31 07 2011

That pretty much sums up the weekend.  Two and a half days of explosive fun in Bend, then two days with two different active volcanoes.  My little rock-loving heart is just bubbling over with delight.  🙂  Oh, and I didn’t shower for three days.

First stop was Bend to visit our friends.  Two of Justin’s good pals got married on Saturday and we just couldn’t miss it.  It was the cutest down-home wedding ever, out in Shevlin Park, not too big, super quick ceremony and rowdy party.  So fun.  Open bar outside with a local blue-grass band after dinner.  And I fit right in with my farmer’s tan matching everyone else’s farmer’s tans, shoes off, dancing like I had a bee up my skirt.  Sunday took a bit of recovery after the foot-stomping great time we had.

After time with my sisters and other pals, we hit the road Monday morning back north.  But not home – heck no!  I had a couple days off work and we headed for my favorite geological masterpiece: volcanoes!!  No, we didn’t get to see an eruption, though its on my list.  But we did get to see the aftermath of St Helen’s big blast back in 1980.  Unfortunately, bad weather came to visit the same day we did. But I did get a few shots right before the clouds rolled in to completely block any hope for a view and to dump rain on us.

Crater of Mt St Helens

The crater with the missing chunk that got blown off, and the mud flow and ashes that came out of it

Lava cones in Mt St Helens

New lava cones inside the crater of Helens

We explored the visitor’s center at Johnston’s Ridge Observatory then headed back down.  We stopped at a trailhead and took a quick hike along Hummocks Trail, which was quite beautiful.  The hummocks are simply piles of ash from the eruption that have been eroded down to hills by the creeks and streams.  I imagine it’ll look like Oregon’s Painted Hills in another couple thousand years.  Well, except another eruption will probably change the landscape even further long before that.

Hummocks Trail at Mt St Helens

The Hummocks Trail - eroded layers of ash

As we descended the lovely volcano, we started weighing our options for our over-night accommodations.  We had a few choices right outside the National Monument boundaries,  but they didn’t seem very promising.  Or we could suck it up and stay at the State Park camp grounds.  This option was not very appealing either, but our preferred dispersed camping just wasn’t a reasonable possibility.  We would have to go too far.  So we paid the absurd amount and picked a spot amongst the RVs and luxury tents.  I was designated as the tent assembler (yay!) and Justin built a fire with our meager firewood.  Soon we were propped up by the fire, laughing, roasting weenies, and enjoying the cool evening air.  Then we busted out the marshmallows and I was in true hog heaven!

Camping in the state park

Campfire and weenie roast!

Marshmallows around the campfire


The next morning, after a delightful sleep in our little tent, I made a quick trip to the bathhouse, discovering that the lack of showering mixed with the humidity of the west side and the rain clouds was making me look AWESOME.  My hair looked like it was trying for dreads.  I scared the other lady in there when I laughed out loud, dried my hands and left.

Back at camp we had to assess the situation.  With so much cloud cover, we ditched the idea of a second attempt at seeing Helens.  Out came the maps and a new route was planned:  Mount Rainier!!  We’re already pretty close, why not hit up the tallest mountain in Washington?!  Oh, and its also an active volcano – yippie!  So off we went.  And though our visit was too short to really do much – we literally drove straight through the park with one pitstop in Paradise – the views were pretty rockin’ awesome.  Justin was kind enough to pull over to let me investigate several waterfalls tumbling down from the melting glaciers.

Christine Falls, Mt Rainier

Christine Falls actually has two parts, with the first drop to the right and above this one

Narada Falls, Mt Rainier

The massive height of Narada Falls can't even be fully seen here - crazy!

Surrounding peaks of Mt Rainier

The stupid clouds prevented me from ever seeing the top of the 14,000 ft giant

Despite the fact that we spent more time in the car than out of it, the extra long weekend was a great escape, however short it might have been.  I, for one, had an absolute blasty-blast!  (hahahahaha…….haha…….ha…)  The additional humidity, wind, spray from waterfalls, and a touch of rain had left my hair absolutely out of control.  I was afraid it was going to attack innocent by-standers, then decided that would be awesome and left it alone.  When we got home, I realized I smelled at splendid as I looked.  I love weekends in the woods!!  Who wants to come along next time?!

Now then, where to next?!




2 responses

31 07 2011

Hey, girl, I read every post and just love hearing your stories! Keep them coming! Love, Ashlee’s Mom

1 08 2011

Thanks, Ellen! I wish I had been able to go to Country Fair with yall – I heard that was QUITE the day!! I miss you! 😀

Give it to me straight -

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