Ok. It's a pun. I couldn't help it. We spent Mike's birthday weekend at Mt. St. Helens. It actually last erupted in 1980 (the year of Mike's birth). It's been on our PAC NW 'bucket list', and as we would love to leave here sooner rather than later, we thought it was high time we travelled down south to the volcano.
We're also entering in to a new era of our marriage. I'm finally done with school, and my nurse practitioner job that was supposed to start Aug 19 officially fell through on Aug 17. I actually think it's a total blessing and absolutely God's will. Though it seemed perfect on paper, it wasn't so perfect (or even ideal... or even safe) in real life. SO, I have lots of time to explore. Mike, also has more time free for 'fun family day' activities. The 747-8 freighter that he's been flight testing received it's official FAA approved flight certificate 2 weeks ago, and the Boeing engineers are also putting the finishing touches on the 747-8 intercontinental (passenger version). He's working way less weekends and hasn't spent a night away from home in at least 6 weeks! It took some adjusting, but now we actually know how to relax together!
Relax and explore is what we did for Mike's birthday weekend. Friday he took me up flying! He's been wanting to take me since we started dating.. and finally we had the time and money to do it (thank you Groupon!)
Mike and Jake the flight instructor checking things out before we took off.
We are taxiing on the runway here, and I took this picture because I am thinking, "Um.. do they shut the windows on small planes while in the air?". I am sure you all are thinking I'm so dumb because of course they shut the windows. But I was picturing Amelia Earhart in her plane with no top and I thought.. well maybe it's possible? When Mike reads this he will think I'm ridiculous... I haven't yet shared these thoughts with him!
Brand new 737s waiting to be painted and delivered.
Pilot Mike Wade and his assistant 'Mr. Not-So-Professional' Jake Somebody.
Aerial Shot over Bremerton
Puget Sound/West Seattle
As we landed we had a great view of the 747-8 intercontinental (Queen of the Skies). This is the plane Mike flight tests. It is HUGE and beautiful!
All in all, I LOVED flying with Mike. He, of course, is a fantastic pilot.. even did some tricks in the air. I am so proud of his talents, and so glad he chose engineering instead of becoming a full time airline pilot. So much easier to have family time!
So the next day we drove about two hours south to visit Mt. St. Helens! Here is the view from the visitors center at the front of the park.
A little closer...
and closer still...
The tree line is incredibly uniform because the entire forest was replanted in 1983 after the previous forest was destroyed by volcanic ash!
Some Wiki stats on the volcano: Mt St Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, at 8:32 am PDT which was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, caused an eruption, reducing the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,365 ft (2,550 m) and replacing it with a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater.
It was a beautifully clear day, and we could also see Mt. Adams (see it peaking out, left).
This crater now has glaciers that are growing.. a rare phenomenon in the Cascade Range.
We took some time to enjoy the view and let the baby boy crawl around. He did a great job despite the extended time in the car seat that day!