This post was written at the end of September after a weekend visiting Mt. St. Helen for the first time (myself)
The winds shifted last week. It happened one evening the temperature dropped just enough to add a light sweater for the morning and evening commute. The rains followed on Sunday.
As we hiked a trail in the Mt. St. Helens Volcano Monument I heard Jordan’s “ah ha” and “welcome to the Pacific Northwest”
The tops of the trees caught most of the droplets rather than large clumps splattering all over us. We hiked the 2 1/2 mile each way in and out of the rain with extra oomph in our steps. Charlie especially with new energy as he zoomed passed us each time he would lag behind peeing and smelling trees and plants.
Tea and soup season is officially upon us. As much as I love autumn it does become troubleshooting when living full time in a van.
Over the weekend we journeyed up to Washington to Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
The Monument has three major locations and we hadn’t made a full plan. We had decided to have our first stop be at the Mt. St. Helens Visitor center on route highway 503. I had thought it would be information with maps, find out hiking trails and what to see. We had driven to it Friday night thinking we could find a spot to park for the night near it and we eventually decided to backtrack and park for the night at a Walmart parking lot. Saturday morning we drove back to the visitor center got some information and the park newspaper with a map and then backtracked again to head to the south side of the park.
From I5 take 503 and then Forest Road 83 to visit the Trail of Two Forest. An easy in boardwalk interpretive trail. (Take your flashlights on this one;))
We then went to Ape Cave exploring only the easy 1 1/2 hour portion of the cave. Be sure to bring your jackets and flashlights for this underground trail in a lava tube.
The only map we had might have slightly confused until talking to a ranger to set us in the right direction for the Lava Canyon Trail. This was a moderate hike with a suspension bridge. We kept to just the 1.4-mile loop trail rather than going on the more rugged in and out down in the canyon.
For Saturday night we found a place to disperse camp along FR 83. I always enjoy parking for the night in BML areas. A lot less of a hassle trying to find a place that will be safe and unsuspecting.
So we did have one thing happen in the middle of the night. Our CO2 alarm started chirping at us and realized our house battery wasn’t fully charged. This is a troubleshooting issue since we now live in the PNW, we have moved into fall which means the solar panels can’t do its job on the weekends.
Sunday we got ourselves up and headed down 90 and stopped at Pine Creek Information Center where we bought maps and met the man who had taken photographs when Mt. St. Helen had blown up. He showed us his photos and he told us the best parts of the park to explore for next time and what hike to explore for that day.
We went to Curly Creek Falls on FR 9039 off of 90. We hiked a good 3 hours having the trail mostly to ourselves. There were only three other hikers and about six mountain bikers.
It’s only about a 2-hour drive from Portland.