Having a "blast"

Last weekend we trekked out to Mt. St. Helens for a camping/hiking trip with a few of Kelly's coworkers. We hiked an arrid, scrubby trail through the blast zone, and the next day hiked through the lush forests unaffected by the eruption. It was interesting to see the contrasts in the landscape, even 26 years later.

The mountain is smoking again, and rumbles have been heard from within it. Many of the trails are closed to hikers, and warnings were posted for rock and mountian climbers to "climb at your own risk." They are concerned there might be another eruption soon...

See the smoke?

Mt. St. Helens on the right; Mt. Rainier on the left (the small white mound in the distance).


home sweet home.

After two days of fearing we might be living out of our car all summer (not a pleasant proposition given that we have two cats who were NOT happy about being in the car for five days straight), we found an apartment! Though it has elements of living in a basement, it's a pretty decent place. I think the Columbia River view makes up for the circa-1972, honeycomb-patterned indoor/outdoor carpeting.

For the next few months, we can breathe free - we're home.


On the Road

On June 10, 2006, we packed our car, filled our tank, and headed West. All told, we drove almost 1900 miles from Austin, MN to Astoria, OR. Going 85 miles an hour on the "American Autobahn" of I-90, we basked in the vast and barren country of the Great Plains. We faced the setting sun as we drove through the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota, the cattle ranches of Wyoming, the endless skies of Montana and Idaho, and the fog and rain of Washington.

On June 12, we arrived in Astoria, where we will be spending the next four months of our lives . . .

The Montana mountains.

Our first view of the Columbia River.