Day 18 – May 24, 2015

Silver Lake along the nature trail at the Mt. St. Helens Visitors’ Center

WalMart camping again. We stayed at a WalMart in the Vancouver, WA area after having driven from Crater Lake on Saturday. We drove a little further north and pulled into a campground to stay for a couple days while we go explore the Oregon Coast and Mt. St. Helens. After settling in at the campground, we head over to one of the Visitor Centers to learn about the explosion 35 years ago at Mt. St. Helens and the aftermath. Annette, Isaac, and Amelia worked on the Jr. Ranger program to earn their badges. After they completed the program, the ranger swore them in as Jr. Rangers and made them promise to brush their teeth twice a day or clean their rooms once a week. After touring the Visitor Center, we took a walk through a natural area they had along the edge of Silver Lake. We were able to hear woodpeckers and see waterlife, lily pads, various flowers, etc. The kids had a great time running around and enjoying the natural area.

The Toutle River (maybe one of its forks).

The Toutle River (maybe one of its forks).

Annette being sworn in as a Jr. Ranger

While at the Visitors Center, we learned about how the Toutle River was dammed in different places from the sediment from the explosion. This created new lakes and changed the course of the Toutle River. The river is still a gray color, which makes me wonder if it is gray from all the ash that was deposited in the river. I read that the river had anywhere from 6 to 600 feet of ash deposited in it. How the landscape of this area must have changed so dramatically.
One thing that reminded me of home was the many rhododendrons they had in bloom. They don’t seem to grow wild in the mountains out here like they do in the Blue Ridge, but many people have them planted in their yards, and they are blooming beautifully right now. Unfortunately, I never seem to make it up into the mountains at the right time when they are blooming, so it has thrilled me to be able to see them blooming here, even if they aren’t wild.

The red Rhododendron was my favorite.

I have to tell you about what Charlie calls, “little God moments.” Just prior to pulling into the campground, Charlie pulled over at a gas station to buy an iced coffee for me (while I sat in the van working on a blog). When he gets back in, he tells me that he doesn’t think they made the coffee the way I wanted (absolutely no sweetener at all!). So I taste the coffee and discover that it is full of sugar. I told him that I would run back in and have them make it correctly. He didn’t really like this idea because he was ready to get to the campground, so he started to head out. Well, I finally convinced him to let me run in and have the coffee made correctly. He let me out and went back up to where he had parked with the camper originally. When I returned to the van, I saw something on the ground that looked familiar. I bent down, picked it up and realized that it was ours. If we hadn’t gone back to get my coffee made correctly, then it would have been gone forever, and the loss of it would have caused a great deal of stress. What a blessing to have found it, especially when we didn’t even realize it was missing yet. God is good!

Dinner at the campsite.

Dinner at the campsite.

Back to the campsite for dinner and a bonfire. I was able to read to the older kids by the campfire while the littles were going to sleep. How I so enjoy doing that!

Blessings to you all,



5 thoughts on “Day 18 – May 24, 2015

  1. We are so enjoying your time together. We will miss you at the beach, but will keep reading and enjoying your trip with you. Love and kisses, God bless and keep you all safe, Aunt Diane


  2. I was not familiar with the Junior Rangers program, but just looked it up and sounds great for the kids.

    On your way over to the OR coast, if you stop in Portland, they have a HUGE rose and Japanese garden that I was able to visit a few years ago. Also, Powell Books is downtown and is the largest independent used/new bookstore in the world (I spent a few hours in there). Portland is known for their donuts and stumptown coffee. As I mentioned last week, Astoria, OR is the place where they filmed the Goonies.

    Mt. Rainier National park comes highly recommended for hikes and scenery. Additionally, if you go up to the northern Washington coast, you could probably do a whale watching tour around the San Juan Islands. I know orcas typically migrate through that area, but it may be a little later in the summer.


  3. So many beautiful smiles. So many wonderful memories being made.
    Our Rhododendrons have just finished blooming, out my sunroom door.
    Thinking of you all God bless Love GrannyB


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