Published: September 2nd 2010August 26th 2010
Entry 27: Seattle, Washington: Mt. St. Helen’s Volcano Area, Washington
Thursday, August 26, 2010 Seattle Ya' Later (Sorry, it's late...)
Finally getting packed up in the ol’ truck, I was ready to shake Seattle’s subtle embrace and begin the (surely) long drive back to Chicago that Sophie and I faced (It had already been 5 weeks since we had left, and the eventual back-to-school mindset had already reared its head).
It was around 3:30 when I pulled out, and I decided to take the time to cross off my (only) remaining two items on my Northwest-area: the Seattle Public Library’s flagship steel-and-glass building, opened in 1994 and located near Elliott Bay on 4th Street and Madison.
Although I didn’t get to go into the building, I admired the building quickly from the sidewalk (ticket-writing was brisk, and I already had two under my belt). Unfortunately, the all Seattle libraries were to be closed for 5 days or so due to budget cuts. The building is great and surely compliments the skyline… Cobain's Last Stand...
The second goal: Kurt Cobain’s house. I wasn’t necessarily a Nirvana fan, but I do dig the on-site musical
history (the Lake where Otis Reading’s plane went down, for example). Scott had said that during our bike ride to Seward Park, we passed very near Cobain’s house, so I jumped on I-5, heading south, thinking that I’d cut over east to the shores of Lake Washington. From there, I could employ (or try to, at least) the use of my fancy-ass internet phone (or hand-held mobile device…) to get his exact street address (I’d seen all the pictures, including the eerie “legs outstretched” one, but couldn’t recall the house’s color, etc.).
I went too far south on I-5 (after sitting in horrible traffic for 20 minutes), and had to head back north even to reach Seward Park. I found it very, very difficult to manipulate the device and its small screen during the drive, and could never coordinate on the actual map to the maps and websites that I was struggling the view on the device. Finally at Seward Park, I viewed the map of Cobain’s address (171 East Washington Lake Drive East), and realize that Scott’s comments were a bit off—Cobain’s house was much further north (at least 5 miles), above I-90 and the bridge to
Driving very slowly up the curvy lakeside road, I finally made it to Cobain’s after 5 o’clock. I spent about 30 minutes with Sophie walk around the Viretta Park site, snapping pictures and reflecting on Cobain as a person and musician.
Finally, all the Seattle business was resolved, and I had plenty of chances to say my goodbyes, as I was stuck right in the middle of the suburb commute while heading south on Rainier Road, right along with the variety of classes of folks, heading to their variety of classes of homes (the geography puts a variety of people in close proximity—even the roads/commutes are victims). Head for Former Mountains...
After 3 ½ hours, I finally broke free of Seattle’s hip and intoxicating spell (and traffic), with a goal of reaching the Mt. St. Helens area, before dark fall, if possible. Of the two entrances/wheeled-access to the site of the May 1980 eruption, the less-visited, Windy Range, was a more interesting journey, as the tight highway 161 from Puyallup, down 7 past the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest’s small Southern Unit, east on Hwy 12, and finally, in Randle, a turn south
on Hwy 25.
My main goal, just after finally officially entering the National Forest, was to find a suitable place to camp, then view the volcano tomorrow, in daylight. There was a National Forest Campground near a creek, but I doubled back across a bridge to view opportunities for a more remote situation on the other side. There was a dirt road, with a clear-cut 1/8 of a mile distance between the road and the river. At this point, it didn’t matter, as, at this late hour, there would’ve been little interaction between myself and the water.
I passed a sign, printed with neon-green letters on a black background that read: No Campfires! No Camping! This, to me, seemed a bit confusing and did not deter me, or my low-impact methods, from further advancing up the road, which ended abruptly into a fern-covered hill with trees higher up. This is obviously a logging road, and, combined with the sign, area that I’d driven through, and this ending, another example of past/current logging happening in the West.
It was a quiet night, with a beautiful, deep blue sky overhead. A bit cold, probably in the
low 50s, cloudy (which led to an overnight rain—really only about the 5th time I’ve run into it). We woke early, eager to leave this bizarre spot, and make our way to Mt. St. Helens… Thanks for reading the blog! Chicago Dave and Sophie the dog
There are more photos below