No Apes in the Ape Caves

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August 3rd 2017
Published: August 3rd 2017
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August 2, 2017

Place: Portland, Weather: 77 and sunny

Hours Driving: 4 hours

States Drive Thru: Washington and Oregon

Miles: 238

Restaurants: Subway



Books: Arf (Elizabeth), Dunkirk (Matt), El Elefante sin Memoria (Ben-for Spanish)

Last night was our last night on the houseboat. We all slept very well on the boat. I'm a little surprised seeing that it wasn't the greatest mattress and Paul and I felt a little like our feet were higher than our heads just slightly. Yet, we boat slept well. Maybe it was the ever so gentle rocking. I mean gentle because any more than that might have had me at the Lake Union Courtyard. I woke up and brewed my coffee and went to the roof to watch the scullers (rowers) silently cutting through the water just as the sun is lighting up the lake. So peaceful. Matthew joined me, followed by Elizabeth with two plates of blueberry pancakes with peaches on top. We took in our last mental photographs to hold on to. We love Seattle.

On our way out of Seattle, we drove the kids through the University of Washington campus. My sister went there after going to U of M (booo) and moving out to Seattle. What a gorgeous campus. The kids liked it too. We had to quickly start spilling out the negatives before all three of kids decide move to other side of the country and double our tuition bills. Then, off to Mount Saint Helens. It was pretty smoggy today I think because the temps were rising to 90s in Seattle and 100s south. It was still blue skies but a haze fell over Mount Rainier so we couldn't see it on our way out. Boooo. It likes to play hide and seek. We could not see Mt. St. Helens either due to forest fires and the direction of the winds. We stopped at the visitor center to watch a movie and see their little museum. We decided not to go all the way to the observation center because it was about an hour up and the rangers said visibility was poor. So we headed to Trail of Two forests. It is also about an hour but it is 30 minutes south toward Portland and then 30 minutes in.

This was a place my sister took me and I loved it. Super cool and super weird. I wanted to share it with my family. I reassured everyone it was worth it (at least I hoped). We got there and we were the only ones there. I don't think anyone really knows to go there. I like it that way. There are wooden paths going through the forest where hot lava scorched the forest and burned trees right out of their holes. Now vegetation is lush again after 37 years since the volcano erupted but you can see lava rock peeking out from under the green. I believe the paths are there because you could very easily fall into some very large and deep holes where trees used to be. Speaking of holes, they have a spot where they put a ladder down into one of the holes so you can crawl inside and through the root system and come out 40 feet away. I did it with my sister long ago and swore not to do it again. You MUST do it once. It's creepy, rocky, chilly and small. Each kid started down the hole and peeked into the dark labyrinth of root tunnels (lava tubes). None of them wanted to go first. I told Paul to get down there and go first. So being the abiding husband and father that he is, he headed down and started into the unknown (trusting me all the while). The kids were still hesitating until Paul's voice traveled out of the hole, "Lets go, I'm not at all interested in being in here." Ben was last and still hesitating while laughing at his dad's comment. I said I'd go in after him so I climbed down the hole and watched his foot disappear into darkness and I climbed right out. I said that once is enough.

They were all laughing and having fun even through the discomfort (as did my sister and I laughing hysterically going through it). I ran the boardwalk so I could get to the exit hole before they came out. One by one they came out smiling. They loved it. Even Paul. I don't know if any of them want to do it again but they all said it was an awesome experience. My question is...who was the first person to think it was a good idea to crawl in that hole in the first place? I also decided to take them to the Ape Caves (named after the spelunkers who found it). There are no apes in the Ape Caves. It is a giant cave formed by lava flowing in and receding out. I hiked all the way in with my sister and I knew they wouldn't really want to do it. There really isn't anything deeper into the cave that isn't near the front. It is a cold 46 degrees today, bumpy, rocky and dark hike in. So we just went into the opening. We didn't have a lot of time either. They thought it was cool as well. They all said they were glad we went to Mt. St. Helens.

We arrived in Portland around dinner time to another Residence Inn, made some spaghetti, garlic bread and salad and headed for the pool. I got some laundry done and now we are in bed. I am tired. Tomorrow I think we are heading to the ocean. It is supposed to be a record 108 tomorrow. By the ocean it's cooler. I will let you know what we decide. Goodnight.

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3rd August 2017

Fun times
I love being a part of the Housey's adventures! You guys look like you are having a blast :-)

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