Updated: Jul 10, 2020
I was getting antsy with going back to the office while numbers of Coronavirus cases continue to go up, and realizing that everyone of our trips this year has been cancelled. I felt like we needed a little getaway! Rich and I did a little road trip last year to Oregon and visited Smith Rock, Bend, and Springfield for family time, this year we did the opposite side of I5 and visited Mt. Saint Helens, Springfield, Florence on the coast, and Seaside. Let's start with leg 1, shall we?
Rich scoured satellite images of maps for hours before we left for St. Helens to find the perfect spot - and he nailed it. We grabbed a spot far from other people on an old lahar flow/ river bed that provided great views of the mountain, wildflowers and some intense wildlife.
What isn't pictured in these lovely sights is the bears that kept us awake ALL NIGHT LONG. (Edit: we found out these were actually the weird obnoxious scary sound of Nighthawks and not bears, but I will finish this post as if we still thought it was bears)
Before going to bed we took a stroll through the river bed to see what we could see. While we were walking back to the camp we heard some very obnoxious birds up above followed by a very-much-too-close deep growl and huffing. We stuck together and looked in all directions as we slowly walked away from that spot back to the site with a bit more shakey legs and rapid heart rate. When we got back to camp we heard the birds again, and another growl and huff north of our site. Then again across the river, then again south, then north, then south, then across ... (lather, rinse repeat). After listening for quite awhile we realized it was bears being annoyed by the birds and just chatting with each other across the river bed, and not cougar growls, we relaxed a little. (Again.... we found out a few days after not actually bears... Nighthawks) I actually started to find the bear (nighthawks) huffing relaxing - what wasn't relaxing was the alarm sounding birds (which turns out was actually all every sound was) that went off everytime we started to drift off to sleep. We were also convinced that bears would tear up our campsite trash bag after laying in bed for about an hour when Rich whispered "hmm... good thing we moved that trash bag away from the truck because I forgot that I threw away one entire raw sausage." At this point in the night everything was comical and ridiculous, and we realized we were never going to sleep so we more mentally prepared ourselves to clean up the site for hours after the bears would undoubtedly spread trash everywhere. Luckily - the hypothetical didn't happen and the bears stayed away. (We are now minorly dissapointed that the NightHawks were actually just that, and we weren't surrounded by bears... bears makes a much better and exciting story than dumb birds)
After pouring a gallon of coffee into our bellies we headed up the road just about a mile to lava canyon - this lava flow was formed 2500 years ago and then uncovered by lahar and water flows over time. The water was a beautiful clear blue and the rocks were a slippery express route to the next life so we stayed cautiously on trails - no scrambling here! This short hike was like walking through one of nature's coolest formation phenomenon.
Next stop: Springfield!