We’ve just returned from our 3 Mountain Tour shake-down trip around Washington State where we visited Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Mt. Baker. After a shopping trip to our favourtie Cycle Barn store in Smokey Point we headed east for Wenatchee State Park. Good thing we had taken Daryll’s latest and greatest purchase with us - our spacious new 2 room tent, as the mosquitoes were killer! Can you see the excitement in Daryll’s eyes sleeping our first night in the new tent? Like kid at Christmas.
On our way to Mt St Helens our path was graced with the sighting of 3 large buck deer eating grass at the side of the road. Actually I think it was devine intervention 'cause at the time I was singing church hymns in my helmet. Nothing like giving a little thanks to make good things happen! Highway 503 up the west side of Mt St Helens was a twisty, dangerous road as ones attention was always drawn to the magnificant sites presented at each turn, when one should be paying attention to riding (when I say one, I mean me). At the beginning of the road there is a beautiful active logging forest. As you get closer and closer to the volcano, the vegetation gets sparce. You can see the path of destruction that the flood of melted snow caused when the eruption occurred May 1980 and the river carried the blown-down forest that had been closest to the volcano, with it. At the Mt St Helens site itself the only left over forest that can be seen is splintered logs from 30 years ago and now growing little purple flowers. The movie at the observetory was informative but I was surprised at the lack of other facilities here. There was not even a café which I thought would be a staple of any American tourist attraction. After considering the proximity of the site to the active volcano however, I now understand the hesitation of investing in infrustructure. After this long 12 hour day of riding we ended up camping at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park and treated ourself to 6 minute showers. Oh the luxury! Actually speaking of luxury, according to my calculations we did this entire trip on $30/day/person - not bad in the good ol' USA.