab, from Iowa, from Chicago... but I wasn't on the trips so they don't bring back memories for me. I love them, but would also like some things from our trips. I also got a little tiny snowglobe with the mountain in it and added it to my snowglobe collection. Maybe that's what I can get on our trips. Don't they sell those little snow globes everywhere?

We headed south to Kelso and checked in to our hotel. I was pooped out and Dan went out to get us some burgers nearby. We ate in the room and watched a pay per view movie. A comedy, but it wasn't funny enough for me to remember what it was now. :)

The next morning we went out and looked at the southern part of the park. The neatest thing we saw was an old forest that had been covered in lava thousands of years ago. The trees decayed away and left lava tubes you can crawl through. We chickened out and didn't crawl through, but Dan went in a little bit. Next time we'll bring flashlights and wear jeans instead of shorts. :)

We drove up the east side of the park and explored around there too. We drove in and checked out Windy Ridge. You can really see the blast pattern from this side of the park. Spirit Lake is scary looking. Can't imagine what old Harry Truman thought when he looked out his front window as the mountain blew.

We headed north again and up through Tacoma to home. It was a fun trip and not too bad on the schedule as we were only gone one night. We should do those trips more often. :)

On August 16th, Dan wanted to get out and do some hiking. I made some phone calls for him and found a geology hike that was happening out of Paradise at Mt. Rainier. The weather didn't really cooperate for the best views, but he headed out on Saturday morning and went up to the big mountain. He did the Skyline hike in the morning and then the ranger hike in the afternoon. I think he had a good time, even though the clouds don't even seem to cooperate when we go to Rainier. :)




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