Almost Mount St. Helens


Saturday we were busier than one armed paper hangars!  Up at 7:00 to go to the chiropractor (love getting adjusted!) and then on the road to go to Mount St. Helens.

My best laid plans were not very well planned out unfortunately, but we made the best of it.

  1. We didn’t stop soon enough to get breakfast so we stopped at the “last food” option before going further onto the mountain.  Let’s just say it wasn’t that good and although it put something into our bellies, we decided we wouldn’t return on future trips.
  2. I didn’t check the snow forecast/closure list for the mountain.

The drive down was really nice, drizzly but nice.  We didn’t hit any major traffic and time seemed to breeze by

Our first stop was the Visitor Center and after this we wanted to drive up to Johnston Ridge Observatory to learn more.

My Dad had taken me to Johnston Ridge YEARS ago when I was in high school, and it made a lasting impression on me.  The view was amazing and the building was loaded with information and artifacts.  I thought for sure this would be the place to go for The Bean to learn as much as she could to become a Volcano Expert!

We walked into the Visitor Center though and soon found out that due to heavy snows, Johnston Ridge was closed until May.  Very sad panda moment here.

The visitor center though had a little exhibit area that you could tour.  After talking to the Ranger on Duty (Alyssa) we found out that The Bean could do this little booklet program for FREE and learn something about Geology and Volcano-logy!

To tour the exhibit was a small fee ($5.00 for Adults and $2.50 for Students, if you had a party size larger than ours, it’s $15.00 for Families with children up to 17 years of age) and we gladly paid it.

In addition to a model of the entire area of the volcano with blast area and other information, there are exhibits that show how tech-tonic plates work, how volcano’s are created, what the area was like pre-eruption (May 18, 1980).  There is also this huge mock up of the mountain you can walk under to learn more about magma and what volcano’s are composed of.

The Bean enjoyed the entire exhibit and was happily trying to answer questions in her booklet.  I think her favorite part though was the seismograph.  They have one under the floor boards that you can jump on to see the needle move as it tracks you the same way they track vibrations that occur on various mountains across the world.

Fun Fact: Not all mountains are volcano’s and not all volcano’s are mountains.


She only had to complete 6 sections of the booklet before she was sworn in as an “honorary Junior Geologist”.  For all her hard work, she received a certificate (was on the back of the booklet) , an honest to goodness plastic gold badge, a sticker and a map of volcano’s in the cascades to show her class.

We were disappointed that Johnston Ridge was closed but were informed that the Science and Learning Center was open, so that was our next destination.

On the way there, we pulled over for one of the viewing sites and couldn’t see much of the mountain…


Somewhere, among all of those clouds is Mount St.Helens.

The Science and Learning center didn’t have as much to offer as the Visitor Center and by the time we got up there, it was drizzling more, so we didn’t stay long.

Then began the long trek back down to I-5 so we could go home, on this whole road though I was looking for somewhere to pull over to get The Bean some ash to show her class.  I was hopeful even though The Bear kept insisting that it had been 36 years since the eruption and I wasn’t likely to find any.  I was determined though considering my dad had gotten me a lot when he took me (*cough* over 10 years earlier).  Sadly it didn’t happen.

There wasn’t snow at the Science and Learning Center, but on the way up we did run into snow, and on the way down The Bean became a grumpy Gus.  The joke then started that we were going to make a “snow Bean”.  It only took finding a safe place to pull over so we could play in some of the snow….

Considering we were lacking our snow gear, we didn’t play with the snow that long.  We threw some snow balls though and had a few laughs before piling back into the van to drive home.

We finally got back on the road after 2:30 p.m. and were in Chehalis at 4:00 p.m. which is were we stopped to eat something.

The name of the restaurant is Jeremy’s Farm To Table.  Everything there is locally grown and the menu changes frequently depending on what’s available in that season.  We arrived to early for pasta (I had found the site on Yelp and the pasta looked divine!

We also had a little girl who had been asleep since getting done playing in the snow and she was NOT happy.  It took some coaxing but she finally cheered up (maybe it was showing her the desert case?) and was back to her normal self.


We started off with cheese curds that are made with Beechers cheese.  This is cheese that as far as I know you can only get in Washington.   I can either go to Seattle and buy it/watch them make it or get it from local grocery stores like Tacoma Boys.

The Bean got a personal cheese pizza…


While The Teddy Bear and I shared a Prime Rib Pizza..


I didn’t take pictures of desert!  I wouldn’t have had time to either because they were soo good!  The Bean got a Brownie warmed with vanilla ice cream and The Teddy Bear and I shared a Chocolate Mousse with whipped cream on top.

I also did some browsing in the small farmers market attached to the restaurant…I’m a sucker for apple chips and bought a large bag of them for $15.00.

We have decided to make another trek back to Mount St.Helens in June before school lets out, and this time The Voice will be coming with us (she was to tired from staying out till midnight the night before watching Boss Baby) and we will be taking a cooler with sandwich/lunch stuffs to eat.  We also will be eating breakfast before we hit the road.

All in all, even with the weather and things being closed it was a good trip.


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