September, 2006

In September we went down and spent a few days around Mt. St. Helens...

Entering the Blast Zone!

All of us in front of Mt. St. Helens. The steam vent was pretty active that day, and we saw a steady steam cloud eminating from it...

The eruption ocurred in 1980, but life is returning around the mountain, just not directly on its flanks...

We took a walk along the Trail of Two Forests - it's a remnant of the previous lava flow that came down Mt. St. Helens south side 2000 years ago

The boys crawling into one of the lava log casts - you climb in this end, and come out 50 feet away!

We also went through the Ape Cave, the longest lava tube in the continental U.S.

Here we are at the entrance, armed with headlamps, flashlights and lantern.

First we went down to the lower end - here's Maren and the boys as far as we were able to go.

Then we headed up to the upper end - some of the chambers were quite large!

Bryden and Gavin sitting up on a shelf they scrambled up to

In some places, the tube choked down until it was quite narrow - here we had to scramble up a small lava flow to continue upwards

And here's Maren and the guys sitting at the upper end, 2 1/4 miles of underground travel from the lower end

Ah - finally back out in the sunshine and ready to hike back to the lower entrance!

We took a hike through Lava Canyon, on the southeast side of the mountain

Bryden, Maren and Gavin at the start of the Lava Canyon trail

The first waterfall

The second waterfall was a double

The third waterfall carving a grotto

We also did the short hike to Iron Falls on the east side - it's quite pretty

Iron Falls, from the front

Iron Falls from behind

From Mt. St. Helens we headed back to Montana to help Maren's folks celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!

The temperature was warm enough to go swimming in Flathead Lake (never mind the impending storm!)

Bryden, taking the plunge

Gavin, not far behind!

At the end of the day, we had two tuckered little boys (again!), happily snuggled down in the bed in Bestamor and Bestafar's motor home

This is right across the road from Maren's folk's house - I know she's a special lady, but it was funny seeing a store that advertised her "rare" gifts!

The happy couple on their 50th wedding anniversary

Maren's mom with a beautiful bunch of flowers

There were lots of people at the party, and the weather was perfect

It didn't take Gavin long to get bored, though, and he appeared with face mask on, ready to go swim in the lake again!

Won't someone please go swimming with me?

Bryden, just hanging out at the party - he's getting to be a pretty good looking kid, if I do say so myself!

We did a hike up tot he top of Noble Knob, down by Crystal Mountain, in late September. The weather was perfect and the huckleberries were still fabulous!

Casual hiking dude!

Family photo with fall colors

Contemplating Rainier

Cookie break!

Last updated: December 29, 2006