On Monday we decided to take REMs team to Mt St Helen. According to our friends in Portland it was a must do and only 1.5 hours away.
So, we plugged in Mt St Helens into google and off we went. When we exited the I-5 I had a brief moment of wondering "are we going the right direction", but really we are going to the top of the mountain how can it be the wrong direction.
An hour later, as we are looking for the big volcano unsuccessfully, we pulled over and talked to the local sheriff. Apparently the volcano is on the west side of the mountain and we had just driven to the top of the south side.
For the sake of the car of teenagers I quickly readjusted plans to go on a hike of the Ape Cave, the third longest lava tube in North America. With pitch black conditions and a consistent 42 degree temperature it turned out to be an awesome experience.
After we went back down the mountain and had lunch we decided we were close enough we mine as well go to the west side.
Seeing the destruction of the 1980 eruption was much more significant after seeing the beautiful greenery on the other side of the mountain,
For future traveling reference (this is according to the Mt St Helens park ranger who stated that about 20 people a day get misguided). Washington/Oregon residents and google consider Mt St Helens a hiking mountain (Lava Canyon and Ape Cave) and will direct you there (1.5 hours). If you want to see destruction you have to type in Johnston Ridge Observatory or National Volcanic Monument (2.5 hours). Who knew?