Monday, August 6, 2012

Hiking Lava Canyon

Hi there! We've had such a busy July and I haven't blogged about any of it yet! I'll try to make up for that in the next couple days here. I had a problem with uploading pictures, but I think I've found a solution. If you're a Facebook friend you'll recognize the pictures in this post. But, here I'll give more complete commentary. :-) 

So the first big event of July was a much anticipated hike to Lava Canyon, on the south side of Mt. St. Helens. We had wanted to hike this trail for several years and never gotten around to it; this was the year to complete that goal. It has some pretty interesting features that had attracted us, as you'll see below. However, until this year, the fact that some parts of the trail take you right on the edge of a steep drop-off above a fast river had escaped my notice. *gulp* Praying for safety, we went ahead with our plans to hike it with a group of friends.

I didn't take any pictures for the first half of the hike, so this picture finds us at our lunch spot and turn-around point. This is the Muddy River, which the hike follows. I know, it doesn't look very muddy, does it?

The story of Lava Canyon--as I understand it--is that the canyon was filled with mud and debris by a previous eruption of Mt. St. Helens. All of that was washed out by a lahar from the 1980 eruption. So, in a way, it's a relatively new canyon, I guess.

Having fun with some slow shutter speed.

Our lunch spot, and the bridge that marked our turn-around point.

Group shot :)
 Heading back up-river, we came to the Ship, a huge rock formation that stands in the middle of the canyon. We took a steep little side trail up to the top of the Ship and were rewarded with this view!
Looking up the valley to multiple waterfalls.
 To get onto the edge of the canyon, you have to climb a 30-40ft ladder. 

Then comes the scary part (at least, scary for me). The trail gets very narrow and takes you right past the edge of the canyon. 

Beautiful view of a waterfall, just off the edge of the trail.

Definitely out of my comfort zone.

Looking over the edge.

The final excitement on the hike was the suspension bridge. We had already crossed it earlier on the hike. We didn't actually need to cross to get back to the car, but some of us went back across just for fun. 

For me, the suspension bridge was fun, because I knew I was fairly safe, despite the view straight down to the bottom. I didn't feel so safe on the trail.

The shadow of the bridge cuts across the canyon.

The view down river.

And up the river.

Lava Canyon was definitely an exciting hike! It wasn't terribly long, but it does have some interesting features. I'm thankful for God's protection as well! It was a great time spent with friends.

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