The very first part of our long journey became a Tour de Volcanos. We happened to live in Oregon and Oregon happened to be the state with the most volcanos in the US: 41 volcanos!! Plus there are 10 more in Washington, 13 in California and 20 in British Columbia. All that together is the great Pacific Northwest.
The Volcanic activities we did on our tour so far:
Snow under our trailer on the Mazama Campground! Will our trailer be warm enough at night? Will we need to make a human cuddle pile under a pile of all our blankets and sleeping sacks and stuffies and pillows? Slightly intimidated by the cold we still were so curious that we couldn’t wait long after our arrival on the campground. We had to go immediately to see Crater Lake. A curvy road further up the hill, snow here and there, and not much later we were standing in front of the lake. Humongous! I mean, for a lake it is a good size. But imagining the eruption of lava that ate it’s way through the top of this former hill… Very impressive! I felt smaller than an ant.
June’s only comment was ‘Too cold!’.
Beautiful lake by the way. A visit to Crater Lake is totally recommended from my side. So, so impressive.
And we survived our first night with trailer in the snow.
Newberry Volcano / Lava Cast Forrest
Newberry Volcano even formed two lakes. We didn’t make it all the way to those but we got a good test of our 4wheel drive through the forrest along NF 9720 (that’s the road or better call it trail for cars). Nice forrest, nice off road experience… whoooaa!! What’s all that black mass? Walls of black rocks to both sides of the street.
We found a spot next to the small path that offered enough space for our Tundra. So we parked next to a 3 story high wall of large rocks. The kids were busy exploring the bits and pieces on the ground so I took my chance and climbed up and was on the moon. Only that it’s dark brown, almost black. Or in a burning hot tar pot! So, quickly back downwards, somewhere was shade down there!
We had a quick lunch on the back of the truck, pre-cooked soup, while Basti flew the drone over the lava field.
Don’t ask me why the rocks have that color in the pictures. They are in reality really almost black. Anyway…
Lava Cast Forrest is also recommended!
Lava River Cave
We told June that we’re going to visit a cave just like in one of her favorite stories (Doctor Brumm geht wandern / Doc Brumm takes a hike). All our headlamps, flashlights and a small lantern were wrapped around us and we got in a good bunch of clothing layers.
We climbed down the metal stairs and it took some convincing to get Juni into the shadows. We climbed over big rocks and small rocks. Used all our lamps at once. And were a bit jealous when other cave visitors walked by with the rented waypoint lanterns. Those are really powerful, really powerful. I made a mental note to buy one later.
Anyway, we made it into a large chamber, a long tube with quite high ceiling. It looked like a man made tunnel with its even walls. It’s really made by a lava stream. June decided that it was enough with this cave stuff and Mika also showed impatient signs of hunger.
The cave is probably much fun for older kids, especially when they discover the bats. We were happy that we got to stay maybe 30 min in it.
This is the most amazing pile of dust I’ve ever seen. Smith Rock was formed out of volcanic ashes. Our first visit there was very short. The kids were melting in the sun and not happy. I got a free moment the day after to go running along Crooked River next to Smith Rock. That Was Amazing!
Little Crater Lake
Our very first travel night happened to be at Little Crater Lake. Now that we’ve seen Crater Lake, I would suggest the name Mini Crater Lake since it’s really tiny compared to the ‘real’ one. We spend the night at the campground right next to the lake and were happy to leave in the morning due to massive mosquito attacks.
Mount Hood is a fun one. Snowboarding in July? No problem. Just 1 hour South of Hood River is always a ski lift open.
Mount Hood also has a lava field to offer. I can’t find my pictures of that anymore but check out this screenshot from google:
The white stream that seem to flow out of the mountain ‘on the bottom’ is not snow, it’s white (well light grey) lava stone. Super light weight. There is a small stream of water, creek size, running through the lava field. When I first saw this, I thought “See how terrible the drought is…! The big river is a tiny creek now.” Haha! Now I know better.
Mount Hood is quite a beauty too:
Mount St. Helens
We stayed one night at the Seaquest State Park which is across the street from the Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center. I only saw parts of the documentary that is shown there every 30 mins because it was ‘too scary’ for Juni. Luckily she got curious over and over again and so we went into the movie room and out again, in and out, in and out. Just like Marlin and Nemo do it with their anemone.
The top and part of the side of Mount Saint Helens was shot off the mountain with one big bang and slammed into Spirit Lake. This craziness happened within two minutes and caused a ton of trouble for the lake. It got toxic, lost a lot of water and millions of trees fell in and formed a log mat which is still visible today. The eruption was in May 1980.
We moved closer to Mount Saint Helens, stayed at Iron Creek Campground and drove up to Windy Ridge Viewpoint. Spectacular view! You can even climb up some stairs to see the Mountain and Spirit Lake and the Log Mat all at once. We schlepped up our kids in carriers together with lunch and camera. This might have been the start of Bastian’s inguinal hernia. We’re not sure.
June was constantly complaining that it was too windy. We were schlepping and schlepping and breathing like work horses, but the view was worth the effort. Unfortunately there was one big cloud hanging out in the crater and didn’t want to leave while we were there.
Mount Saint Helens is absolutely recommended to. On top of the recommendation list actually.
That’s it for now. If the pictures are slightly weird colored, my apologize. I’m sitting in the darkness of our trailer, everyone else is sleeping and the light level of my laptop screen is turned to a minimum. Typing really quietly is also a skill that needs to be learned 🙂
More soon-ish. Maybe even more volcanic activities. We’ll see.