Mt St Helens & the Columbia River Gorge

After a quick breakfast in the room and a trip to the local Starbucks, we drove to Mount St Helens. What an amazing sight to behold. I was 20 when the volcano erupted in 1980 and I remember it well. The suddenness of the explosion and the absolute devastation it caused put this landmark on the map for most Americans. The National Forest Service has built an observation center and a visitor center, both of which provide incredible views of the mountain and the surrounding land area. The forest is starting to grow again, and it is odd to see whole sections of trees that are exactly the same height. They look fake in a way.

After our visit to Mount St Helens, we did our first backtracking on the vacation as we headed back to Portland so we could drive the Columbia River Gorge Historic Scenic Highway. Well, it turns out that key portions of this road are closed and we had to abandon the drive in favor of the faster but still amazingly scenic I-84 interstate highway. We did stop at the Vista House for some gorgeous shots of the Gorge, at the Latourell Falls for a few videos and photos, and at the famous Multnomah Falls along the Interstate. Really all very spectacular stops and quite an enjoyable drive all in all.

We are spending the night tonight in The Dalles, OR and will most likely make it to Post Falls, ID by tomorrow night.

We had no Prius sightings today, and we got an average of about 48 miles per gallon for the day. We have noticed that during the downhill portions we are able to completely recharge the battery, which means that we could charge an even bigger battery.

Check out the Mount St Helens panoramas and the Columbia River Gorge photos for some of today’s highlights.

© Karen Bell 2012