Monday, June 27, 2011


I recently had two days off, after working a solid 9 day stint. I knew I had to get into the outdoors, and fast. I had loosely planned a trip to the Mt St Helen's National Monument and the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I had decided on my adventure being in the Northwest corner of the park, in the Coldwater Lake area. It was close to Olympia, seemed remote enough to not warrant many crowds, and bordered on National Forest land(free dispersed camping!) I arrived Thursday morning to discover many things, two of the most important being that the forest land in that part of the park is maintained by Weyerhauser and therefore doesn't allow camping, and that all of the Monument's back country sites were all well under snow and down officially closed trails. Devastating. My closest camping option was a state park about 45 minutes back where I came from. On top of this the mountains were covered with quickly moving storms that brought downpours, sunshine, and repeat. Being pretty bummed out, I rationally decided to drive 2 hours to Mt Rainier National Park. If I was going to pay for camping, it might as well be somewhere awesome, not some lame state park near a popular lake for boating. Before taking off I of course checked out a few of the shorter trails, and snapped a few photos. This little gem is of an area that has been left off limits to people since the blast, so that we can study the land as it recovers on its own.

-Tyler Gates
Good life Photography

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