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Some interesting sites from my visit to the Portland area around July 4, 2005:

While driving around, Josh and I came upon this beautiful tribute to the General Lee . As you can see, it's a Camry.

Went to Mt. St. Helen's. It appears it's still steaming from the eruptions a few months ago. Or maybe just a bad beat on the river. (poor poker joke, there) Did a short, but nice hike in Lava Canyon. Here's a couple ideas of what it's like looking from a wide view: 1 2. Here's a nice waterfall running through it. Nice rushing water from the bridge seen in the waterfall picture before. And from the other side of the bridge, twisting water through the rocks before it heads over the big falls. The trail contained a scary suspension bridge that really swung a lot when you walked and though it looked sturdy, was nonetheless a bit frightening to stand a 200 feet or so above rapids.

But before the above sights, I spent about 3 hours underground in 46 degree, pitch black Ape Cave with a lantern scrambling over rocks and hardened lava flow obstacles. It was sort of a shame because the weather was really nice, but I still was very awesome in the cave. I didn't get a lot of good photos in there given the darkness, but I got some. The upper cave had some serious obstacles which was rather difficult to overcome while holding a propane lantern and not wanting to have it break. It also was a bit scary since there were much fewer people in the upper cave due to the difficulty and the lantern casted a gigantic shadow myself as I walked and I was thinking if you fell off the main path somewhere, no one would ever find you or if your light source went out, it's Golem time for you. Some nice cave slime. This was at the end of the lower cave which just sort of dead-ended with the ceiling getting lower and lower. I thought maybe you could squeeze through to some secret chamber, but is was impossible. A weird rock. Another weird rock. Excellent orange slime. Near the exit of the upper cave, there is this little skylight was was cool. They warned you not to try to exit here as people have gotten hurt, which makes sense to me. More slime here makes it look like a slippery exit attempt. This photo of steam by the exit illustrates the temperature difference between the outdoors and the cave. At this point, I was ready to get out from underground and the light really was luring me. Picture of me just before the end. Even though it was cold in there, I was sweating since the going was a bit laborious. Up the metal ladder, I could feel the temperature rise 35 degrees in an instant.

Took a little driving tour of the Columbia River Gorge with some minor hikes. We had a lot of Pabst and were up till about 3am the previous night so we didn't get the earliest start, but we still got to see a lot of stuff. Here's a nice skinny waterfall. Nice dripping water in a lush little alcove along a trail. Big falls creating a lot of mist. A wider shot shows additional components of the falls. Here I am in front of the falls. Here's some nice clouds looking out at the gorge in the Portland direction. Here's a tall falls that we walked up a painfully steep trail to get to the top of, only to find the outlook didn't really give you much of a good view. Here's a shot of the tall falls from the bottom which also gives a good idea of the volume of sadness at this particular spot. Needless to say, they were selling softserv and other sad items in the parking lot. A shot from the bridge you see in the previous photo, looking down. Here's a nice falls with good greenery I call Snake Falls.


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