July 16, 2013

Weekend Trip: Mt. St. Helens via Windy Ridge

This past weekend Brad and I went camping on the North Fork of the Cispus River with some of the McCurry familia (more to come).  On Saturday however, we drove out to Mt. St. Helens because we usually are Mt. Rainier people.  Being situated between two gorgeous mountains often lets people favor one over the other.  What we indended to be a quick 1.5 hr day trip turned into a 3 hr ordeal simply because the road was so curvy.  This wasn't really planned but more spur of the moment, and upon our return my Mom told us that the road there had just opened last weekend.  Lucky us!
We took Forest Road 99 which was beautiful albeit very curvy (wind-y).  We passed a HUGE slide area with a bridge that looked brand new.
Typically I've approached St. Helens from the West and seen just a bit into the crater, but when we stopped first at Bear Meadows, it was as if you were driving straight towards the crater.
It was gorgeous!  And eery to see all of the dead, blown-down trees as we got closer to the blast zone especially thinking that it happened 33 years ago.
Once we reached the end of the road, I was surprised to find a huge parking lot with little to no information and no visitor center...there were 5 million stairs leading to the top of a hill for a better view, but Mama (I) wasn't  having any of that shananagins.  Julianne voted with me, and poor Brad was left to decide to go it alone or just enjoy the view with us.  Which was pretty spectacular with Spirit Lake all sapphire blue in the sunshine.
We saw Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, AND Mt. Rainier on the approaching drive, so it was a win, win, win!

Plus we were graced with some wildflowers at Windy Ridge for our drive; Indian Paintbrushes!!...which always makes me think of that book....by Tomie dePaola...which I'm pretty sure our son is going to need...which I should look into after posting this.
ANYwho, it was a lovely day trip and I highly suggest going if you are in the area, or wanting to visit because the drive, the view and hopefully the friends will make for an excellent time.

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