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Last Day on The Road in Great Northwest

I like datelines, but this one could be Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland! My original plan was to stop near Seattle Thursday night and drive to Portland Friday before my Saturday flight.

Instead I took the tough route and drove the distance today — it proved to be worth it.

The real highlight was getting to see Mount St. Helens! I was approaching the area about an hour north of Portland and saw a huge snow covered mountain, missing its top of course and realized that was it.

Had I ever seen it before I'd have known Sunday there was no way it was going to be visible from the observation area. I didn't drive back up today because it was too late. But I did stop at the visitor's center where they have a great area to take pics.

That's where I shot both of these.

I knew the mountain was a sizeable one — 9,677 feet before eruption. But after seeing the wide swatch of destruction Sunday, then the size of the mountain today it all made a lot more sense. The volcano lost more than 1,300 feet in height in the May, 1980 explosion.

The side facing I-5 shown here, doesn't give you the full impact. The other side of the mountain is where the force of the volcano blasted a major chunk of the mountain into the surrounding area.

I really wish I had not been tired and it was earlier so I could have driven back up to the observation area where you can look into the mountain.

For anyone who's never been up in this area, it's just incredible to see the power of mother nature.

The other good thing was that it was a beautiful clear day. So, I saw Mt. Ranier passing Seattle, then Mount St. Helens, and even Mt. Hood when I arrived early evening in Portland.

I now have Friday for a little recovery before flying home Saturday morning. I'm thinking of taking the Columbia River drive which I'm told is incredibly beautiful.