and Vancouver Area
- Mount St. Helens
- We've visited Mount
St. Helens several times, but only from
the west entrance. We decided to do a little
investigating to the south this time. This
area was less affected by the volcanic
eruptions. The picture on the left shows the
south side of Mount St. Helens.
- We started from Vancouver and drove north
on Highway 503 to Cougar. We headed west on
- Lewis River Area
- We enjoyed a drive along the Lewis
River and we stopped at the Lower Falls
for a picnic lunch. Then, we hiked to Middle
- Cedar Flats
- We stopped at the Cedar
Flats Nature Trail north of the Pine Creek
Information Station. This one-mile easy loop trail was a
nice way to end the day. As we walked through the ancient
red cedar and Douglas-fir trees, we feel transported back
to prehistoric times. The ground is covered with pine
needles and lush green moss. The fallen trees are "nurse
logs" for moss, ferns, and new trees.
Panther Creek Falls
- On the Fourth of July, we decided to join
a local tradition, the fireworks show.
Vancouver Washington claims the biggest
fireworks display west of the Mississippi.
Around 8PM we headed toward the Columbia
River. We found many of the exits along
highway 12 closed, so we had to find a back
way to find a parking spot. Rather that
getting into the crowded downtown and
historic site areas, we chose a roadside
pullout along with a few hundred other people
and cars. Having spent most of our lives in
states where fireworks are illegal, it was
strange to find people setting off fireworks
all around us. We got out our lawn chairs and
enjoyed the show.
- One of the highlights of our stay in Washington was
our drive into the Wind River area of the Gifford Pinchot
National Forest. We drove east on highway 14, then north
at Carson. Our mission was to find a couple geocaches.
Our first stop was in the Panther Creek area called the
Confluence. After some hunting, we found a wonderful
waterfall where two creeks meet. We explored the cache
and decided to spend the afternoon. After a hike back to
the car for our lunch, lawn chairs, and bag of books, we
relaxed next to the water at the top of one of the
waterfalls. We were surrounded by water, moss, and rocks.
It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon.
- Big Lava Bed
- We were only a few miles from the second geocache, so
we packed up our lawn chairs and headed down the road in
late afternoon. We were looking for the Big
Lava Bed geocache. After a short hike in the woods,
we came upon the cache in a jumble of ancient lava.
- As we drove along the Columbia River on
the way home, we discovered a group of
We spent lots of time watching them move up
and down the river surfing, flipping, and
cruising. It looked like lots of fun.
- When Ben came for his visit, Larry and
Ben spent another afternoon watching them. By
the end of the trip, Ben was ready to move to
the Northwest and become a kitesurfer.
Mount St. Helens
- Larch Mountain
- Another day, we took a nice drive down
the Columbia Gorge and up the back road to
Larch Mountain to locate a geocache called
View. The hike took us to Sherrard View
Point where we could see Mount St. Helens,
Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. It was a
pretty clear day, so we got great views of
all the mountains. The geocache was hidden on
a small trail on the side of the mountain.
Larry and Ben returned later and took the
picture on the right with Ben and Mt Hood.
They also made some stops along the Columbia
river as shown in the picture below.
- Larry and Ben also took a trip on Mount St. Helens.
They checked out the lava tubes on the south side of the
mountain near Cougar.
- The Pacfic Ocean
- When Annette arrived back from a trip
back east, the family headed to the beach.
They drove out Highway 4 to the coast and
stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive
Center. They also explored a couple
lighthouses and took a hike along the
- Updated 5/02.
to Trip Page