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*lifeoftheparty*

Vacation to Oregon/Washington question...

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I am in the early stages of planning a 2 week vacation to Oregon and Washington. So far, we'll start at the Treehouse Treesort in Cave Junction, OR. Hit the Redwood National Forest in CA, and drive up the coast, hitting some must see places, and then staying for several days at Cannon Beach. (week 1) Then we'll drive up to the Seattle area, and end in Vancouver, BC. (week 2)

 

I am planning lots of outdoor activities- ziplining, river rafting, hiking, kayaking, etc. Obviously, I don't want to go in the winter... we're not into skiing and stuff ;)

I have lived in Monterey, CA and visited as high up as San Francisco- but never been farther than that. I remember it never got terribly hot in the summer, so I'm guessing that's even more true the farther north you go.

 

So I'd like it to be warm at least, not crazy hot, and not crazy crowded either....

What is the absolute *BEST* month, in your opinion, that we should go??

 

TIA!! :)

 

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For weather conditions, the most dependable are the last week in July and the first week of august.

 

That's also when Seattle does seafair.

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Definitely late July and early August. This 1-3 week period is known as summer here.

 

While you might get some rain, it won't generally be cold or last all day. A rain shell per person is a nice thing to pack.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts.  Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts. Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

We live in OR and did a southern OR/northern CA trip last year and a WA/BC trip this year, both in September. We had absolutely perfect weather for both trips and no issues with crowds. I've been told that September is the month to plan a wedding on the OR coast if you want the best chance at good weather. We spend three days on the coast last August for a wedding and while there were short periods of okay weather, it was fairly cold and rainy.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts. Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

These are very valid points.

 

August in the high season for Seattle area tourism.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts.  Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

 

My favorite month is May in Seattle, but I think mid September is the best for visiting. 

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Google Troutdale OR.  I am interested in Geography and am following the FedEx Tracking for a textbook that shipped

from Salem OR Monday. That area is just East of Portland and sounds interesting. I've been on I-5 going North/South thru Portland, but never East of Portland.

 

Mount Rainier is pretty spectacular. On clear days in the Seattle Tacoma area it looks much closer than it really is.

 

Parts of Seattle are very hilly, like San Francisco, which is why the Toyota I bought there had an automatic transmission.

 

San Juan Islands in WA and Victoria, BC.

 

Have a great trip!

 

ETA: I've been in Eastern Oregon, on the way to ID, but never immediately East of Portland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dh's favorite is the middle of august for the wildflowers at rainier.  

 

September the weather is definitely turning - it might be cool in the am, but warm in the afternoon.  or it could rain.  even though blackberries are still ripening - they generally are rarely worth harvesting in sept as the weather has changed that much.

 

this past summer was very nice - temps were pleasant, it never got really hot (except maybe a scant few times.)  didn't rain much either.  but that is NOT the usual.

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I agree on timing but aren't you backtracking if you start in Oregon and then go down to see the Redwoods before going up north?

 

Only a little bit :) I forget right now, but it was less than 2 hours from the Treesort to Redwoods.... It means skipping out on Crater Lake- but I REALLY want to see the Redwoods, and REALLY want to drive up the coast.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts.  Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

 

I'm originally from the South, so as long as July in the Pacific Northwest is cooler than July in New Orleans, we'll be OK, lol :)

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Thanks everyone!! I'm glad I asked because I was thinking June for some reason... August or Septmeber would be a great time for us. I think I'll definitely try and go then.

 

We aren't going until 2017, for our 15 year anniversary, but I like to book my vacations about a year in advance, because I like more choice in places to stay, watch airline prices, etc.

I'll pick an exact date based on hotel and air prices- but it's nice to have a distinct date range to look at. 

We don't mind the rain- we actually like it :) But as we are planning lots of outdoor activities, I'd like to go during a "drier" time :)

And yes, Lanny! I was just reading about the San Juan Islands- and Whidbey Island... definitely want to plan and visit those. The more I look at it, the more I think we might not even be able to make it up to Vancouver... which DH says he would prefer, he dislikes any foreign travel because he has a clearance and has to get approval first, and then always remember to include it on his updates. I don't think any of that is a big deal, lol, but whatever... he'd do it if I said "we're going", but I like to aquiesce to his requests, since he so rarely has any.

