September 22nd (Day 19): Skyline Trail
|Marmot at Nisqually Glacier at Mt. Rainier, getting ready for the winter
The nicest birthday present I could possibly get for today was this gorgeous weather with blue skies and sunshine. After a hearty breakfast at Copper Creek Restaurant we again drove through the park and then we saw the mighty Mt. Rainier towering above the trees in the valley into the blue sky, covered with lots of snow.
From the Jackson Visitor Center in Paradise we first took the Dead Horse Creek Trail to then reach the Skyline Trail which would take us to the Nisqually Glacier, up to Panorama Point at an elevantion of 6.800 foot and back via Myrtle Falls to Paradise. We saw dears, marmots and squirrels, trees and rocks covered with ice, climbers returning from their two day climb on top of Mt. Rainier. It has been a fantastic hike through the world of mountains.
Mt. Rainier was hiding behind clouds – as he does it most of the time – as we left the park and were heading back to Mt. St. Helens where we were planing to do another hike the next day. We ended up in a small logging town called Morton where we found a nice motel and a good place to have a wonderful steak or prawns for dinner.
September 23rd (Day 20): Windy Ridge
|Lave dome in the crater of Mt. St Helens|
As we drove to the Windy Ridge Viewpoint at Mt. St. Helens we came to an area of forest destroyed during the huge eruption in 1980 and not renewed yet. From this viewpoint we could look down to Spirit Lake still full of logs from trees taken away by the pyroclastic flows more than 25 years ago.
We hiked to the Loowit Falls below the crater and returned via the Truman Trail – a 10 miles round trip. We came through a spectecular desert like area ( and especially my wife is always fascinated about those type of hikes ) and had great views of Mt. Rainier, the fume lava dome in the crater and down to Spirit Lake. The sun was shining and we consumed a lot of water here.
After the hike we drove around Mt. St. Helens via the southern route towards I-5 and reached Woodland late in the evening to find a room there for the night plus some Mexican food for dinner.