Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mt. St. Helen's Vacation

Duane and Anne invited me to join them for a little spring break get-away. I debated because my calendar was full of all sorts of volunteer obligations. But after making soup for my friend, Jean, who had bunion surgery, soup for the Wednesday Family Promise Dinner, soup for the Normal Hill Churches Lenten Luncheons, and dinner for Fred and Karen, I decided I was entitled to a some time away from the kitchen. Besides I did five loads of laundry for a sweet young family with a two-week old baby. I didn't sleep much last night, just fussing about disappointing Betty who'd asked me to serve soup today and typing up minutes from the BOG meeting. I kept saying to myself, "you'll be able to sleep in the car." And I did today, with a little sunshine streaming through the window. Duane chose a route he'd never driven before. We had lunch in Othello and then headed toward Yakima. We enjoyed driving through the agriculture areas, watching workers apple prune trees, and checking wires for hops. I appreciated the farmers who identified the kind of apple trees. Each variety grows differently and Duane and I notice how short the trees were - maybe to making picking that much easier. Some tree branches are trellised on wires. The trip over White Pass delighted us with views of snow capped mountains and eventually Mt. Rainier - the top buried in soft clouds. We got out for pictures and it was so warm. Anne thought it was more difficult to breathe, but I think it's only about 1,000' higher than Moscow's elevation.

 We have a great room at the Best Western - really comfy beds and lots of space for computers and TV watching. Even the remote control is stored in a little bag with wipes to get rid of any germs.

Colin and I got quite comfortable with our electronic devices.....

Friday we drove to Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument via Toledo, WA. Anne grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and got really excited when she saw the signs for Toledo. The small town seemed delightful, painted walls and all.
 The trip to Mount St. Helens was beautiful. We'd hoped the clouds would totally disappear, but they never did. However, we were able to walk outdoors and enjoy the 50 degree weather without our umbrellas. The small hikes provided lots of time to enjoy the wetlands, be awed by the new landscape and all the loving attempts to preserve the land around the volcano. As devastating as the volcano was, the gift of nature is that it rebuilds itself. Out of chaos comes order and new beauty.

 Colin loved walking in the snow at one of the  viewpoints that had not been plowed.

Throughout the Monument we saw evidence of the $9 Million Reforestation Project by Weyerhauser.  Looking at these trees made us feel a little dizzy - like our eyes were not quite in focus.  
 The clouds are beautiful, but prevented us from seeing the top of Mount St. Helens
 We were disappointed because the Forest Learning Center was closed near Coldwater Lake

I found the frog sounds fascinating.

 Lots of maps and displays throughout  the Mount St. Helens Monument

Duane appeared disappointed that he could not get the great pictures he'd hoped to see around the mountain. But we enjoyed just being in nature and learning about the historic events of May, 1980. Colin carefully chose his souvenirs with the $8.00 Dad gave him - a bag of beautiful rocks, a medallion for his walking stick, and a coffee mug with pictures of the volcano.
 Nice use of our taxpayer's money - the boardwalks!

I really liked the hike around the visitor's center - lots of ducks and new life - are these lily pads springing up?

We had hoped to check out early and stay in the Tri Cities Saturday night, but we could not cancel our reservations at this lovely Best Western Hotel, so we tried to figure out what was close by that might be fun. We found some hiking ideas in Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It was a little chilly Saturday morning, but we managed to hike around this great refuge and see lots of ducks and a bald eagle.

Anne and Colin ran into someone with great binoculars and they were able to see a great horned owl. he also finished a little workbook so he got a badge and proudly wore it all day.

A highlight of the day was our lunch at MAC 'N MORE in Lacey. Anne loved the Potato Chip Nachos so much she wrote a review for the restaurant on the YELP website!

The rainy weather lent itself to staying in for the afternoon, watching Harry Potter movies non-stop on the ABC family channel, swimming, working out in the gym, and lots of napping, which I really enjoyed. Duane and I walked to Denny's and picked up salads for our dinner and yummy chocolate milk shakes. Colin spent lots of time playing Pokemon on his Ninentendo DS.

We left Chehalis early Sunday morning,  found winter weather over Snowqualmie Pass, but made it home in time for Colin to enjoy a play date with his friend, Zachary.  And I got to enjoy Bradleigh and Jacob's piano recital and John's birthday celebration!

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