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.
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.
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!
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,