Sunday, July 19, 2009

camp cactus excursions, inc.

You know how it is when friends come to visit. You take them out and show them the local geography and points of interest, both personal and touristy. They tag along on errands and walk around the neighborhood, and the best guests manage to merge seamlessly into the rhythm of your everyday life. When I go visit friends, I like to see where they hang out, and how people live in a place, not just the places a guidebook says are interesting.

My sister in law and niece have been in town for a few days, and we've gotten around more than we have in ages.

The other day we drove up to Mt. Saint Helens and checked out the crater and the movie at the visitor's center on Johnston Ridge, the area directly in the path of the gigantic eruption in 1980. The view of the crater was spectacular, but the movie suffered from a seemingly tiny budget and a little too much special effects envy.

It seems a little odd that the government would spend millions of dollars building a visitor's center so close to a still very active volcano, but hey- I'm glad they did. It saved us a very grueling hike.

All around the area the destruction is still quite apparent, even after nearly 30 years. Ridges miles away from the blast are still covered with the carcasses of giant fir trees that were toppled like matchsticks, and dried mud flows over a hundred feet deep in some places smothered the forest and changed the landscape in a matter of hours. The power of Mother Nature is very sobering, indeed.

On our way home we stopped at a local restaurant on the Washington side of the Columbia River that's known for its great river views and unique artwork, which is everywhere:

(And this is just the art in the women's restroom.)

Too bad we couldn't talk Dave into taking pictures in the men's room. Stay tuned for our trip to downtown Portland and the X-rated sandcastles.


g said...

I was living in Seattle when MSH blew - I had been to a wild party the night before, and seeing that cauliflower-shaped cloud in the SE sky the next morning was unreal.

Love the photos of the Columbia!

We are in Paris, in a hotel with good internet access! back in LA by Sunday.

foolery said...

I saw the Mt. St. Helens devastation about a year later, and it's seared into my teenage memory banks. Right next to American Top 40 and Pop Tarts. ; )