On May 18th 1980, Mt. St. Helen's erupted in a spectacular show of mother nature's power. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake sent the north face of the mountain flying. The initial blast burned the landscape 14 miles away. From there, a hot, turbulent flow of mud and debris traveled down the mountain at 300 miles and hour, destroying everything in its path. (please read that in a dramatic, movie trailer narrator type of voice.)
It's pretty scary to think about, but also one of most fascinating places I've been. Sadly, we did not see the mountain itself due to clouds, (even though it is 1300 feet smaller than it was on May 17th 1980).
After coasting back toward sea level, we visited Multnomah Falls 30 minutes outside of Portland, Oregon. These falls are literally yards from the highway and a popular destination for travelers. At 582 feet, they are the second tallest year round falls in the United States. It's a little over a mile to see the top of the falls, which weeds out a lot of the tourists. 11 switchbacks yields a great view of the Columbia River Gorge as well as the highway.
Two years ago, I didn't know anything about Portland, Oregon. But thanks to Portlandia, a wacky and funny sketch show, I know more about that town than almost any other. I think that I really wanted to go to Portland just to shout some of the classic lines from the show on the street. Let's just say we said 'put a bird on it' 'bike right!' and 'whose dog is this?!' quite a bit. (Really we said 'Whose dog/parkbench/baby/bag is this!?' as much as it could possibly be applied for the entire trip).
Outside of that, in Portland we ate great food, fancy donuts, and drank a few craft beers. We also visited the National Museum of Forestry which is peppered with great interactive exhibits including a dry run of whitewater rafting, a way to practice logging with a huge tractor, and to perfect jumping into a wildfire as a wild land firefighter. Once all of the school children on field trips went to lunch, we all had a good time playing.
From there we headed West until we couldn't head west anymore.