Bridges…Bridges…And More Bridges

Reporting from the Seattle area, here’s the final “catch up” chapter of Wags Wild Adventures in Portland…..

“Vancouver! Vancouver! This is It! This is It!” That chilling warning from 30 year old David A. Johnston, an American volcanologist with the United States Geological Survey, marked the beginning of Mount St. Helens horrific eruption on Sunday morning, May 18, 1980. Sadly, it was his final radio call from his post 6 miles from the volcano. His heroism and commitment to help others will always be remembered.

Mt St Helens-6  Mt St Helens-3

We watched the news coverage so many years ago (yes, we are that old!) but standing at the Johnston Ridge Observatory, seeing the crater that replaced the once towering mountain peak gave us a new perspective. Barren gray lava fields covered the land of bygone forests and rivers. And yet, life is returning to the scarred landscape. New growth forests and vegetation are emerging. Rivers are cutting new paths through the debris field. My takeaway: hope and life in the face of destruction. It is definitely worth the visit. The observatory provides a wealth of information including an excellent film documenting the event and ranger presentations about the still active volcano. One reported that rock falls are common in the crater. These create huge plumes of ash and a rash of calls from airline pilots advising that “your volcano is erupting again”.

Mt St Helens-2    Mt St Helens-1

Mt St Helens-4   Mt St Helens-5

“Brrrrr, it IS cold!” I remarked as we descended into the black, damp cave with headlamps and flashlights ablaze. Yep, 42 degrees F! We stood at the mouth of the Ape Cave, the third largest lava tube in North America. Slowly we picked our way over the rough, uneven ground. We followed the twisting and turning tube for 1-1/4 miles through low tunnels and huge cavernous rooms to the wall at the end. The only way out was to go back the way we came. Whew! We completed Level 1, a unique adventure. The second level is filled with rock piles, some as high as a one story building. The only way through is to climb up and belly crawl over the top while rocks slide beneath you to the next pile. At the end, you scramble out through a hole in the top and hike back through the forest. So, it is reported. We did not attempt Level 2. The Ape Cave is at the south side of Mount St. Helens.

Ape Caves-2   Ape Caves-3

Ape Caves-6  Ape Caves-4

Our travels brought us to another fort, Fort Vancouver, a National Historic Site in Vancouver, WA. Unlike the military forts, this one was built by the Hudson Bay Company to foster and protect its fur trading business. The structures are reconstructions built on the excavated fort site and it is still an active archeological site. The audio tour is a great way to learn about the history and lifestyle of the fort as you wander the grounds.

Fort Vancouver-5  Fort Vancouver-6

Fort Vancouver-4  Fort Vancouver-3

So, farewell to Portland! The city of bridges…. bridges over the river, bridges over freeways, bridges over bridges….bridges over troubled waters (sorry, couldn’t stop myself!). Bridges are streets in Portland. Farewell to the fun, thriving downtown full of residential and business towers, shopping with NO sales tax, grocery stores, upscale boutiques, gourmet restaurants, Camera World (hurray!), live music mid-day in the plaza, bustling trolley system, confusing bike and bus lanes (really, a bike lane in the center of the street?), and too many one-way streets (how many blocks and right turns do we take to get to the next street over?).

Categories: On the Road


  1. Fun Fun Fun……Its been years since we have been to Mt St. Helens and Ape Caves. Its an amazing place. Portland the first time we were there is when we finally broke down and bought a GPS system. Got lost every time we went somewhere. Excited to see you in two days… drive safe….


  2. I remember the ‘blowing’ of Mt. St, Helens, it was on Karen Tew’s (Gould) birthday. Greg must have been in heaven at the Camera store.
    Keep the adventures coming! miss you!


  3. when we grow up…. we want to be you!!! Loving your posts… keep em coming!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Rosanne Wagstaff

Travel Writer

Out an' About

Loving life and Embracing a New Earth


Wild photos and the tales they tell

Alberta Skies RV

Living Life and Making Memories

Stubborn And Courageous

Stubborn And Courageous Adventures Reflecting the Father's Heart to The People.


Definition: A distinct kind or sort what liveth in man-made automobilehomes

Wags Wild Adventure

ad•ven•ture: an exciting or remarkable experience


The Mitch and Val "Roadshow"


The Wildlife in Nature

Tales from the Backroad

Art, travel, and livin' the life

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Lee Rentz Photography Journal

A journal of the thoughts, pictures, and adventures of photographer and writer Lee H. Rentz. Inspired by nature, with a passion for ideas both visual and literary.

Arizona Highways

Escape Explore Experience

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

Follow the Blonde Coyote and see more of the world!

Jim Caffrey Images Photo Blog

photography from the ground up

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

%d bloggers like this: