Thursday, June 29, 2023

Mt St Helens - 43 years later

Mt. St. Helens - clouds hanging just above the crater

I had the opportunity to visit Mt St Helens in 2012, and now, eleven years later. However, due to a mudslide a few weeks ago, we could not go to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. 

It was interesting to see the changes (sadly, I didn't put up a blog post about our original visit - and don't have access to pictures from that time) What really struck me was the huge number of green and healthy large trees I could see now, where during my first visit many of the hillsides were still covered in downed trees blown over by the blast. 

I recall having a discussion with the Mister on our first visit about public and private lands and how they were treated differently after the blast. The public lands, those in the park, were left to recover on their own. Forested areas on private lands were managed, and downed trees were collected and harvested. 

Looking at the top half of the picture below, one can see a line that moves diagonally from mid center, bottom to the left. On the right is land that was left to return without any interference by man. The lush, green forest on the left side is managed forest. Here downed trees were removed. New trees were planted and the forest is maintained by cutting, thinning and fertilization.

Here is a picture of a hillside shortly after the volcano exploded in 1980, and that same hillside today. Scientists and locals who were familiar with the land around Mt St Helens commented that after the blast they struggled to recognize the land. In looking at the then and now picture, one could almost say the same thing. This particular area of land is part of the park and is not managed. It has regrown, but the changes are not quite as dramatic as those in managed lands.

Managed lands recovered as much lumber after the eruption as they could. They had to. They were in the businessselloing wood, and the blast effectively removed their product. 

Trees were replanted on managed lands. Research and experimentation led the foresters to discover that the optimal way to replant was to dig down through the ash and plant the seedlings so that roots could reach the soil. If planted just in the ash, there was little to hold water and there were no nutrients and the seedlings died. They also learned that they needed to trench away from each tree so any water that collected could run off. Without a trench water sat in the bowl of dust and ultimately drowned the tree. 

There were wonderful displays at the visitors center that engaged kids (and young at heart) in understanding the concepts of managing forests and the importance of wood products in our lives. Toothpaste...from trees?? (Play "I Spy" to see if you can find the Colgate package)

This was once a river of mud, ash and timber. Much of that still remains.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Value Added

Yup...the pups are now worth far more than when we bought them, if you calculate the "investment" we just laid out on their  lives health!! 

Very sick puppies at the vet's office

We had a morning driver's meeting. Upon returning to the motorhome I noticed a puddle in the crate and chastised the puppies for peeing in the crate. Then I noticed that Vickie was drooling copiously, and was very lethargic. I looked for veterinarians online and called a few that were nearby. One went to voicemail - (my message was responded to a few hours later) The second vet was able to fit me in as an emergency. 

I grabbed Vickie and took off for the Vet (10 minutes away). Shortly after I arrived the Mister called and said I needed to come back and get Kaitlyn. She was going "downhill - fast!" She was demonstrating tremors and an unstable gait. He found a friend to drive them to the Vet's office and dropped dog #2 with me. 

A full blood profile and urinalysis was performed on both puppies. The vet found it interesting that the only number that was outside of the normal range for both dogs was that for TT4 - hyperthyroidism. The vet's first thought was they had ingested some tainted raw meat. Well, there was an interesting morsel on the road of the campground, perhaps a dead bird, when we were walking that at least one dog had investigated... but I didn't recall that either had it in their mouths. 

Both dogs were very sick. Obviously they had ingested something that was affecting them. The vet recommended that the dogs have IV fluids and observation for the rest of the day.

Fast Forward.....

We picked up the puppies. What an amazing transformation! Vickie wasn't drooling. Kaitlyn wasn't bobbing her head and staggering when she walked. They were alert and ready to go home. 

Reviewing their symptoms, the speed with which they appeared, the different reactions from the dogs and the numbers in their blood profile, as well as the time of year and other patients,  the vet concluded that the dogs had ingested metaldehyde, a toxin found in bait for slugs and snails. I had noticed a lot of land snails - of course, the dogs had checked them out. I had not seen evidence of metaldehyde pellets, even though the dogs had been drawn to some areas of shrubs. It is entirely possible that the landscape maintenance guys had broadcast snail pellets under the shrubs to control the destructive animals.

Later I recalled that the dogs had been interested in a mound of dirt from a gopher's tunnel. I figured it just smelled interesting, but then remembered they each picked something up off the mound. I pulled them away, but evidently they ingested it, and that possibly could have been gopher bait. 

The puppies spent the rest of the day receiving IV fluids and some medications, they and once home had a charcoal shake and medications to coat their stomachs and to control vomiting and vertigo.