I was also just reading about the North Cascades Scenic Hwy....

Does anyone think we'd be making a big mistake to not make the effort to go to Vancouver?

Is the North Cascades thing worth forgoing Vancouver?

 

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Google Troutdale OR. I am interested in Geography and am following the FedEx Tracking for a textbook that shipped

from Salem OR Monday. That area is just East of Portland and sounds interesting. I've been on I-5 going North/South thru Portland, but never East of Portland.

 

Mount Rainier is pretty spectacular. On clear days in the Seattle Tacoma area it looks much closer than it really is.

 

Parts of Seattle are very hilly, like San Francisco, which is why the Toyota I bought there had an automatic transmission.

 

San Juan Islands in WA and Victoria, BC.

 

Have a great trip!

 

ETA: I've been in Eastern Oregon, on the way to ID, but never immediately East of Portland.

Troutdale, sorry to say, is nothing special. It is practically a suburb of Portland. :)

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I don't think it would be a mistake to miss Vancouver. Vancouver is amazing. It's totally different, it's gorgeous, great people, etc. But it sounds like you have more of a natural trip going on--the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens? Mt. Hood? Mt. Baker? I love all of the mountains and the trees and I'd skip Vancouver any day.

 

The only city things I'd say to see for sure are Powell's in Portland and to enjoy the Fremont Sunday Market and Lake Washington kayaking in Seattle. A walk to the troll, a little bike ride on Lake Union.

 

 

That area is just East of Portland and sounds interesting.

 

I canvassed every suburb of Portland as a teen. It was enlightening but East Portland is not exactly exotic no matter where you are from. The people are nice though.

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Haha! Yes, not exotic.

 

If you are stopping in Portland I second hitting Powell books, and maybe voodoo donuts if you are into that sort of thing. Also Multnomah falls and a bit of the Columbia river gorge would be worth your time. And then you could drive right past Troutdale and see for yourself.

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Haha! Yes, not exotic.

 

If you are stopping in Portland I second hitting Powell books, and maybe voodoo donuts if you are into that sort of thing. Also Multnomah falls and a bit of the Columbia river gorge would be worth your time. And then you could drive right past Troutdale and see for yourself.

 

I haven't heard of Powell Books- I'll look it up! The falls and Columbia River Gorge are on my list :) And I have seen Voodoo Donuts on Food Network- I'll definitely put that down!

 

Yeah, I guess we'll pass on Vancouver... I have two boys who will be 12 and 4 when we go on this trip- Older DS and DH have requested more "adventurous" vacations, and fewer museums and "educational" vacations :-/ 

 

So, that's what I am focusing on.

 

Besides, I know that eventually we'll take an Alaskan cruise, and I've looked at those before, several of them have you flying into Vancouver- so we'll get to see it someday :)

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I'll just add that no matter what month you travel, it's usually pretty cool on the coast. We like to camp on the Oregon coast in summer and the high temps are often in the mid-sixties. It's typically quite a bit warmer inland, maybe low eighties. Just come prepared for anything and you'll be fine!

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*lifeoftheparty*, on 02 Jan 2015 - 2:51 PM, said:

 

And yes, Lanny! I was just reading about the San Juan Islands-  ... definitely want to plan and visit those. 

Does anyone think we'd be making a big mistake to not make the effort to go to Vancouver?

 

Is the North Cascades thing worth forgoing Vancouver?

 

 

for the san juans - if you drive on, have a reservation for where you are staying. I cannot emphasize that enough.  you can park at the dock, and walk on the ferry if you just want to go for a day.  you can rent mopeds on the islands.  the two main islands (there are four with WA state ferry service) you can easily park your car in the ferry line the morning of the day you leave, and walk around the towns.  but it is routine (especially on summer weekends) to watch ferries come and go before getting on a boat.

