Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day Thirty-Four: Darn Elusive Troll

Today started off pretty early because we had a few out-of-the-way stops planned. We made breakfast and packed up (probably the best yet). The lady in the bathroom made fun of us for making coffee. She can go back to Canada. After two hours, we were ready to go. Our first stop was the Fremont Troll on the way back through Seattle towards Mt. St. Helens. We had that troll's address in our GPS and were ready to find it. We must be the only ones who can't find it. We looked up, we looked down, we looked all around. Who knew it would be so hard to find a 13,000 pound, 18 foot high concrete sculpture? Turns out, it is for us. We ended up driving above it on the Aurora Street Bridge. Arg. Maybe one day we will find that elusive troll...
After that fail, it was off to Mt. St. Helens. It was about 2 hours away from Seattle. The drive there was pretty uneventful. We were getting bored and played I-Spy. It isn't easy when things fly by you and by the time the other one is ready to guess, it's long gone. We got through that and made it to the monument. It's part of the larger Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We kept thinking we were "there" but it was about 8 miles from the first "Welcome to" sign to the observatory and visitors' center. Once we got to the top, or bottom, since you had to go up, and then way down again, it was so cool! You could see where the top of the mountain blew off in the 1980 eruption. And another cool thing is that it has a glacier right in the middle of that crater. We also saw, with the help of a friendly volunteer, a herd of elk in the distance. There really is nothing in the immediate area of the volcano except for a lone tree and rocks. Lots of rocks. Farther out, you can see some of the trees that are still left from before the eruption. They are basically stumps, but they look really neat. They have all sorts of jagged edges where the rocks and debris hit. Since there are all kinds of ridges around, on some of them, one side is empty and the other is filled with trees. Some of the areas have been replanted since with different fir trees. Hopefully there won't be another eruption so they can harvest all of those trees.
We decided earlier that we wanted to take the scenic way to Oregon, which includes the 4.1 mile bridge over the mouth of the Columbia River between Astoria, Oregon and Point Ellice, Washington. It was the final link in creating the Mexico-to-Canada Highway, or the Pacific Coast Highway. In order to get there, we had a small 2 hour detour through Washington. (The other way would have had us cross into Oregon earlier and drive through to the campground.) The views from the bridge were awesome! The sun was trying to peek through the clouds onto the water. All you could see on either side was water. Pretty neat. We finally got to the campground around 7:30 and set up. Of all of the places in this huge campground, we would of course be next to the loudest kids. And the dog park. Hopefully they'll go to sleep early tonight...

States Visited: Connecticut, Idaho,Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming (14/50)

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