We slept in on Saturday.  It felt good to get up when we wanted to greet the new day.  I felt rested and eager to begin our day’s adventures at a very late 6:12AM.

Yes, I was up blogging.  I want to keep the memories alive by composing into words what life experiences we had tucked away in our vulnerable human memories.  Personal photos sharpened up what was already fading in our relaxed time away from work.

Today we put on our hiking gear.  Our goal was to put foot to trail in the Lava Valley on the SE side of Mt. St. Helen.  This beautiful gorge with a racing cavernous waterway was unknown before the mountain blew its stack. 

Hot gases and mudslides shaved the earth above an underground river.  Now, what was previously unknown was revealed for all to enjoy.  Examples of volcanic and water erosion throws a variety of scenic features for the curious hiker to photograph and test the extent of their wonder.

The path descends down gentle switchbacks.  Warning signs great you at the trail head.  Fatalities have already been registered by people who left the trail, fell over cliffs and drowned in the rapid water falls below. 

We regard the cautions as obedient citizens.  There is plenty to see along the way.  Massive rock formations form the perfect backdrops for photos.

Vistas give us pause to enjoy the expanse of the valley ahead.  They also amplify the rush waters in the narrow river below.  White water smashes against massive rock formations, pool in deep holes then cascade in great volumes over cliffs to the next level below.

This hike is filled with both splendor and gentleness along the way.  Blue skies give the evergreen trees a contrast in colors.  But, the bright sun keeps threatening to drive the temperatures up higher and higher.

Beads of sweat are already dripping down my collar.  Temperatures fluctuate broadly between the trail in the open and sections covered by the shade of forests that claim the sides of the mountains.  It is all very inspiring.

The highlight of our hike comes at the furthest end of the loop.  It is a foot suspension bridge going across the valley.  I volunteer to go first. 

I call it a wiggle bridge.  It bounces with every step.  There was some swaying too.  I liked it.  So few get to enjoy this spectacular area; it is worth the hike.

photo credit: brucefong photography