Thursday 18th June
Continued our journey north into Washington on the I-5 crossing over the Columbia River in Portland and continuing until we reached the 503 turnoff. A lovely scenic route along the Lewis River past Lake Merwin and onto the small town of Cougar set next to Lake Yale which has several park areas and sandy beaches. We are south west of Mt St Helens and staying at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar, just opposite the lake. On the far side of the lake are forested hills which we have a fine view of from our campsite. As we were setting up camp we could see a couple of birds of prey taking advantage of the thermals rising above the hills opposite. We rushed for our binoculars and could see it was two bald eagles! Looked like they were fighting. The camp is in a very natural setting and has a small café and bar. The town has a fire station, a post office, a bar/restaurant, a couple of gas stations with general stores, plus two RV parks all within walking distance.
Outside one of the general stores is a rather nice bronze of a Cougar. There is a rest area for motorists opposite the camp that has a nice forest walk to lake views. We presume this is here because the 503 is one of the routes to Mount St Helens.
Friday 19th June
The day started with fine rain which cleared quickly but it remained cloudy until late afternoon. We spent the day around camp relaxing and catching up on post, emails, blog and of course the laundry. There has been a woodpecker here all day working away at a telegraph pole near the road. No more sightings of the bald eagles but plenty of swifts about.
Saturday 20th June
Went up to the south side of Mt St Helens on the forest road. In May 1980 Mt St Helens volcano erupted and sent a cloud of ash 15 miles skyward and 57 people were killed in the aftermath. The volcano still rumbles and spits steam but I am pleased to say it is quiet at the moment. As we travelled higher through the forest the landscape became more stark and volcanic. We went to Lahar Viewpoint where it can clearly be seen how the eruption and resulting mudslides effected the landscape. The valley is slowly recovering and is carpeted with spring flowers and clumps of new growth trees.
On our way back we stopped off at Yale Lake for Sandy to have a run and swim. The lake water seems quite low because we could see the stumps of trees in dry area at the edge of the lake.
When we arrived back had a nice dip in the pool to cool off, the weather is gorgeous. Went for a walk around Cougar and got some supplies then back for BBQ dinner.
Sunday 21st June
Stayed around camp and took advantage of the sunshine. I got through quite a bit of the book I am reading, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. We have a small meadow at the back of the RV that Sandy likes to have a run around in amongst the spring flowers.
Someone has turned up at the camp in an immaculate model T ford – not in its original colour of black.
Had a nice chat with the family camping opposite who are from Portland. Sandy fell in love with their dog. The school children are now on holiday until September so the camp has been busy with families starting their summer vacations.
After much thought, we have decided to go up to Alaska. Our original plan was to visit Alaska next year but as we are on our way to Canada and half way there it makes sense to continue. Now that the decision is made we will head straight up to the Canadian border. To Fairbanks in Alaska it is over 2,000 miles from here so to take advantage of the short Alaskan summer we need to head up there asap.