Saturday, August 8, 2009
Saturday, Aug 8th, Rangle
We slept long and well last night (too many latenight episodes of Frazier), and didn't get on the road until 11:30am. We only had about 100 miles to get to Rangle, Washington. It's a very small town (about a block long) in a valley between Mt Ranier and Mt St. Helens. We set up Matilda, and took a ride up a road to Mt St Helens that was new to us. It comes south to a point (Windy Ridge) about ten miles east of the summit, just above Spirit Lake. We walked the remaining mile up to a facing hill just across from the summit. Unfortunately, there were clouds all around the missing summit, but it didn't matter to us because we came to see the re-growth on the surrounding hillsides.
The first time we came here, it was about a year after the blast. Absolute devastation for as far as you could see. Now, the line of impact can be seen in the changes to the forest as you drive into the blast zone. First, tall dead trees stand amidst their younger replacements, their top branches parched. At the edge of the zone, hillsides of a few more entirely bleached trees still stand among new young trees. Closer, the new trees become smaller, and the big ones are laid out in rows swept back by the blast. Finally, there are no trees, only shrubs and flowers.
But it's drop dead beautiful. The power of nature is on display, and you have to agree that it's gorgeous.
The problem with a small town in a mountainous area is the weakness of their internet connections. We'll try to put some photos into this blog, but you may just have to see all of them in Picasa.
For a look at the remaining photos we took today, click on: