Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Road Trip

After an amazing amount of work in a short time, Hailey and I were due for some R&R!  After watering her one cat-nip plant we blasted off in a hurry for central Oregon.  A couple a friends were getting together there and it was a good chance to see them both at once.  The weather was exceptional in the area and we spent time floating about on rivers and lakes in the area.


It was a fast trip down with no stops, but the return trip was to be a different story.  A long time was spent poring over maps, and I broke down and bought the ‘backroads’ atlas for Washington state, to go with my ever growing collection.

In the Sisters area of Oregon, there was a lot of smoke from several large forest fires in the region.  The Shadow Lake fire had been burning for about a week and was very visible from a number of highway viewpoints in the area.CIMG6590CIMG6592CIMG6594CIMG6595

This little guy seemed to be keeping his eye on the fire as well.


Gasbuddy helped us locate some less expensive diesel as well passed into Oregon on a 20’s era toll ($0.75) bridge from Hood River.


I headed for the south-western access to the Mt St Helens area and found a moderately quiet roadside spot overlooking the Swift reservoir.


Someone had hung a tiny little purse in the weeds in front of the viewpoint.  It matched the colour of the stems and  blossoms exactly, and I only noticed it after being there for some time.  It was only about an inch across, there was nothing in it, and I have no idea why it was there?CIMG6623CIMG6626CIMG6627

I hiked a half mile underground in a lava tube at Ape Cave from a previous volcano at Mt St Helens.  My small flash does not do it justice, but it is generally good walking, and in places is about the size of an average railroad tunnel.  In the narrowest spot in this area it is only about 8-10’ wide and about 7’ high, and is a very breezy 47F because of the restriction.


At the end of the road is Lava Canyon with a short hiking trail leading through the path of one of the mudflows from the 1980 eruption.


There is also a neat suspension bridge that you can see down through.


On the way back down from Lava Canyon, the Trail of Two Forests displays some holes in the rock on the ground where lava surrounded standing trees, which eventually burned or rotted away, leaving these round holes!


There is even a ladder down into one, where you can crawl out the exit quite a ways away, through what must have been a fallen log when the lava struck.  Note: this was not the 1980 eruption, but more back about the beginning of time in this active volcanic zone that has seen many eruptions over the eons.


Next:  Windy Ridge at Mt St Helens


  1. Awe good ol' Smokey Bear keeping us safe! Always loved seeing him when I was a kid. As for Washington backroads it'll be exciting to see what you come up with from your atlas. I just found this blog today... [url][/url] maybe you'll find some good stuff in it. Cheers! ~M

  2. Another interesting outdoors blog as usual Ivan. Always a welcome change to read your stuff and see your pics:))