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Day 265– 30th August 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 30, 2009

Sunday – Corvallis, Oregon

When I woke up it was cloudy and miserable, but I did a bit of research online and according to the Mount St Helens VC, it should be a sunny day up there and there was an online camera which showed it clear, so I decided to take a punt and head that way. It was 50 miles east, so a lot of weather can change in that time. While packing I noticed my new flag already coming apart at the seams after only a day or so 😦

But, these two corner areas are where my new ones should be reinforced, so we shall see. I headed off and this time stopped at the visitors centre a few miles up the road, just to ask the question about the visibility, they pointed me to the TV screen, it is bright sunshine, well fine, it is cold and yucky here, lets go east 🙂

As I got higher I seemed to be getting above the clouds which were thinning anyway and you could see the whole valley of the Tuetle River which is full of sediment.

The roads were a lot faster and better to handle when you can see where you are going, a real lot better than yesterday and it was not long before I was in bright sunshine at the Johnstone Ridge Observatory again 🙂

Now, this is what I did not see yesterday, from the viewing platform, you can see right into the crater of the volcano and you can see the new lava dome, sort of, it was a bit hazy with the sun in front of me, but I could see it 😉

So, I had some time and as I was early I could listen to some of the ranger programs. While waiting for the talk to start I felt a scrabble and scratching at my pocket, this little chap was trying to get my sanger out, cheeky bugger! 😆

The ranger noticed it and mentioned there are lots around but do not give them human food as they do not eat it, they store it with their other food and our food goes bad and destroys their food cache with it, a new insight into not feeding the animals! Anyway, the ranger gave a good presentation on the event and a different viewpoint on the lava that has been building since 1980. The new mountain being formed is already ½ mile across, but in all that time, only 3% of what was lost has been replaced.

This is a photo of what the mountain looked like before it went off, with Spirit Lake in the foreground.

So, I went back inside the theatre, the movie was a good enough experience to see again but this time at the end, when the curtain lifted, you get to see the mountain, not cloud 🙂

After this I went for a look around some of the trails, not far though, some go for miles, but they did have some interesting views and info boards.

One interesting fact is that there is a glacier inside the crater which is wrapped around the actual lava dome. It is one of the youngest glaciers around and survives because the dark ash covers it and reflects the sun, plus it gets 50ft of snow per year. I listened to another talk on the recovery of the area and the fact life is returning, although not at all like they expected. Some trees survived, due to being covered in snow and dormant, on the backs of ridges. Some lakes and ponds were frozen, so the salamanders etc were dormant, same with the underground rodents, they all survived and bloomed when they came out, there was a large supply of tubers and roots(no tops of course) but no predators 🙂 Anyway, after a few hours I headed back to the coast, meaning to check out a few other things on the way 🙂 I could have spent another day or so here, checking some of the trails, but that is life! The ride out was great, it was warm and the views were excellent 🙂

At one of the lookouts, Castle Lake, they had some information on the habitats around here that are now happening. Unfortunately, the colours used on the info boards make it very hard to read, there is no contrast and my pictures turned out unusable, but the next panels on the erosion had better contrast text boxes, same with the revegetation scheme.

Next stop down the road was the Forest Centre, this is a place showing how the timber company managed the events aftermath, I did not spend too much time here as I was running out of it, but there was a lot to see and do as well.

I was really surprised to see the information about the sound waves being relocated and the event happening in silence, that would be scary if you saw it! Anyway, it was now nearly 3pm and I had a ways to go. I had originally planned to head straight for the coast and take the 101 scenic highway down and cut back in to get to Corvallis, but that now seemed a bit much at this late stage, so I dropped off the interstate and took a smaller road over the Oregon border, but as it is on a river, I dipped out getting a photos of the state sign. This is a major shipping port, maybe that is why it is called Portland 🙂 It had a lot of lumber around here.

That last shot is coming back down the hill towards the bridge I just went over, I took a wrong turn took a scenic detour 😳 After a while on this road I could see with road works etc I was getting nowhere fast, so I needed to get on the interstate. That was fast and furious, until I found a detour due to a road closure, that was a pain, right in amongst spaghetti junction!

After Portland though it was just fast interstate, better than the other lane going in, I was travelling at 70mph and saw their side backed up for over 15 minutes, work that out for a Sunday arvo!

This is what causes accidents, idiots in the wrong lane at the wrong speed blocking traffic, someone gets impatient and makes a mistake, probably while texting!

But, after an hour or so, I took the turnoff into smaller country roads until I got to Chainsaw’s place at Corvallis, actually a town of about 50k.

So, being a biker that has ridden Oz, the first thing he offered was a beer, then a shower, I took the beer to start with, well met there m8 🙂 With all the people in these three states(Washington, Oregon, Idaho) who had offered beds, beer workshop space etc, I had actually thought Chainsaw was a Vstrom bloke with a workshop, wrong, he is a Harley rider 🙂 My mistake 😳 Apparently he bumped into and had lunch with Beemerbird who happened to mention me and my website, so he contacted me from there. Whatever, we had a pleasant evening having a few beers, some dinner with some of his family, before having a few more beers

Day 263 miles and 423 km
Trip – 33,850 miles and 54,476 km


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