Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ape Canyon

Oh, it's been a busy summer. 
("Oh, sure, always say that. Can we get to the pictures, please?")
But it has been busy! Just getting away to do something picture-worthy feels like a challenge. There's work, and now school, plus all the extra summer events, like weddings and such. But yes, we can get to the pictures.
("Okay, good. Enough of your excuses.")

In early August we hiked the Ape Canyon trail. Christina was the only one who had done this trail before and she really liked it, so she's been trying to get the rest of the family to do it with her for years. We ended up going on one of the only cloudy, misty days of the summer it seemed. But that's okay. Ape Canyon follows a ridge line up to the foot of Mt. St. Helens. Along the way, you pass from lush forest to the other-worldly blast zone. We never saw the whole mountain, but enough to know she was there. :-) 

About two-thirds of the hike looks more or less like this--lush forest. 

 But then you get to this.

Check out the roots in the bottom left of this picture! It looks like the 1980 eruption took the tree and left nothing but this.

 This is a view from the edge of the blast zone through a crack in the ridge toward the lush forest beyond.

The blast zone is pretty barren, but there are signs of life! Someday this tiny tree might be part of another lush forest!

This, I think, is part of the area called the Plains of Abraham (I don't know why...). It does look almost like a landscape out of the Middle East.

This little pool was fed by water--glacier and snow melt, I would think--coming through the blast zone.

More signs of life! 

This little fern is fighting to grow out of the volcanic rock!

It was a good hike, but it was long--we think we might have hiked as much as 10 miles. That was a bit long, considering how out of shape I am--my legs were definitely complaining! Still, it was good to get out there. I'm glad Christina kept asking us to do it!