We were having dinner in McMenamin’s newest Hotel and Pub. A booth overlooking the river on a beautiful evening. Our waitress had been inanely chatting while we were looking at the menu. I gave my order and then all of a sudden she stopped in mid-sentence and said
“Oh, he’s dreamy! Look at how dreamy he is, those eyes!”
I looked all around for the dreamy guy. Then I realized she was talking about Tom.
“Sister” she said. “You did good, he’s so dreamy! I’m not flirting or anything, don’t mistake that, I just think those blue eyes are dreamy.” She left to put in our order.
Obviously flattered and puffed up, Tom asked if his eyes were indeed dreamy.
“Well, I think the river is reflecting off of your eyes and they’re pretty blue and apparently really dreamy at the moment.” Usually his eyes are two different colors.
“Paul Newman blue?” he asked. “No, not even close. No one’s eyes will ever be that blue. Sorry.” I said.
We were staying at the Kalama, Washington McMenamin’s and heading up to hike Mt. St. Helen’s the following day. McMenamin’s is very well known in the Pacific Northwest as they have so many hotels and restaurants. They usually take an old historic (or not) building and refurbish it into a hotel. Most of them are very charming and this was no exception. We had a room on the Columbia River side and it was very dreamy. That bed was so comfortable and so were the pillows. Don’t you think pillows can make or break the enjoyment of your stay?
The next morning we had breakfast again in the Pub and were early enough to get a booth on the River. The food and coffee were great, it was quiet and I think the most enjoyable place to have breakfast ever. Then we checked out and proceeded up to Mt. St. Helen’s for our next adventure.
We’ve been here four years now and have never been to Mt. St. Helen’s. That mountain blew up 38 years ago when I was much younger. I remember it blowing but never experienced the impact of it like we did when we were up there. The visitor centers have a movie with sound of the blast and it was unbelievable. The blast sent rock, ash and lava 50,000′ into the air. It was a lateral blast which is the worst and the entire mountain came down burying everything in it’s path. Everywhere we were that day on the mountain had been destroyed 38 years ago.
I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what we saw. I think a more barren landscape, but It’s lush and beautiful, with lakes, streams, valleys and wildlife. There are hiking trails everywhere. We took two of them for a total of about 8 miles. One was the picture on the right and one was along a lake. There is an observatory almost to the top where you can see the snow covered crater of St. Helen’s. The Mountain used to be more than 10,000′ tall and is now around 8,000′. To climb to the crater requires a permit which we didn’t have and I didn’t want. It looked very foreboding and I was more than happy with the hikes we were doing. The devastation carved out new valleys and lakes and destroyed old ones. Many people lost their lives that day including the infamous, colorful Harry Truman who owned the St. Helen’s Lodge, had spent 50 years of his life there and refused to leave.
The stories of the survivors, especially the couple who were camping and heard the blast and began to pack up and leave. While doing so the sound of trees snapping like matchsticks and the roar of the mud flow drowned everything else out. They looked up and saw a river of mud (pyroclastic material according to the information in the visitor centers) and trees bearing down upon them. One of the trees crushed his leg but he crawled up onto a log and began riding the log while trying to grab his wife. He grasped her twice but each time she was pulled under the mud. But he didn’t give up and with his last attempt was able to grab her long hair and hang on. He was able to pull her to the surface and they rode the logs until the flow slowed such that they could stop. Now that is one dreamy guy!