Day 25: Mount St. Helens

I can’t even begin to explain how good it felt to be back on the trail. We did a solid 10 miles today sandwiched between two 3 hour drives. And what a great day it was.

We woke up early and spent the next hour futzing on our phones with the hope of scoring reservations at the Zion Lodge for next summer. Thanks to the NPS gods, we were able to secure a room. Get excited for rtxx!

Once we got the road we made the way out of Oregon and into Washington. This is the last of the lower 48 for me to venture into and make memories in. The first thing I did in the state was take a nap in the car. After all, it was 7:00 am. I eventually opened my eyes to Zak saying, “Wow.” Out the window was the bottom half of a mountain, Mount St. Helens.

I remember being a kid and my mom’s cousin bringing us a jar of ash from the eruption. I recall spinning the jar, watching the ash tumble, knowing that it came from a fairly recent volcano eruption. Spending the day hiking in the ash and among the remanents of the such a powerful eruption was definitely a check off the bucket list. 39 years ago seems like so long ago, says the one turning 39 next month, but the evidence of the power of this event was there every step we took today.

Unlike our drive into the park, the trees were so small, or even non-existent. The trail was mostly ash, not the dirt we’re used to on mountain hikes. The lakes were populated with tree trunks floating, having been killed by the force nearly four decades ago. The elevation gain we encountered today was the huge chunks of mountain that was blown off that fateful day in May and landed miles away. The rocks we picnicked on were pumice created by the explosion. It was all amazing.

The ten miles we hiked were challenging, but so rewarding. It was a really, really good day where we were able to do what we do best. Observe, learn, hike, bond, and reflect.

After the hike we drive the few hours to Mount Rainier, where we are staying in the lodge. We had a perfect for tonight dinner of salads and soup and are loving the lodge.

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