Our next stop was Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. Mount St. Helens was first up. We tried to go to the new visitor center but it closed the day before, so we drove further up to the observatory. When we got there, we checked out a few of the exhibits then went outside to watch/listen to a ranger program. The ranger informed us how Mount St. Helens erupted and how the volcano has remained active. He told us that the volcano has had lots of small eruptions since the devastating 1980 eruption where Mount St. Helens blew herself apart. These smaller eruptions have built up what is called a lava dome. This lava dome looks kind of like the top of the Travelocity gnome’s hat…. Anyway another ranger inside the observatory told us that Mount St. Helens is the most active volcano in the Cascade Range due to seismic activity almost every single day. It’s rare for Mount St. Helens to go day with out some sort of earthquake. The Cascade Range is part of the eastern side of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a ring of land and water consisting of hundreds of volcanoes.
The trip to Mt. Rainier took a while no thanks to the GPS. When we got to the visitor center we picked up a trail map and started the 4.6-mile hike. The hardest part was the 2-mile uphill climb at the beginning of the trek. Lunch at Panoramic Point offered great views of a few other mountains within the Cascade Range. The most fun part was sliding down a 200-foot ice pack. We also found a smaller patch of snow and ice and proceeded to have a small but exciting snowball fight. Mount Rainier is also an active volcano but not as active as Mount St. Helens.
|The steps before our big hike|
|The snow pack we crossed. Those little dots are the people who walked it before us.|
|The view we had while eating lunch|
Our next stop is at Aunt Florence and Uncle Kings house in WA just north of Seattle.