 

san juan has a great place, san juan st. park.  we camped there once, to watch the orca's at the park that overlooks haro straight - between Vancouver island and san juan island.  Rosario resort is at the north end, nice place, good restaurant.  a great B&B about half way on the west side.  the highland inn.  you can go to the site, and they have a webcam.  the south end of san juan island is in the rain shadow.  it is desert.  some great history on san juan - the pig war between Canada and the US. orcas has mt. constitution which is the highest point in the san juans.  bring good binoculars.  there are whales to be seen almost any month you go.

 

we stayed at the place in march one year, and it was pouring rain at Rosario (we ended up there for dinner) - it was dry and sunny where we were at the middle of the island.  it was SNOWING in Everett - it was sunny t-shirt weather in Friday harbor.  the same day.

 

the inter island boats are more fun than those that go to the mainland or Vancouver island. 

 

north cascades has some incredibly complex geology.  there's a visitors center on the west side, that will give some graphics.  the east side is beautiful.  I'd be willing to do the trip again - which is only in the summer as the north cascades highway is closed in winter due to snow.

 

a great restaurant is chuckanut manor in bow Washington.  immediately south of Bellingham. (going up I-5 into Bellingham has some beautiful topography).   the place is old, dh loved it many years ago, and that's where we went for our anniversary last year.  I admit, I was skeptical - but the food was very good.  and awesome views of Puget sound/san juans.

 

if it would be a hassle for your dh to go across the border - honestly, there is so much to see on this side, I don't think you'd really miss anything.  (and the traffic to cross the border is rarely worth it. . . . )  I can spend days in Vancouver/Victoria.  (and like BC ferries.)  but there is so much else to see too.  and you're already doing so much.

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I'd pick mid-September after school starts. Less crowded, still warm (late July and early August were way too hot in Seattle for me), and generally not too rainy.

I agree! We have vacationed a few times in Seaside, OR, which is just north of Cannon Beach. September weather is beautiful, there are fewer people, and the lodging rates are lower after Sept. 15.

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I think the weather is great from mid-July through early October.  It can get a little bit dicey at any point, though.  But as a former homeschooler, I have to say that one of the main benefits of homeschooling is being able to travel off-season.  

 

We have a beach house in a resort town and the best month we ever have there is September.  Smaller crowds but still great weather.  It's a little cooler, but not usually rainy.  

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The North Cascade Highway in September or October is worth missing the entire rest of the trip for. Truly. It is fantastic. We try to go every year.

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When we went to Cannon Beach we really enjoyed visiting Ecola State Park: "Here, in 1806, Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition viewed burial canoes of the Kilamox (Tillamook) and, looking south from Tillamook Head, he described the view as the "grandest and most pleasing prospect" he had ever surveyed. "

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Clamming is something we love to do when visiting the OR coast. You can rent equipment inexpensively. Folks travel form all over to Mo's in Cannon Beach for the "best" clam chowder. Yum.. There are reviews online for Mo's.

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Oh and the Tillamook Cheese Factory is a favorite for us. Two word: cheese curds! There smoked cheese and ice cream are delicious. A fun tour and gift shop. They offer samples too. :)

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I may have missed it if someone pointed this out, but the weather really varies over your chosen area. I've lived in Portland for decades, and the weather is pretty reliably good from July 5 to the end of September. If I had to tell someone when to visit here, I'd say Sept.

 

But the Oregon coast -- and the California Redwoods/lost coast area -- are their own animals. Still I'd recommend Sept., but the Northern Oregon coast and the Redwoods/ N Cal coast could be foggy and cool. The Southern Oregon coast (in between those two, I know) is more reliably sunny. There's a similar variation up in BC/WA where there's everything from the Hoh Rainforest in WA to a reliably sunny area of BC (the sunshine coast?).

 

For example, in late July / early August this year, my older son was a chaperone for a 3 week trip of Japanese exchange students to Oregon and the Redwoods. Portland was sunny and warm (80s?). The place they went in Central Oregon (John Day Fossil Beds) was about 100, sunny and dry. The Japanese kids were so relieved when they got to the Redwoods and it was 60s and foggy. The weather at Crater Lake was somewhere in between.

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Mid-July into September.

 

Didn't see it on your list, but since you all like outdoorsy stuff, a sidetrip to St. Helens would be worth it. How often can you say you've hiked on an active volcano?

