Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mount St. Helens weekend, day 3: Windy Ridge, and the long way home

After our successful Mount St. Helens climb we slept like logs in our little cabin at the Lone Fir. 

We got up early on Saturday hand ad a slow-moving morning, both of us feeling a little stiff and sore. I consulted the Googles and determined that we could go up to the Windy Ridge viewpoint -- which we had never been able to visit, since the road is often closed -- and then on to either the campground we were considering for the night, or home. So we packed up the car and set off for Windy Ridge.

It's a funny viewpoint -- not too far opposite, it seems, from where we were on the rim the previous day. This is, apparently, the closest you can get via car to the volcano.

From the parking lot there's a trail called the "sand latter" that goes up to a viewpoint. And, well, it's a pretty good name! It's 368 steps up, up, up the hill.

Lots and lots and lots of steps.

But the steps lead up to a nice viewpoint, with interpretive signs (my favorite!) and great views of Spirit Lake and the Pumice Plain.

Oh, and the big blown-out crater, of course...

You'll note that the skies are grey and hazy ... did I mention how lucky we were to get such glorious weather for our climb???

There's the parking lot waaaaayyyy down below.

And, yes, we needed to go down all of those stairs.

Verrrrrry slowwwllly....

We made a few more stops on our way back out to the highway, admiring the view of the volcano over and over again. 

Then we hit a bit of bad news -- the highway to Randle was closed just north of the Windy Ridge turnoff... and Google didn't know. So our trip home from the Lone Fir via the Windy Ridge Viewpoint went from this:

To this:

Sigh. Looks like our theme of things taking longer to get home than to go out continued! Between the traffic and the tiredness, we decided to forego camping and just head home to sleep in our own bed. But the weekend had been a success!

Wil, looking tired immediately after our climb

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