Wednesday, July 13, 2011

20 May 2011 Portland to Seattle

We liked Portland and decided to stop and walk around the city before making our return to the Portland area. Like so many towns the nice buildings and architecture don't photograph well during the busy daytime streets and with the crowding of new buildings.

The Pod sculpture from 2002 is a fun piece that pivots around in the base.

Mill End Park is officially the smallest municipal park in the world. It's a bit strange to see a park sign for the small planting in the median of the road, but its all in good fun (and a geocache)

After leaving Oregon, we made a stop at Pearson Airfield to stamp our NPS passport and visit the park area. Besides its US military history, Pearson Field is the spot where the Chkalov Flight landed in the US. What, you've never heard of the Chkalov Flight (neither had I)? Starting in Moscow, it was the first plane to make a non-stop flight over the North Pole in 1937.

It does take forever to actually get to any of the big mountains. Mount Saint Helens was a place we both wanted to explore. We knew it still had snow at a low elevation and knew we didn't have enough time to get really close so we agreed to get as near as possible, We started at the Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center and got the best view we would see of the peak. The boardwalk through Silver Lake gave some great views of the mountain and some super wildflowers.

We drove the road toward the mountain as long as possible before we had to turn toward our stopping point for the evening. We stopped at one now closed park which was closed after the eruption and hunted a couple of caches along a road that was heavily damaged during the eruptions and closed afterward. At the last cache along the road, Ali spied calypso orchids. We had never seen this showy orchid before so this was quite a treat.

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