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When we went to Cannon Beach we really enjoyed visiting Ecola State Park:

 

We went to Ecola State Park last August on Patty Joanna's recommendation, and we had a great time there.  We spent several hours beach combing, playing in the waves, climbing the cliffs, etc. It was notably less crowded than Cannon Beach or the other beaches we'd driven past/visited that day. 

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Yes, I think I saw Ecola on TripAdvisor. I'll take a closer look- thanks.

I'm really going back and forth on Mt. Helens.... it looks out of the way for the route and activities I'm planning. But I feel like we should go... but then what if some freak 1 in 2 million event happens and we get Pompeii'ed with Lava.... I just don't know.... lol.

What about this Sand Dune place? Has anyone done this? Do you think it's a must do? I am not interested in this type of thing at ALL. But my DH and DS would absolutely love it. But because of other stops I want to make, we'd have to add on another day just to add this in. I'm really having trouble trying to fit it all in! We'll have a 4 year old with us, so we can't be go, go, going. the whole time. We need some downtime. We're at 16 days already! DH can get the time off to make the stay longer.... but if feels..... I dunno- gluttonous? Can anyone relate to that?

There is SO much to do out there!! We're never going to want to come home!!!

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The sand park might be more exciting for those of us who have grown up used to the rocky beaches of the northern west coast. I'm not sure that it's the most northwesty thing but it does look really fun!

 

As for St. Helens, they know way ahead of time when there will be an eruption. They were able to evacuate the entire mountain before the eruption in 1980. The only person who died was an old man who refused to leave--he wanted to go with the mountain. So that is not a concern. I'd be more concerned about packing the itinerary too full to enjoy nature and really relax.

 

And yes we have a ton of fun stuff to do here. I love it.

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Yes, I think I saw Ecola on TripAdvisor. I'll take a closer look- thanks.

 

I'm really going back and forth on Mt. Helens.... it looks out of the way for the route and activities I'm planning. But I feel like we should go... but then what if some freak 1 in 2 million event happens and we get Pompeii'ed with Lava.... I just don't know.... lol.  Volcanic eruptions are entirely predictable these days. No surprises. :) Mt St Helens has an excellent Visitor's Center complex. It takes most of the day to see everything.

 

What about this Sand Dune place? Has anyone done this? Do you think it's a must do? I am not interested in this type of thing at ALL. But my DH and DS would absolutely love it. But because of other stops I want to make, we'd have to add on another day just to add this in. I'm really having trouble trying to fit it all in! We'll have a 4 year old with us, so we can't be go, go, going. the whole time. We need some downtime. We're at 16 days already! DH can get the time off to make the stay longer.... but if feels..... I dunno- gluttonous? Can anyone relate to that? We have been sand boarding in Florence, but not at this particular location. We were camping at Lovejoy State Park, and there are lots of local places that rent sandboards or offer dune buggy rides. It's very fun but it is NOT a full day. Maybe 2-3 hours. It's a thrill riding down the dunes, but hiking back up gets tiring. My youngest was around 4 at the time, and she had a good time. It is UNIQUE!

 

There is SO much to do out there!! We're never going to want to come home!!!

 

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the dunes are fun - depends upon weather. there are a number of places that you can rent buggies. it is *very* dirty, and plan on everyone wanting a shower afterwards. I, (and most of the kids) had a blast - dh, not so much.

 

mt. st. Helen's isn't that far off I5.

 

If I had to choose between the dunes and st. Helens, I'd go to st. Helens. (haven't been for years, but the first time I was there was 84. just, wow. for miles. they do have a good visitors center on Johnston ridge.) oh, and st. helens' doesn't put out lava. it puts out a pyroclastic flow, and that is much, much worse. and they know in advance is something is happening. there are so many monitors on the lava dome . . . .

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WIMP!

 

J/K!

 

I learned to drive a stick after I moved to LA (from Seattle).  

 

Two years ago I went back for a visit and my BFF let me drive her car for the day, a stick shift.  I had forgotten how steep some of those hills are!  I was on I-5 and got off at James St. heading East and my knees started shaking as I realized that not only was the hill getting much steeper, but there was a LIGHT mid way up and I had to stop at a red light and start back up!  

