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Posts from the ‘Travel the Pacific Northwest’ Category

MOUNT ST. HELENS

What humans see as devastation nature sees as opportunity. About 35 years ago, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions collapsed an entire side of Mount St. Helens.

Photo of photo of Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980

Photo of photo of Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980

Within ten minutes a landslide of incomprehensible proportion destroyed old-growth forest, lakes, and many mammals who hung around too close to the blast.

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake 2014 from Norway Pass trail

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake 2014 from Norway Pass trail

Life renews. Three days later, herds of elk roamed around the barren plain. Their hoofs churned up the pumice while their droppings planted seeds. Enter the lupine…pushing up through the pumice and regenerating life with numbers of purple flowers rarely before seen.

Looking into the crater of Mt. St. Helens from Johnston Observatory

Looking into the crater of Mt. St. Helens from Johnston Observatory

Gophers survived the blast underground and burrowed their way to the top, aerating and fertilizing. Insects and birds continued the process of adaption, taking advantage of brand new territory. Aquatic life survived under ice-covered lakes and ponds. Amphibians thrived. Today, there is more diversity and abundance of life around Mount St. Helens than before the blast.

View of Mt. Adams from Boundary Trail #1 near Mount Margaret

View of Mt. Adams from Boundary Trail #1 near Mount Margaret

We are privileged to hike through Norway Pass to Mount Margaret. Walking through the rebirth of a new forest on a clear day, views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake expand us. As growth matures, the diversity of life will decrease. Weed-out so to speak.

Match-stick forests created by the blow down from the blast

Match-stick forests created by the blow down from the blast

Leveled trees, rocks, ash, mud, etc., filled Spirit Lake. The water level rose almost 1,000 feet. Everything died in the putrid lifelessness that followed. Three years later, the waters cleared and nature began a new cycle.

Meta Lake from Norway Pass

Meta Lake from Norway Pass

Rain, melt and runoff created new lakes and ponds where everything from algae to frogs and beavers inspire us with resilience and adaptability. Life lives.

Iron Creek Campground

Iron Creek Campground

Camping on a side of Mount St. Helens that was not in the blast zone, we breathe in a rain forest with some trees up to 600 years old. What humans see as devastation nature sees as opportunity. Thank you abundant Universe.             Ron Mitchell

FIVE WAYS TO NOT KILL YOUR TRAVEL PARTNER IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Let’s face it, there’s a stage during every journey where travel partners grow grouchy. The book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance mentions this natural phenomenon. Living in close quarters can enhance certain challenges. Here are five ways to get over it:

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Hiking the Oregon Coast Trail at Cape Arago, Oregon

Hike the coast and let Mother Nature pull you out of yourself. Ego means nothing when you traverse along the ridge of Oregon’s southern coastline. From Sunset Bay to Cape Arago, observe seals and whales in a setting that is much bigger than all of us. (Resist the urge to push your partner over the edge)

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Camping on the Rogue River in the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness area, Oregon

Camp, fish and swim along a churning, vibrant river like the Rogue. (Don’t accidentally knock your partner into the rapids) Yes, the rainbow trout are small, but tasty little suckers.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Crater Lake, Oregon

Climb a live volcano that patiently simmers beneath two-thousand feet of water at Crater Lake. (No nudging anybody into the snowbank down below)

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Buying fish on the Columbia River near Beacon Rock, Washington

Drive across the Columbia River into Washington and purchase some real fish from the Native Americans. Now we’re talking…steelhead and sockeye freshly filleted for five dollars per pound.

Views of the Columbia River Gorge and Beacon Rock from the summit of Mt. Hamilton, Washington

Views of the Columbia River Gorge and Beacon Rock from the summit of Mt. Hamilton, Washington

Let Mother Nature sooth souls. A day-long hike to the summit of MT HAMILTON will exhaust the remainder of your mean thoughts.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Bert Cole State Forest, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

In the morning, before you start snipping, walk about a mile up Beacon Rock. Views of the Columbia River Basin will help you to forgive. (Make sure that your partner does not fall off the narrow walkway)

Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington

Rialto Beach near La Push, in Olympic National Park, Washington

If that doesn’t work, head to the Olympic Peninsula. Writhen trees and branches will carry you into the heart of a cold, green and gray world. Maybe you’ll start to like each other again at the most northwestern point on the contiguous US.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Hiking Hurricane Ridge with views of Mt. Olympus in the background, Olympic National Park, Washington

Still grouchy? Take a hike along Hurricane Ridge for views of MT OLYMPUS that you may never see again. (Don’t tell your partner, “Get closer to the mountain goats for a better photo!”)

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Wild Mountain Goats sharing the trail on Hurricane Ridge

Now, you may be able to hike to the summit of MT WALKER with no thoughts at all. (You’ll be too tired to push anybody off of anything)

Views of the Hood Canal and Mt. Rainier from the summit of Mt. Walker, Washington

Views of the Hood Canal and Mt. Rainier from the summit of Mt. Walker, Washington

Finally, the best way to not kill each other while camping in the Pacific Northwest (okay, maybe this is more than five ways) is to look way into each other’s eyes, and recognize that there’s no one else in the world whom you would rather spend two weeks with in the back of a pick-up truck…not counting the dog, of course.

Photo by Marilynn Windust

Ron Mitchell