We will probably never know for certain what it was.  The dogs aren't saying a word! All I can say is that they were very sick and happily,  have bounced back. Hopefully they will have no lasting effects from the experience.

Sunday, June 25, 2023


While in Pendleton, OR we stopped to see the oldest western wear and saddle shop in continuous operation. Hamley's has been in operation in this exact building since 1905. There were known for making the "finest saddles man could ride", and they continue to make saddles today. 

This machine was called the "clicker". It cut multiple layers of leather using a force up to 50,000 lbs

This is a Hamley's saddle from 1922 that was sold to Hoot Gibson

Duff Severe was a renowned saddle maker who apprenticed at Haley's.

Here's a description of the bronze art work of Duff

Duff was famous for his detailed miniature saddles

Across the street from Hamley's we ran into Rod, another saddle maker,
and another character!

Rod told us about his life riding broncs, drinking too much, coming clean and now working out to make a comeback appearance in a rodeo to honor his brother who died in a rodeo accident. 

I bought his book and will be able to tell you more about Rod once I'm finished. 
But, keep your eyes/ears open to see if miracles do happen,
which, according to Rod, is a given!


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Going Underground - Pendleton

Many years ago we stopped in Pendleton, OR. We visited the wool mills and a mustard manufacturer, but we were unable to take the famous "Underground Tour". This time, Adventure Caravans had taken care of getting tickets for the tour, so we had the opportunity to go underground and learn what it was all about.

Pendleton, like many cities, is riddled with underground tunnels and underground spaces. These steps lead down to a speak-easy, a popular "watering spot" during prohibition. Notice the spikes welded onto the railing of the stairway. Those were put in to discourage men from sitting on the rail while waiting to visit a nearby brothel. 

There is a bar downstairs that is still used for special occasions now.

There was also an ice cream parlor downstairs. 
A serving of ice cream was sliced from the small carton in the picture. 
The ice cream was a luxury, and the ladies from the brothels were often their best customers.

We stumbled on a tribute to Lewis & Clark in one of the tunnels!

Many of the tunnels were lit by way of glass blocks in the sidewalk above.

Windows and doorways lead off the tunnels to various rooms.

Chinese laborers were prohibited from being on the streets after dark. Many of the Chinese residents lived underground, and many had businesses there as well. 
This was a Chinese laundry.

The Chinese also had a bathing business. Customers could choose to have a bath or a half-bath.
Men had to bathe before visiting the local brothels. 

The Chinese laborers may have had sleeping areas with bunks in rooms underground.

Some artifacts were discovered in the tunnels and underground rooms that show how the Chinese laborers lived and worked. There were several Mahjong sets found below ground, as well as evidence of opium usage. 

A butcher had his shop in the elaborate underground spaces. 
It was a great place to store and sell meat!

Madame Stella Darby ran one of the brothels  boarding houses in Pendleton. 
She had two rooms that she rented to men to keep her status as as "rooming house".
Each woman had her own private bedroom separate from the "cozy rooms". The ladies had a shared kitchen area and laundry. The men were interviewed by Stella and she maintained high standards.
The women she hired were well taken care of and she contributed generously to her community. 
A statue of Stella graces the sidewalk near her brothel.


Friday, June 23, 2023

Dam, That's a Lot of Water

We had a quick tour around Portland, then out to the Cascade Locks, the Bonneville Dam and Multnomah Falls. 

The highlight of the Portland tour was a stop at the International Rose Test Garden. The flowers were magnificent. The scent enveloped us as we walked around. What fun to see such beautiful blooms without having to lift a finger to make it happen!

Lewis' post after seeing the falls

The Columbia River was treacherous when the Corps of Discovery came through. 
There were many rapids and falls as the river rolled downhill toward the ocean.

Now, dams and locks control the flow of the river.
However, it still has dangerous areas, especially the Columbia Bar where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.

The dams on the Columbia (and other rivers as well) have fish ladders to allow fish to navigate upstream. Many species spawn in the fresh waters of rivers. Upon hatching the young navigate to the ocean and return to the same river and location when they are ready to spawn.

Lamprey eels were among the fish that were moving upstream as we visited.

The fish are counted and their species and numbers recorded each and every day.

At one point, even before Lewis & Clark passed through the area, there was a land bridge stretching out into the Columbia River. Indians from either side saw this land as sign that they should meet and befriend one another. A large mural on a support of the Bridge of the Gods which runs from Oregon to Washington just below the Cascade Locks shows the land bridge.

Lewis & Clark first noted tidal movement on the river and realized they were getting close to the ocean. However, they learned that they still had many miles to paddle before they actually reached what is now Astoria, OR.

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....