Monday, July 20, 2015

Sunday, July 19- Part 2- Mt. St. Helen's

Sunday morning, after a scenic drive to Reflection Lake and Steven's Canyon, we headed south towards Mt. Saint Helen's. I have been searching the gift shops for Bigfoot souvenirs for Luke. For future information, at exit 20 of I-5 we hit the mother load. We were in Bigfoot Country. We were told that there have been more Bigfoot sightings here than in any other part of the country. After a tasty lunch at the 49'ers Restaurant we drove to the observatory overlooking Mt. Saint Helen's and arrived just in time for a wonderful film showing the eruption that occurred on May 18, 1980. We listened to a young ranger explain a little about volcanoes and the rebirth of a mountain following an eruption. We were certainly in awe of the landscape.
    Our trip is rapidly nearing it's end and we will be returning to the rains, and mosquitoes, of Ohio on Tuesday. I hope you have enjoyed following along with us. We have had many laughs and have enjoyed seeing this beautiful country where we live and basking in her beauty. God certainly knew what he was doing when he created this earth we live on.

Sorry, Luke, I don't think he will fit in my carry-on
Mt. Saint Helen's landscape.
Johnson's Ridge Observatory

Life returns

I loved this t-shirt, Bigfoot doesn't believe in you either!

Sunday, July 19- Mt. Rainier ( no internet last 2 days)

Mt. Rainier was probably my 2nd favorite National Park we have visited this trip. The weather has been fabulous and our views of the summit have been nothing short of breathtaking. We stayed at the Paradise Inn inside the park so we were near the trailhead for several of the trails. We did a short trail at the Longmire visitors center called The Trail of Shadows and were treated to views of a wetlands area graced by about 5 evening grosbeaks. Not a life bird but a special treat for everyone in the group. Yesterday we hiked part of the Skyline Trail, the Golden Gate Trail and the Nisqually Trail about 4 1/2 miles but the Skyline took us near 1200 feet in elevation so it was pretty strenuous for some of us flatlanders.

Evening grosbeaks

An old "jammer" car

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier in the background

Oregon junco

Saturday after breakfast we hit the trails. We were passed by a group of ice climbers, kudos to them! As we got closer to the ice fields and glaciers we could see climbers, from where we were they looked like ants.

Barb B identifying wildflowers

Golden-mantle ground squirrel

Hiking on the snow field, not us

In awe of her beauty

Coming down the Golden Gate Trail

A marmot posing for us
After a short rest we tackled the less strenuous Nisqually Trail. Although I didn't get a very good picture, we did see a Blue Grouse, a Pacific subspecies called a Sooty grouse on this trail. It was hooting so we were looking up in the trees for an owl when I noticed the rustling in the undergrowth. This was a life-bird for me.

Blue grouse, Sooty variety

The orange is his air sac expanding as he was hooting

The Nisqually River coming down Mt. Rainier