Mount St. Helens and into Oregon
We headed south in Washington towards Mount St. Helens. I-5 was much improved after we left the Seattle area. We decided to stay in Seaquest State Park, just off the I-5, opposite The Mount St. Helens Visitors’ Center. It was a relatively easy drive on a good road and we arrived in daylight to choose our site.
|Our choice of site at the end of the row|
|The Park - tall trees, very little underbrush|
We drove over to the visitors’ Centre, but it was 10 to 4pm, almost closing time, so we just looked around the gift shop, promising to come back.
They had wifi and a live feed to Mount St. Helens, but it was
‘socked in’ so we just saw a grey screen. It was cloudy and drizzly by this
time, so we looked at the trail nearby, but decided to go back to the Runaround Sue.
|The Visitors' Center|
Early [for us] the next day we went back to the Visitors’ Center. Mount St. Helens was still socked in, so we went through the extremely informative displays and watched a short film of the 1980 eruption and the subsequent devastation. Then we walked the trail around the Silver Lake marsh in front of the Visitors’ Center, and got caught in a downpour.
|A beautiful walk over the marsh|
|The marsh turns to a lake|
The next day when we checked in at the Visitors’ Center, we had fog, but we could see Mount St. Helens on the live feed, so we hopped in the car and headed up! As we drove closer, the terrible devastation became more evident.
|a stump torn up|
|Miles from Mount St. Helens|
|Another section of the devestated area|
Scientists had been watching the mountain change, as a bulge appeared and grew on the west side of the mountain.
|Zoom in and see the sequence|
|The bulge in March|
|The whole area|
|Before and After the Explosion|
You can’t really get a sense of the destruction and its massive size from pictures. We saw it on TV and in pictures; it’s quite different being there. It is enormous. Magnificent.
|Mount St. Helens 33 years later, as we saw it from Johnson's Ridge Observatory|
A storm came through the next day, so we stayed in, just went to the Visitors’ Centre and to the Castle Rock Library to use the internet. I was just told “Welcome to the Pacific Northwest Rainforest”.
The next day we headed to Oregon, only stopping at the Vancouver, WA Costco to stock up on the lamb shanks and beef. We drove through Portland, and decided to stay at Champoeg [pronounced Sham-POO-ie] State Heritage Park, SW of Portland.
|Paths through the Park|
|-still in Rainforest Country with lots of moss|
|The only wildlife we saw, a tiny salamander|
|Our site of choice backing o to a field- note: no deciduous leaves to fall|
|The Willamette River- the marker on the pole is the height of the 1892 flood|
The next day we headed for Lincoln and the Oregon Coast. On the way, we discovered, in McMinnville, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
- the home of the Spruce Goose,
Howard Hughes’ Flying Boat, manufactured in 1947, with 8 engines, a wing span
of 319ft. 11in., 79ft. 4in. Long and a gross weight of 400,000lbs.
massive. For flotation in case of an accident, Howard Hughes had beach balls placed in the wings and some in the
lower compartment of the fuselage.
|This is the first thing you see as you come up to the Museums|
|The Spruce Goose- note the US Coastguard plane under its wing|
|Some beach balls were actually found in the Spruce Goose when work was done on it|
|This gives a sense of its size|
The Museum includes displays ranging from the elegant aeronautic designs of two unknown bike mechanics – Orville and Wilbur Wright – to an actual Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird that can fly at speeds of over 2,000 miles per hour. Founded in the memory of Captain Michael King Smith, the exhibits celebrate the lives of innovators, pilots, and veterans who pioneered flight in these remarkable machines. There are four buildings:
|The home of the Spruce Goose|
|The Wings and Waves Waterpark|
Having spent most of the day here, we left to head to Devil’s Lake State Park in Lincoln to begin our exploration down the Oregon Coast.