Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, and scary lava tubes

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Stratovolcanoes, lava tubes, blue skies, and sunshine. Sounds like another round of adventure with Vaniel!

Ape Caves: The third longest lava tube in North America. Ape Cave was formed nearly 2,000 years ago from lava streaming down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens. (Thanks, WTA.) Here’s the thing about caves: turns out, I’m not a fan. They’re dark. They’re scary. You can’t see further than your headlamp and there’s always someone like Colin Thompson who’s waiting to scare you. But I did it. I survived and the next time I tour a cave, I’m hoping for a little more modern electricity (looking at you, Carlsbad Caverns, I know you’ve got the goods). 

Mount St. Helens: On a gorgeous day in September, we found a picture-perfect spot in full view of Mount St. Helens. Colin did yoga, I read up on my Mount St. Helens’ history, and we enjoyed a late breakfast as we watched the clouds roll by. It only took an hour or so, but eventually, we were granted a fairly clear view of the top. 

Mount St. Helens
Vaniel in his element

Then, to make the most out of this beautiful day, we decided to “choose your own adventure.” Colin went for a 16.8 mile mountain bike ride along the Ape Canyon to Plains of Abraham trail and I opted for a 9.8 mile hike along the same trail. Those four hours were grueling but the views did not disappoint (including the main photo for this blog). 

Mount Hood / Timberline Lodge: Continuing our volcano adventures, we visited the Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood. We both distinctly remember driving past this turnoff last year but not this time. It was another remarkable day and we aimed to do it justice. We toured the lodge, soaked in the history, walked the grounds, and then Colin tackled the Timberline to Town mountain bike trail while I enjoyed some solo time with Vaniel. 🙂 

Next up, rock climbing adventures in jaw-dropping Smith Rock!

Author: Lisa

Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.

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