 

On the way back I made sure I knew how to get there without hitting the hills again, although I wanted to drive past my alma mater and some old haunts I remember from my college days.

 

 

Google Troutdale OR.  I am interested in Geography and am following the FedEx Tracking for a textbook that shipped

from Salem OR Monday. That area is just East of Portland and sounds interesting. I've been on I-5 going North/South thru Portland, but never East of Portland.

 

Mount Rainier is pretty spectacular. On clear days in the Seattle Tacoma area it looks much closer than it really is.

 

Parts of Seattle are very hilly, like San Francisco, which is why the Toyota I bought there had an automatic transmission.

 

San Juan Islands in WA and Victoria, BC.

 

Have a great trip!

 

ETA: I've been in Eastern Oregon, on the way to ID, but never immediately East of Portland.

 

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You might like the Lake Quinault Lodge -- it is easily my favorite place on earth. It is in Washington state. The rainforest is just beautiful, and the hikes are great for a range of abilities.

 

My kids love, love, love Fort Stevens State Park and Lewis and Clark National Park, both of which are on the Oregon coast. 

 

 

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WIMP!

 

J/K!

 

I learned to drive a stick after I moved to LA (from Seattle).

 

Two years ago I went back for a visit and my BFF let me drive her car for the day, a stick shift. I had forgotten how steep some of those hills are! I was on I-5 and got off at James St. heading East and my knees started shaking as I realized that not only was the hill getting much steeper, but there was a LIGHT mid way up and I had to stop at a red light and start back up!

 

On the way back I made sure I knew how to get there without hitting the hills again, although I wanted to drive past my alma mater and some old haunts I remember from my college days.

I hate driving a stick in parts of Seattle_ especially downtown. (I learned to drive on one and love a nice sporty one. )

 

and Bertha has messed up the waterfront. Roads closed, detours. At the rate they are going, don't expect it to be better when you come.

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mommymonster, on 05 Jan 2015 - 11:42 AM, said:

You might like the Lake Quinault Lodge -- it is easily my favorite place on earth. It is in Washington state. The rainforest is just beautiful, and the hikes are great for a range of abilities.

 

My kids love, love, love Fort Stevens State Park and Lewis and Clark National Park, both of which are on the Oregon coast. 

there's a world record spruce not very far east of the lodge.  you can drive practically to the base, and it's surrounded by grass

 

used to be called big-tree grove is now just a "nature trail".  but it had some really big trees.  west of the lodge.  the coast is gorgeous.

 

there's so much to do . . .  .

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I'd go the week after Labor Day, if possible.  Not rainy yet, but the crowds will be gone.

 

My favorite place in the world is Mt. Rainier National Park.  I'd strongly recommend it over Mt. St. Helens.

 

Vancouver is a fantastic city, but not worth the hassle of crossing the border, in my opinion.  I'd visit the San Juan islands instead.  

 

North Cascades Hwy is an amazing drive(eastern WA), but the Hoh Rain Forest (western WA) is equally worthwhile.  

 

Lots to choose from up here in the PNW!  

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The North Cascade Highway in September or October is worth missing the entire rest of the trip for. Truly. It is fantastic. We try to go every year.

Would you pick it over Mount Rainier?  For someone who may not get up this way again?  Just wondering.  

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I don't think it would be a mistake to miss Vancouver. Vancouver is amazing. It's totally different, it's gorgeous, great people, etc. But it sounds like you have more of a natural trip going on--the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens? Mt. Hood? Mt. Baker? I love all of the mountains and the trees and I'd skip Vancouver any day.

 

The only city things I'd say to see for sure are Powell's in Portland and to enjoy the Fremont Sunday Market and Lake Washington kayaking in Seattle. A walk to the troll, a little bike ride on Lake Union.

 

 

I canvassed every suburb of Portland as a teen. It was enlightening but East Portland is not exactly exotic no matter where you are from. The people are nice though.

I disagree on Powell's Books and the Fremont Market.  In a time crunch, I'd never make these a priority.  Yes, a great book store.  Yup, a nifty outdoor market.  But nothing one couldn't find in any other large metropolitan area.  

