Mt. St. Helens

October 4-5, 2005

Leader: Liz Reanier

Twenty-nine riders (including four guests) traveled north with our usual rest stop south of Portland. Then, to the Ridgefield Game Refuge for a tour of the Cathlapotle Plank House, dedicated in the summer of 2005. It is located on a site the west end of the Columbia River Lewis and Clark visited. Then on to Kalama Marine park for lunch. Next stop was Castle Rock, home of the Cinedome, to view the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Then we traveled five miles east to the Washington's Mount St. Helens visitor center. The day was gorgeous, but predictions were for rain. I gave driver John Goddard orders to stop at most of the viewpoints so we could take pictures. The hillsides were brilliant with vine maple and other colorful trees amid the forest of noble fir. The view at Coldwater Ridge, seven miles from the mountain, was clear and impressive. We turned back to Castle Rock and Kelso with a beautiful sun setting, which is something we seldom get to see. No one seemed too upset about our late arrival at the motel and for dinner.

Day 2 — A drizzling, foggy, windy day had been forecast. But the farther in we traveled, the better the weather became. It was clearing some by the time we stopped at the bridge viewpoint. The bridge (longest on the highway) is 2,730 ft. long and 370 ft. high. There are 14 bridges on the memorial highway. Nothing opens until 10 a.m., so we had lots of time to view the area. Still no elk. At an elevation of 2,300 feet the view was spectacular. We arrived at Coldwater Ridge Interpretive Center about 9:30, so many hiked around the center and enjoyed the sunshine before entering the center. Everyone had Golden Age Passes, which made admission easy. Most of us took in the videos at each stop as they had different themes. Some took their coffee break in the cafeteria. (There is a view there, also.) As we were busing to Johnston Ridge, we located a small herd of elk. This stop, 53 miles east of I-5 is the end of the road from the west. The ranger presentations are excellent and the video is a grand finale. At 12:30, we boarded the bus for our return trip as we wanted to have time to view the elk again; and we had a lunch date at Hoffstadt Bluff for 1 p.m. After lunch, everyone got their last views of the mountain, shopped and watched the glass blowing demonstration. At 2:30, we boarded the bus for home with a rest stop and coffee break on our way home. There should be lots of good pictures of the trip. A great time was had by all.

On the trip were: Ethel Allen, Ewart Baldwin, Barbara and Paul Beard, Paula Beard, Mary Lee Cheadle, Mary Ann Cougill, Elaine Creuger, Jim Creuger, Marjory Creuger, Judy Dobell, Rachele Fiszman, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Mary Ann Holser, Yuan Hopkins, Edna Hunsaker, Rosella Jones, John and Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Joyce Norman, Barbara and Don Payne, Liz Reanier, Edith Rode, Julia Snell, Dick and Janet Speelman and Vera Woolley.

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