Trip Day 8 – Mt. St. Helens, Astoria

After amusing ourselves in downtown Portland, we then make our way north to the mountain that so grabbed the nation’s attention in 1980 when it erupted and caused the biggest landslides of the year (if you don’t count Reagan v. Carter a few months later).

As usual we just meandered north. There was some amount of doubt about where we should go and upon asking the local ranger he sent us hours out of the way so we quietly nodded our assent to his wise plan and instead just continued on our “chosen” path. Unsurprisingly, we managed to see the mountain far in advance of any solid plan to get up close and personal with it.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

The area of the country in general is not to be missed. If mountains don’t appeal then the water surely will.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

As the birds will no doubt attest.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Driving up the mountain can be insidiously dangerous. I’m not talking about the winding narrow roads really but the views, appearing suddenly unbidden from nowhere, are enough to drive one distractedly off the edge of a cliff. Luckily, the respective departments of public works in the Northwest are aware of this and tend to provide fairly regular turn-offs for those seeking eye-candy. It does strike a stake through my heart though to see a strip of trees cleared for power lines.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

My favorite view of the trip really, is (I think) from somewhere along 503. The turnoff is not noted as scenic; it’s just a place you pull off to the side of the road to put chains on your tires in winter. Just a hum-drum run of the mill spot on the mountains. What makes me smile here are the colors and the layering: water, stone and life co-existing so solidly built upon each other.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Along the way we wandered into an area in which ancient lava had buried a doomed forest tens of thousands of years ago. The tree trunks left these holes and caverns through the hardening rock. Indeed the lava won in the long run but at least the trees left their mark on history.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I’m a big believer in travel serendipity. They also know that I’m a big fan of bugs so when this unusual critter was spotted on Eric’s tie-die shirt it was giddy, happy joy.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

After what seemed like hours, our first view of the mountain itself.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

The periodic run-ins with hot lava combine with the local waterways to create some pretty interesting geography.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Landscape so thrilling (and filled with signs protesting: “Extreme danger! Do not leave trails!”) that even the young among us dance a merry jig on along the way.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Having finished our romance with the mountain, we leave her behind.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

And make our way to the sea once again to watch the sun set on Day 8 in Astoria.

From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria
From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria
From 7-6-2012 Day 8 – Mt St Helens – Astoria

Day 9 will find us awake bright and early in Astoria before we wander south to Cannon Beach.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Trip Day 8 – Mt. St. Helens, Astoria

  1. Beautiful photos and journal :)

  2. Good stuff again. Are you still in Astoria? Buy a copy of the Daily Astorian and check out the photography there. Before you leave town, drop by the offices of the paper, see if publisher Steve Forrester is in, and shake his hand. He can surely point you to the best breakfast in town, and other sites you may want to see and photograph on your trip down the coast. Tell him I said “hey.”

    The Oregon coast smashes into the Pacific in spectacular fashion, and for my money is not nearly photographed enough. Watch out for rogue waves — don’t walk the beaches alone.

  3. I hear from friends in Astoria: “Sites would be Fort Clatsop, Astoria Column, Columbia River Maritime Museum.”

    Any of those in your viewfinder?

  4. It’s good to be home! Thanks! aza

  5. The holes are very enteresting and I love that bug!!

  6. Amy

    Beautiful shots! Thanks for sharing!

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