Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trail of Two Forests

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument




We almost ignored this one.  Our brochure of the national monument park said this was a quarter mile hike on a boardwalk trail.  Easy.  Breezy.

Too easy, you know?  We wanted a bit more of a challenge.

Man, oh, man.  Am I glad we stopped.

What in the world had we walked into?  Never have I seen anything quite like it.  A beautiful verdant moss carpet filled with giant holes.  It instantly brought to mind Louis Sacher's wonderful novel Holes--a favorite book of our boys when they were young.  Juvenile delinquents are sent to Camp Green Lake and forced to dig holes as their punishment.

These holes, however, weren't dug by youngsters, but by an ancient lava flow from Mount St. Helens in Washington.  The hot molten rock entombed the trunks of trees as it flowed down the mountain.  The trees turned to charcoal and eventually weathered away, leaving trees molds in the hardened lava.  It's a unique, surreal landscape.
There's actually a lava tunnel you can crawl through, but we didn't have flashlights with us.  We watched as a young family crawled out the exit.  The kids all had huge grins on their faces, but the dad was groaning.  "I'm getting too old for this," he commented.

We laughed, but his comment struck a chord.  As we continued to explore the area around Mount St. Helens that day, we vowed not to let the aches and pains of age slow us down.  Stop at the easy, breezy trails so we don't miss a thing.  BUT continue to challenge ourselves.  Explore.  Climb.  Crawl through caves.  Seek the magic. 

Feel young.  As long as we can.

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