July 21- A quick one tonight, while waiting for the last of the laundry to dry (housework never rests). We had a nice morning yesterday in the Mt. Hood area, we did a 3-mile round trip hike to Mirror Lake, named for the reflection Hood casts on a calm day. Then we drove out of the national forest and had a nice stop in an adorable little town called Hood River. Clearly everyone there is independently wealthy, or deeply in debt, because we must have seen 200 people windsurfing and kiteboarding out on the Columbia River on a Tuesday afternoon. I mean, we're on sabbatical, but don't you people have jobs?
We drove to be poised for Mt. St. Helens today, and stayed overnight at a lovely state park. We even had our second campfire of the trip. Woke up this morning and my first thought was: Great, I am fated to never see the mountain up close - we went there 12 years ago and saw nothing but deep fog, and this morning looked like it was going to be more of the same. But it burned off by about 9 AM and we had another absolutely perfect day (either we are having amazing luck or the whole country is in a gigantic drought, I'm not sure which.)
Mt. St. Helens is one of those places that has an amazing draw for me, perhaps in part because its eruption in May 1980 is one of the first major news stories I remember (and one of the issues of National Geographic that I think I still have). Also, the sheer force of it has always fascinated me, despite—or because—I simply cannot wrap my head around it. Half a mountain collapsed in the space of a few minutes—it's pretty much beyond fathoming.
Anyway, the big news from Mt. St. Helens—beyond getting to see it in real life and not just the visitor center photos—was that we decided to attempt a hike out to a viewpoint of the famed Spirit Lake. I am proud to say that the kids were champs—they hiked 8.5 MILES today, with very few complaints. And we did get fabulous views of the lake, which is still about half covered with 30-year-old logs.
Catching up on laundry and assorted tasks tonight, and getting ready to strike out toward Olympic tomorrow.