Thursday, 7 August 2014

Day 70: Portland, Mt St Helens, Mt Ranier 400km

Today Mark has two mountains for us to visit - Mt. St. Helens and Mt Rainier.

The sky is clear.

It is early Sunday morning.

The traffic in Portland is light.

Join us for a ride.

Portland is called the city of bridges. Many bridges connect the North and South shores of the Columbia River which bisects the city.

Very soon we are out in the forest on winding roads.
Men and their machines.
Mt St. Helens in the distance.
She looks like a regular mountain from this perspective.
We stop and and Mark explains the changes in the landscape resulting from the Volcanic Eruption in 1980.
There are thousands of dead trees on the mountain sides.
Regeneration is happening.
"Rebirth is the legacy of natural destruction, and life quickly returned to the scorched earth near Mount Saint Helens. The rapid regeneration surprised most scientists, who believed that the rebirth would occur in steady, regular stages. Instead, nature ran riot, led by dozens of organisms that had amazingly survived the devastation. Moles, tiny pocket gophers, and ants survived because they were buried when the explosion occured. And saplings and shurbs buried in the snow survived, while the taller trees were devastated."
Spirit Lake is fringed with tree trunks.
We came down from the mountain and stopped for lunch
Meet Tammy and Warren. They are out having a ride on this gorgeous day.
We got chatting. Tammy is a mom of three girls. Warren us a longshoreman at Tacoma Port.
I asked Warren about the symbols on his jacket. He stood up and turned around...
...and showed me the back of his jacket and said it was fine to take a photo.
Mark kindly explained to me later that most people wouldn't have stopped by to chat to them because they belong to a Motorcycle gang.
In that case most people would have missed out on meeting to friendly people whose eyes lit up when I mentioned to them that 'We are all God's children."
Warren's bike.

Next stop for us in Mt Ranier. Mark is hopeful that there will be accommodation at the Paradise Hotel on the mountain.
Cars are queuing to enter the Mt Ranier National Park. We have our annual pass ready.
The Park is about two hours from Seattle and is open from May to November. It is Sunday and also summer school vacation time now and many families are heading into the park.
Mt Ranier
Paradise Hotel
I chat with Khulud, Asmara and Duaa and Saudi Arabia who are studying English at the University of Washington. They already have university qualifications from university at home and they have very positive ideas about what they want to do in the future.
We visited Saudi Arabia in 1996 and my mother visited my brother who lived there in 1977. The girls were as pleased we had visited as we are when we meet someone who has been to New Zealand.
While I am chatting to the young women Dick and Mark discover that there are two rooms available. This is a minor miracle because the hotel is fully booked during the season.
The Paradise Hotel was built as a work scheme project in the 1930s depression.
Local timber and stone was used. In some cases the trees that were used had been through forest fires and the heartwood was intact
An old photograph of the common area shows someone playing a piano which has logs built around it...
Today someone is playing the same piano.
Meet Steve and his. St. Bernard puppy, Libby.
She brings back memories of our Riley.
Come for a walk with me up to the alpine meadows.

I am overawed by the wildflowers at the foot of the mountain.

What a beautiful mountain scene.
After dinner we settle in for a game of Rummikub.
Anne taught us this game in McCall.
The game is serious...
The game is close...
The winner gets to sit on the throne chair.
Thank you Anne.



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