Hiking Mount St. Helens – Cougar, Washington…

We knew we were near Mount St. Helens in Portland, and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hike it.

We routed to Climber’s Bivouac Trailhead in Cougar, WA. We parked in a parking lot on the mountain, and we started our hike.

We would have loved to climb to the rim to look into the crater of an erupted and active volcano. Climbing to the rim is a 9.6 mile hike roundtrip. We did not have the time or the permits to climb that high, but we set out hoping to see something volcano-like along the way.

We walked through a forested area for about 2 miles. It was nice and cool, which energized all of us.

We were starting to wonder if we’d make it out of the forested area, but we were pretty determined to see something beyond all the trees. So we kept going.

And going.

And going.

Eventually, we saw a lot of light beaming through the trees ahead. And then we saw rocks. Lots of rocks. And out of the trees, we emerged.

We were excited to see piles of large rocks covered and surrounded by ashy dirt.

This satisfied our longing to feel like we were actually on a volcano. After a bit of exploring, we turned around and started our hike back down.

Most of our kids ran ahead of us and Manning yelled back, “You want us in your sight, right?” I yelled, “Right!” And that started a long game of In Sight, Out of Site. They’d run until they were just out of my view. Manning would then yell, “Out of sight!” They’d all come to a halt. As I’d come closer, he’d yell, “In sight!” And they’d all take off again.

We ended up hiking about 4.5 miles roundtrip. Though we didn’t get to see the rim of Mount St. Helens, we had a great time!

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