Mt St. Helens… on May 18th, 1980 the eruption of Mt St. Helens disrupted the lives of thousands and changed more than 200 square miles of rich forest into a grey, lifeless landscape. Now, more than thirty years later, the land around the mountain is slowly healing. Nature may be covering the scars of the 1980 eruption, but many people will never forget what happened that spring day. Mt Rainier… the highest peak in the Cascade Range at 14,411 feet. The “mountain” is surrounded by old growth forest and stunning wildflower meadows… It is an active volcano encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice, which makes it the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48.
Day 1 – Tuesday August 31st – Home to Kelso WA
North we go… we’ll indulge in a wonderful lunch at Parkers Steakhouse in Castle Rock before making our way up… Mt St Helens. She is most famous for her catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, which was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 feet to 8,365 feet and replacing it with a one-mile wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The Mt St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically studied. Our first stop is Johnston Ridge Visitors Center, named after the volcanologist David Johnston, who was camped out on this ridge observing the volcano when it blew. His final words were “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it.” This site has an awesome view, as well as great exhibits and an award-winning film. We’ll also visit the Forestry Center… It tells the story of Mount St. Helens and the remarkable recovery of forests, fish and wildlife following the eruption. The center is a partnership of Weyerhaeuser, Washington State Department of Transportation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. We’ll make our way back down the mountain with a few stops along the way… welcome to our home for the night the Red Lion in Kelso… we’ll have a nice dinner here before saying goodnight. Red Lion Kelso (B, D)
Day 2 – Wednesday September 1st – Kelso to Paradise Lodge Mt Rainier
You’re in for a treat this afternoon… we ride the Mt Rainier Rail Road and take in their Logging Museum… The distinct noise of a steam whistle can be heard as the train travels near and far into the distance of the forest just south of Mt Rainier. And when the train stops at the logging museum you’ll be treated to the most comprehensive collection of steam locomotives in North America! You’re sure to feel like you’ve stepped back in time during our trip.
Sit back, relax, and take in the sights and sounds of the misty forest as we roll along the foothills of Mt Rainier. We make a photo stop at the 105 year old Mineral Lake Lodge… take in the most picturesque view of Mt. Rainier reflecting in Mineral Lake! Next a couple of favorites… View the king of waterfalls, Comet Falls, named because of its resemblance to a Comet’s tail, and the very popular Narada Falls – its name is a Hindu word meaning “pure”. The Nisqually Glacier Bridge crossing the glacier fed Nisqually River is a picturesque wooden bridge sitting high above one of the largest glaciers, the Nisqually Glacier. Welcome to Paradise… we’ll stop at the visitor’s center before we head to our home for the night… Newly renovated Paradise Inn… Designated as one of the “Great Lodges of the West,” Paradise Inn provides a relaxing retreat in Mount Rainier National Park. Aptly named and there are few locations within the entire national park system that are this stunning. Nestled on the south slopes of the glacier-shrouded volcano at an elevation of 5,400 feet with stunning views of wildflower meadows. Paradise was built in the popular style of the period with large timber frame exposed on the interior. The timber used for the interior décor of the building was cut from dead Alaska cedars that had been fire-killed in the Silver Forest just below Narada Falls and had seasoned to a light gray or silver hue. You’ll have some time to get cozy in your room before dinner. Paradise Inn (B, L, D)
Day 3 – Thursday September 2nd – Paradise Lodge to Home
we’ll head home but the fun isn’t over yet…We’ll stop at “The Grotto” the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. This beautiful 62-acre shrine and botanical garden provides a peaceful retreat… After our catered lunch here take a leisurely walk in this beautiful place! Join us on one of our most scenic adventures…. (B, L)
$1,028 Double $1,228 Single
A $100 per person deposit will hold space; balance is due by July 2nd, 2021