After more than a month in glorious Oregon, we caught back up with our WIN friends in tiny Toutle, Washington, where someone had arranged that we would stay in a field next to the school. This is a win/win for these little towns, as we contributed over $300 to the school directly in addition to any other purchases we made in the area.
The benefit of this location, is that it is right on the way to Mt. St. Helens. Of course they probably didn't think it was a benefit in 1980 when the mountain erupted and the Toutle River carried logs, ash, and rubble into town.
But today she's calm and we drove over several of these lovely bridges.
Overlooking the Toutle River where all the debris changed the valley so drastically.
Up to Johnston Ridge Observatory for this view of the mountain. It was a little cloudy, but still an impressive sight.
The observatory (really more of a visitor center) is very informative and the movie is one of the best I've ever seen. It must have been designed to keep the kids awake with a lot of loud noises and special effects.
Then we took the walk uphill through the gorgeous wild flowers and tress snapped by the blast.
On the way back down, we stopped at Coldwater Lake which didn't even exist before Mt. St. Helens blew and formed a natural dam.
At the little museum in nearby Castle Rock, they had these 'before' and 'after' pictures.
Isn't Mother Nature amazing?