Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mount Saint Helens 2013

Trip to Mount st. Helens  July 25, 20013

Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the beautiful state we live in, growing up in Washington we would often travel to see Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, Grand Tetons, Oregon Coast while each of these places are amazing and beautiful. We would drive right by Mt. Saint Helens, it wasn't until 10 years ago that I visited for the first time.  For the last 10 years I have tried to get my parents to go, well we finally made it.

                                                   Silver Lake

The view from the first visitor center going up the mountain...there is a $5 fee for this center my advise is to
skip this stop and continue on up the Mountain until you get to the Forest Education Center this is free of charge and very informative about the reforesting after the eruption, how they recovered the trees. 

     From this stop you can view elk, they have telescopes....we had fun looking but the only one we seen was the statue in the parking lot.

Looking up the valley.
                                                    Wild flowers

                           This is were the mud flow filled in the valley..about a 150 feet higher now that before the eruption, This were the Elk love to roam lots of new plants and grass to eat.

Pretending to fly a helicopter over the blast zone....

Darren took this picture of deer beside the road. The drive up to Johnson Ridge is very is amazing how fast the forest has grown back.

 The view from Johnson Ridge, the canyon made by
the river is 200 feet deep, helps put into prospective how big things are. Below is Spirit Lake. 

This squirrel was enjoying a feast of Alpine Lupine seeds pods....

Darren heard this noise...we followed it  can you see what was making the noise?

Breathtaking wildflowers...ever wonder who weeds these flower beds?

We talked to the Park Ranger and he show us this hike it is 8.4 miles and go to only natural arch in Washington that has been found so far. This one was only found because of the blast knocking down the forest that it became visible.  It is on the Coldwater trail.

In places the trail is only 12 inches wide with a 1,000 foot drop...nighttime hiking is not recommended. Took these pictures on telephoto to show the arch. You can see the forest that is nothing but toothpicks left.

                                                                           Even the bees have found the flowers up here.

We head the 56 miles back to the bottom ..being it was getting to be dinner time we found this cute little restaurant on our way.

The view from our table...the boys had elk burgers and mom and I shared a patty-melt.

Spectacular roses
Someone left there truck parked here a little to long....tree growing out of the cab and tree through the bed of truck.
Day 2....
            Another sunny day in SW Washington..We went to the South side of the Mt. Saint Helens our plan was to see the Tale of two Forest, hike Ape cave and visit Lahar lookout, hike Lava Canyon. The ride up there was so pretty lots of trees, lakes and views. Sparking waters!

Tale of two Forest...This is where 2000 years ago the Eruption was flowing lava. As it flowed down the mountain it encased the trees. Now the trees have decayed away leaving casts of the old forest.

 Going down to the tunnel....or not

The boys climbed through the tunnels left by the can see the outline of the bark in the stone.  
Was a tight crawl, in the dark.
 I see a light coming....
 It is Darren making it out.

Anyone else down there???

On to Ape caves...This is a lava tube for the eruption 2000 years ago.

The entrance to the cave...

Here we all are, ready for our adventure!!!

 It get really cold down in the cave....Brrr

 Notice the bolder stuck in the top part of the cave....
 Dustin and Darren at the End of the tube.
Back to the light.....

Had a picnic lunch with some interesting looking people....

I don't know what kind of Duck this is...Maybe a Bobbyduck?
 The Lahar lookout is where the glacier melted during the eruption and mud and water flowed down this valley,

You can see the ash blowing up the inside of rim....making some people think it is coming back to life.

 Just a few more miles to Lava Canyon....

This hike begins with the wide, paved Lava Canyon Interpretive Trail, which leads to a viewing platform overlooking a stunning canyon-a deep, jagged cut through a thick layer of ancient lava. From the viewing area, the trail loops down to the canyon rim in a long series of steep (for wheelchair users) switchback turns offering excellent views. The Muddy River cuts through the heart of this basalt canyon, which was scoured clean by the rushing mudflows during the 1980 eruption. The main Lava Canyon Trail continues east along the wild gorge of the Muddy River. You won't find grand vistas or sweeping panoramas here. You will find a remarkable lesson in geological change-this valley was carved in part by a massive lahar, or volcano-induced mudflow of massive proportions.

Start off your hike with a warm-up along the 0.5-mile-long Lava Canyon Interpretive Trail. This barrier-free trail is designed to be accessible to wheelchairs and anyone with mobility issues. The interpretive trail offers an excellent lesson in the awesome power of nature. Numerous benches line the route, offering welcome rest stops on the climb up the 8-percent grade back to the trailhead.

From the end of the paved route, head out along the main trail. The trail starts on a few metal stairs through the fields of broken lava, then leads across a springy suspension bridge. From the far end of the bridge, descend a steep 0.5 mile to the very edge of the heart of the Lava Canyon Gorge. A long ladder leads down about 30 feet to the gorge floor.

Walk the bottom of the gorge as the trail winds through clumps of fern and bracken and alongside the small creek. The trail soon loops back out of the inner gorge and continues down the valley, staying up the canyon wall above the inner gorge.

A bit over a mile past the suspension bridge, you'll find a small side trail marked "The Ship," referring to a tall fin of lava. A stand of trees atop the fin appear to be masts rising from a ship of rock. The spur trail leads to the crest of this formation, offering views of a series of small waterfalls in the lower Muddy River canyon.

The main trail continues down the canyon, weaving through dense forest growth along the steep canyon wall. The exposure here is extreme at times, as the path runs along the edge of the gorge now and then. Use extreme caution. The trail leaves the forest and bursts out on a broad plain of rock and flood debris. This is the junction of Smith Creek and Muddy Creek. Turn back here.
Driving Directions: From Cougar, drive east on Forest Road 90 just 1 mile beyond the Swift Dam, and turn left (north) onto FR 83. Drive about 12 miles to the road end and trail head.

What the sign said we would see.....and the warnings

And the trail to the falls

Looks easy.... Sign by boy told there were 3 loops...easy, moderate, and difficult. Ok, lets take the easy as
Mom new hip is only 9 months old, the boys were going for moderate and we would meet back at car, Sounds like a great plan. However....
 The boys run ahead and I follow.....

And Mom and Dad follow me....
 The mudside from the 1980 eruption cleared all the trees end uncovered the lava flow form 2000 years ago. 

So thinking Mom and Dad were on easy trail I followed the boys...
 I took pictures to show them why it was not a good idea for them on this trail 

A 20 foot drop down a rock....


A long ways straight down......

Interesting rock formations

Finally, I caught up with the boys at the suspension bridge ...

 Come on Mom this is fun!!!

 Okay, in my defense, I have a fear of suspension bridges, was frightened badly when I was about 3 years old. So this one is 150 feet wide and 200 feet down. But when I looked over it seem like a 1000 feet down and miles across... finally I just closed my eyes and walked straight and made it. Turned around and who do I see coming Mom and Dad  I could not believe it.
 Dad made it it is Moms turn, you can do it!!

The falls under the bridge.

the falls looking the other way.

The last part of the hard trail

A ball of mud that roll down the mud a snowball
We picked huckleberries the rest of the way up the tail through the woods. Thankful for helpimg hand that safely got us all back to the car.

Only Dustin and Dad would get excited over a shot up stop sign.


  1. Awesome! I'm so glad you finally posted some photos! Its so cool and I hope you take me there next summer.

  2. What a fun three days we had........It was so beautiful everywhere we went!!!!