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As for St. Helens, they know way ahead of time when there will be an eruption. They were able to evacuate the entire mountain before the eruption in 1980. The only person who died was an old man who refused to leave--he wanted to go with the mountain. So that is not a concern. I'd be more concerned about packing the itinerary too full to enjoy nature and really relax.

 

 

Actually, 57 people died as a result of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption. Many were not in the "restricted" area. Harry Truman, the stubborn old guy you mentioned, is just the most famous. That said, I wouldn't worry about a sudden eruption. We're planning a trip to Mt. St. Helens this summer. :)

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Would you pick it over Mount Rainier? For someone who may not get up this way again? Just wondering.

That's a toughie.

 

The Methow Valley is really incredibly gorgeous.

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The sand park might be more exciting for those of us who have grown up used to the rocky beaches of the northern west coast. I'm not sure that it's the most northwesty thing but it does look really fun!

 

As for St. Helens, they know way ahead of time when there will be an eruption. They were able to evacuate the entire mountain before the eruption in 1980. The only person who died was an old man who refused to leave--he wanted to go with the mountain. So that is not a concern. I'd be more concerned about packing the itinerary too full to enjoy nature and really relax.

 

And yes we have a ton of fun stuff to do here. I love it.

Ok, I also wouldn't worry about any volcanic eruptions but you're way off on your Mt. Saint Helens history. They didn't accurately predict the flow and blast area and dozens of people died, including geologists and a journalist who presumed themselves to be safe. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/1981/01/mount-st-helens/findley-text/1

 

That said, if there is any serious risk of a blast now, she'll know long before your trip. The detection systems and monitoring they do are facinating.

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Wow, thanks for that. I'm shocked, because I had heard that story countless times from the local news as well as my mom who of course remembers it.

 

Apparently the story of evacuation simply did not tell of the scientists and journalists who chose to stay on the mountain... why? How awful!

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Wow, thanks for that. I'm shocked, because I had heard that story countless times from the local news as well as my mom who of course remembers it.

 

Apparently the story of evacuation simply did not tell of the scientists and journalists who chose to stay on the mountain... why? How awful!

 

We know so much more about volcanos than we did then. Some of the famous photos were taken by someone who was too close (as it turned out). People were allowed back in to evacuate belongings shortly before the eruption; in fact, I think they would have been there morning of, if the eruption hadn't occurred when it did. I've seen the visitor center movies (I think that was where it was) and documentaries that summarize all this.

 

That said, there is next to zero danger today they would let visitors up there in anything close to that situation. I wouldn't worry a bit about it.

 

On the other hand, Mt St Helens has suffered cuts in funding, especially since it isn't a national park. One or more of the visitor centers has closed. Mt St Helens Institute is a great organization that has tried to fill in the gaps a bit. We have done some hikes with them.

 

Also, I am a devoted Portlander, but I agree I would skip Powells etc in a time limited trip in favor of seeing the natural wonders. They are unique.

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mellifera33, on 05 Jan 2015 - 10:24 PM, said:

Actually, 57 people died as a result of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption. Many were not in the "restricted" area. Harry Truman, the stubborn old guy you mentioned, is just the most famous. That said, I wouldn't worry about a sudden eruption. We're planning a trip to Mt. St. Helens this summer. :)

if you actually read the records of what was happening at the time.  (I'm from here and remember it well).

 

it was very politicized for a variety of reasons.  some because the scientists couldn't predict exactly when (or what) something was going to happen.  weyerhauser didn't want their property off limits to harvesting timber.  the democrat governor granted them access by controlling how the 'restricted area' maps were drawn up two months before the eruption.  there were other's who lived in the area, who wanted access.  then there were people who simply drove around the barriers anyway.

 

also keep in mind, in 1980 - volcanologists thought Pliny's eyewitness account of Vesuvius was an exaggeration.  (and harry Truman thought he'd take a boat onto the lake and be safe.)

 

imo: the saddest was David Johnston, a volcanologist monitoring from a *presumed safe by scientists* ridge miles away.  he got a front row seat and had about enough time to radio "this is it" before he was swept up in it all.  the ridge has since been named for him.

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