Posts Tagged ‘Mt. St. Helens’

Lava Falls hike

The intrepid 50+ hikers were off again. We hiked the Ape Canyon and Lava Canyon trails at the base of Mt. St. Helens (MSH for short, hereafter).

MSH was right in front of us, but with the overcast skies it was hard to appreciate her majesty.

We only went about 2.5 – 3 miles up the Ape Canyon trail. The elevation gain was gradual so we weren’t too miserable. We only came upon snow at one sheltered ravine.

The real thrill of the day was after lunch. The Lava Canyon trail isn’t visible from the road, as the approach is from the top. The falls drop 200 feet down and away from you.

Apparently this dramatic canyon was buried in ash and dirt for some 1,800 years and was only exposed as a consequence of the MSH eruption on May 18,1980, when a mudflow scoured this valley free of topsoil and forest to reveal the ancient basaltic andesite lava flows. This website has an awesome slide show of the canyon.

As breathtaking as this was … the real thrill was yet to come. About a 1/2 mile down river from the falls is the “bouncy, lively” suspension bridge. It’s only 3 ft wide and 100 ft across. There’s quite a lot of wiggle as you go over.

Of course, it affords a great view of Muddy River.

It was as thrilling as any roller coaster. Sahale Bridges built the bridge in 1993. Their website has terrific photos and even a video of crossing the bridge.


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Getting Lost

Sometimes not knowing exactly where you’re going isn’t a bad thing. I’d never been to Sauvie Island for example. So off I went with Rita last week.


Having gone on a Tuesday, there was only one U-Pick farm open. Besides berries there were flowers are regular veggies. I picked two enormous heads of lettuce from the softest, fluffiest loam I’d ever come across.

But before settling on a farm we drove some ten miles down roads that dead-ended — not once, but twice! For future reference, there’s not a lot happening on Sauvie Island.

We drove home over the famous art-deco St. John’s Bridge.

On another trek we sought out rapids on the “Lewis River” … like there must be 30 – 40 miles of the main fork , not to mention the smaller off-shoots. Not having any idea where I was going, we traveled some 150 miles round trip before the day was over.

We got a sketchy local map and vague directions from a produce stand. We stopped at Lake Merwin for lunch. It was lovely and we regretted not bring swimsuits.

As we wended our way higher and higher along steep S-curves we were surprised by a sudden unmarked lookout with excellent views of Mt. St. Helens.

Weary of driving nearly 80 miles we finally happened upon a ranger station and got several excellent maps and acurate directions. Finding the exact turn-off was a bit confusing, but assisted by two other cars in similar pursuit we finally found Curly Falls — and promptly called it quits.


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