Before we left Lazy Bend Campground near Estacada, OR, we drove our tow car to Olallie Lake, a scenic area east of Portland in Mt. Hood National Forest -- and where Season and Lee want us to spend a long weekend with them and their boys. The lake is beautiful, but the last two miles of the trip are on an unimproved gravel road ... and we’re thinking it’s too bumpy for all the systems in our motor home. So we may have to go to plan B with them.
However, it was great to see the area. In 1995, Jim started a five-day, 50-mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail from nearby Breiten Bush Lake, just four miles from Olallie Lake.
Tuesday we drove north to Washington’s Seaquest State Park, 50 miles west of Mt. St. Helens. The campground is full of Douglas Fir trees so big Jim and I together would not be able to stretch our arms around them. A side note: It took us over an hour to level our rig at our campsite. Luckily for us, we got to the park early in the day and did not have an audience; it’s embarrassing to drive the rig up on the levels, then drive them off, reposition the rig and the levelers, repeat, repeat, repeat while Jim and I are trying to be civil to each other -- and while neighbors roast hot dogs and watch. Or worse, stroll over and start advising.
Wednesday (July 4th) started with a stop at the Mt. St. Helens Visitor’s Center just across the street from our campground. There are four visitor centers on State Route 504 (also called the Spirit Lake Highway), which is the approach to the west side of Mt. St. Helens. We hit all of them. I think I finally have a basic understanding of what happened on May 18, 1980: (besides the basic fact that Mt. St. Helens, the youngest and most active volcano in the Cascade mountains essentially blew up): An earthquake caused the north face of Mt. St. Helens to collapse, which caused a massive landslide. Then the volcano erupted, sending smoke, steam and debris ten miles into the air. The combination of power, fire, melted ice and snow, rock, soil and dirt created a massive force that leveled trees as far away as 17 miles from the mountain and sent a debris slide down nearby streams as far away as Interstate 5 -- 52 miles away.
|Jim and Cooper on an Olallie Lake Pier, with Mt. Jefferson in the background.|
|Our campsite at Seaquest State Park in Washington. We’re about 50 mils due west of Mt. St. Helens between the tiny towns of Silver Lake, WA and Toutle, WA.|
|I have never seen foxglove growing in the wild, but they are all over the roadsides to Olallie Lake and on the way to Mt. St Helens. Jim said they were all over the forests he worked in as an Oregon forest ranger.|
|Here’s Jim among the Douglas firs at Seaquest State Park.|