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Lava

I’ve been following the eruption of Kilauea while at the same time, planning our fall camping trip to Mount St Helens.  I knew from previous trips about the difference between a’a and pahoehoe but the recent footage has given some really great visual examples of it in action, rather than the cold and plant-covered versions I’ve seen locally.

Here’s a video that shows the difference.

On the way back from the Ape Cave we saw a big pile of clinkers. This time, knowing what it is, I’ll be sure to take more pictures.

2,000 years ago, a smooth basalt flow ran through a forest on the south side of Mt St Helens. It smothered the trees which then burned or rotted away, leaving behind casts in the stone.  It is now covered by another forest.

This was once the trunk and root of a tree.
A new tree grows where the old one stood.
Before I knew how these were formed, the perfectly round holes were baffling.
Lave covered this fallen log, leaving the impression of its bark. This one is large enough to crawl through.

Pahoehoe flows sometimes form lava tubes when the outsides cool, but the molten center continues to drain away.  There are many on the south of St Helens. Ape Cave is one, and it is over a mile long.

A small lava tube
A large lava tube. (Ape Cave)
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Whidbey Island

Whenever we have guests from out of town and I’m looking for a day trip, this is one of my favorites.  We start by driving up to Deception Pass and walk out over the bridge to Pass Island.

View from about mid-span.

The current through the narrow channel can reach 8 knots at peak flow. I’ve been kayaking near there before but never through the pass itself.  This time there was a series of standing waves west of the bridge and high winds, which made crossing a white-knuckle experience.  I was afraid to look through the viewfinder, so this picture was taking by just pointing the camera in a direction and hoping it caught something good.

From the bridge we headed downhill into the park for a walk along the beach and a look at the ancient (800+ year old) douglas fir.  We’ve heard this called the “Monkey Tree” but I have no idea where that name comes from (we did fill it with our own little monkeys).

Then it was on to the hike itself.

A different wind-contorted tree with ukulele player
Ebey’s Landing
Looking up the bluff

Then our final stop was Fort Casey where we flew kites and let the kids run around in the tunnels. For some reason I always forget to take photos at Fort Casey, but here’s my dog looking alert in front of the old battery.

From there we headed south to the ferry for a short hop back to the mainland.

The only thing that would make this trip better is if it could be done in reverse so you wound up by Snow Goose Produce for gigantic ice cream cones on the way home.

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Gold Creek Trail

We hiked almost 4 miles today on Gold Creek Trail in Snoqualmie Pass.

My photos today were near misses.  I really need to pay more attention to my settings and actually look at the photos in the camera before I just presume that it’s OK.  And I need to zoom in to look at more details.  This one is my favorite and it’s because I love the color and swirls that came out in the sky.