Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mt. St. Helens Campout

On June 29 we headed off to explore more of beautiful Washington with a trip south to Mt. St. Helens.  We took Grant with us, since his family wasn't ready for camping yet after the birth of baby boy Christensen #5, affectionately called Z.  The kids loved the illusion of this wall at our lunch stop in Olympia.  It looks chest high, right? 
 But actually it is only knee high.  Ha!
 Look at all of those cheerful, well rested kids before their night of attempting to sleep in a tent. 
 We stayed in Beaver Bay Campground, south of Mt. St. Helens, with the idea that we would explore that area, and then check out Mt. St. Helens, our volcanic neighbor, on our way home.  I believe Jared is rocking the lumberjack in basketball shorts who forgot flannel shirts aren't appropriate for summer look.   
 The setting was beautiful.  Eloise and I are making the faces hat Seattleites make when we are faced with glaring, unobstructed sunlight.  We want to love this glorious yellow orb, but we find it very difficult to open our eyes. 
 The Carvers came to camp next to us. 
 We had a great time throwing rocks in the water and exploring the beach as the sun set. 
 After a halfway decent night's sleep (None of our kids scream all night anymore. Our standards are quite low for camping sleep.) We broke camp.  Maybe next summer we will be ambitious enough to try a multiple night camping trip. 
 We discovered that we were only a few miles away from the third longest lava tube in the United States, called Ape Cave.  We had to go check it out.  We took flashlights and hiked through the lower cave.  I think the portion we hiked was only a mile and a half round trip, but it felt longer.  Sammy and Lucy both absolutely gave out at the very end of the cave, and had to be carried, whining all of the way back.  This was a tricky operation, since the ground is covered in loose rocks of all shapes and sizes, and we had to light our way with flashlights. 
 We went back to the campground for lunch, to play on the playground, and to hear a ranger talk. 
 The ranger talk was slightly less interesting and more crowded than we had anticipated, but we got to meet Smokey. 
 We did stop to see Mt. St. Helens on our way home.  We even stopped at the visitor center and heard a talk from a ranger about the eruption on May 18, 1980.  When it came to actually going inside the visitor's center, or taking any pictures, we decided that we were too tired, so we headed back to the car. Sleepy kids enjoyed a movie on the drive home. 
Five filthy, exhausted children = successful campout. 

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