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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
No Photos 15th May 2011 - Summer 2011
Day 29-Mt. St. Helens

Long day today-250 miles 8-1/2 hours but what sights we saw!
It rained all day, but this is the Pacific Northwest after all. We left Portland about 10 am and went up I-5, crossing into Washington state in about ½ hour. Stopped at a welcome center which was a good idea because we found out the road we had planned to take to Mt. St. Helens was closed ‘til July and there was only one road in and out. It’s a 52 mile road one way up and down mountains with beautiful scenery, the Toutle River following for a while and then below you as you climb up 4200 feet to Mt. St. Helens. The mist is gorgeous and because it’s a cloudy, rainy day it’s probably prettier than if the sun was shining. It gives the mountains a whole different look. We left the RV at the visitor center at the bottom of the mountain and just took the truck up. It’s all forest, some old, some new since the volcano erupted on May 18, 1980. Millions of trees have been replanted and Weyerhauser has a visitor center and education center on the way up with a lot of info on how they have restored the forests.
At about 3500 feet elevation we started to see white stuff that reminded us of stuff we moved to Florida to escape. Oh yes, SNOW, and lots of it, way over Harry’s head. It got deeper and deeper and the rain turned to snow. The temp at the top at Johnston Ridge Observatory was 35. This is the closest you can get to the mountain (about 5 miles). Listened to a ranger speak about what happened when the volcano erupted in May 1980 and also how it’s changed since then and is still active. Then we saw a movie about the whole day and at the end they open the curtain and there’s a big window with Mt. St. Helens staring at you. Except it’s so cloudy today all we see is white. But we knew it was gonna be like this today. Same thing happened to us years ago at Mt. Washington in NH. Same weather here today except Mt. Washington is much windier. We stayed there about 2 hours and then headed back the 52 miles to rehook the trailer and get on our way. Drove up I-5 again to Route 12 and then another 5 miles to the campground. Lots of farms on the way and a beautiful tulip farm with every color imaginable in full bloom. After the black and white and gray day we had today the tulip’s colors were really outstanding.
Got to the campground after they were closed, couldn’t find a good site although they were empty. It’s very wet here, the whole state is almost flooded. Finally picked a site, Harry went to hook up and the water isn’t turned on, probably because it still might freeze. So we’ll use the water in the storage tanks.
Tomorrow’s plan was to go to Mt. Ranier but we decided that today’s mountain was enough. The road we planned on taking there is closed and we’d have to backtrack. And we decided not to go back to Seattle or Olympic Nat’l. Park and Forks and LaPush. (Sorry, Edward and Bella, we’re done with the Pacific Northwest). Could be the rain, snow, cold, whatever it is, we’ll have great memories of this but we’re heading east to Spokane tomorrow.

Next: Day 30-To Spokane
Previous: Day 28-Portland, Oregon

Diary Movies

Harry & the snowball

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Where's Mt. St. Helens

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