Saturday, 30 July 2011

Mt St Helen

Mount St Helens is  an active Volcano and is remembered  for its catastrophic eruption  in May 1980. It was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United states. 57 people were killed , 250 homes , 15 miles of railways and 185 miles of highway was destroyed. More than 200 square miles of forest was turned into grey lifeless landscape.  After 26 years the land has mended well and without walking the long trails we could see no real evidence left of this event. 
Prior to the eruption Mount St Helens was 9677ft high but now sits at  8365ft.
We could only see the mountain from two advantage points as the access road where we could get up closer to the mountain was closed. We are assuming because it is snowed in. We also opted not to travel around the western side of the mountain because of  the distance and time to travel there so we missed out on seeing the visitors centre.    
Leaving St Helens we were on our way to Portland. After crossing the “Bridge of the Gods “ we left Washington behind and were now in Oregon, a state larger than Washington  but only having half the population.
We only skimmed the outskirts of Portland but have been told that it is an alternate town having more strip clubs per head than Las Vegas or New York and more parks than any other city in the US. This area has more than half a million people. Leaving Bonneville at the base of the "bridge of the Gods"  we travelled along part of the historic Oregon trail to Portland following the Columbia river. We stopped off at Wood village where we went to Camping world to see about  RV maintenance. Our radiator had been running a little hot on the climbs so wanted it looked at.  They did not do Radiators so we phoned and booked in at a radiator specialist in Portland.  We went to an RV park for the night. The following morning was an early start as we had to be there for 7.30am. Russ and I drove the 12 mile to Portland  and Geoff and Kienny collected us mid morning when we realised the repairs would take most of the day. Our time was  filled in at the mall and we had a beautiful Italian lunch at a nearby restaurant.   
After collecting the RV late afternoon we headed out of town towards the Pacific coast.... it appeared that that was where everyone else was headed too..... busy... busy... busy...

Bridge of the Gods
Wagon wheel  

Lewis River

Mt St Helen

Mt St Helen backdrop to RV

Overlooking Cascade lock

Now in Oregon 

Our bush camp site

Russ and Rob Mt St Helens
Meadow of wildflowers

Boat under the bridge of God

Russ silhouette  


Busy Portland

Friday, 29 July 2011

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899 and is famous for its dense forests, dazzling wildflower meadows, tremendous snowfields and rugged glaciers.  96% of the park is designated as wilderness.
Mount Rainer is capped with 26 glaciers and has a dense forest of Douglas fir, western red cedar and western hemlock surrounding  its base.
The roads leading through the park are windy and  narrow and especially  where there was low elevation  the trees were close to the road. These roads are only open between July and late September.  It is not hard to see why when it is now summer and there are large amounts of snow still around.
 There are 5 entrances to the park.  We drove in from Seattle through to Sunrise  and we exited the park at Paradise.   Sunrise is the highest point in the park that you can reach by vehicle , 6400 ft above sea level. We were lucky to have a  sunny  afternoon so were able to get some  breathtaking views of Mount Rainier  and the cascade range that surrounds it.  Amongst the snow the meadows  and roadsides had wildflowers starting to bloom.  From Sunrise we went to  White River  camp ground where we camped for the night.  
When a girl  first saw the subalpine meadows, she exclaimed “ this must be what Paradise is like”- hence the name. The following day we made our way to Paradise seeing  more snow, crossing glacier flowing rivers and  driving  alongside some beautiful  lakes. We walked down to Narda waterfall  and  across Box Canyon Gorge.   We saw 2  Black tailed deer , a marmot and a  variety of birds.
Paradise is where the park’s main visitors centre is  located.  Here we went to see an information video on Mount Rainier.  Paradise is a prime winter use area  where an average of 680  inches of snow  falls. It also receives on average 126 inches of rain.  
Mount Rainier is a sleeping volcano having the potential to erupt again at some unknown time just like that of Mount St Helens.   There are no words to describe this area other than just
Simply stunning ...... 

Mount Rainier

 Sunrise in Mount Rainer N/ Park  

Wildflowers alongside the road

Road winding around the mountain

Road in Rainier National Park

Road over gorge

reflection lake in snow

Reflection Lake


Paradise Waterfall

Paradise River




Lake Louise

Iced Lake

Forest road

Deer crossing road

Box Valley

Black tailed deer
Box Gorge
Bridge over canyon
Mount Rainer  and the RV
Mount Rainier National Park entrance
Mount Rainier

Narada Waterfall

Rainier Mountain among clouds

Snow lining roads  near Sunrise
Stevens Creek
Sunrise View Point


Walkway around Box Gorge
road in Rainier N/ Park

On way to Sunrise
Paradise River
RV alongside lake

Road through the mountain