Did I mention we went to see Mt. St Helens???? (I'm sort of out of order here as this day trip was right before seeing the beach with the shipwreck at Fort Stevens State Park.) After having watched many documentaries on volcanoes and seeing one in particular on Mt St Helens....Ike was pretty keen on seeing it for himself. We took a little detour to fit it in. The blast area involved is really quite large and the state has put a lot of money into developing the area as a national monument. There were ample places to pull over and picnic although the day proved to be a little over cast which limited our sight seeing somewhat. Once you arrive at the interpretive center (The Johnston Ridge Observatory)...there is a small gift shop and several interpretive displays with an $8 per adult fee to enter. Your fee does allow you a few days of admittance, so you can come back if the day is too foggy...which happens sometimes.
Unfortunately for us we did not have the luxury of hanging around for another day for the fog to lift and so we did our best to imagine its awesomeness. If you encounter fog and do not have the time to come back to view Mt St Helens.......the $8 is a bit of a waste of money. On the drive back down the mountain we stopped in at The Forest Learning Center since we spent less time admiring the volcano that we had planned on, and found it to be a very nicely done display....(and it was free which we appreciated).......well worth a visit.
A little more drive brought us to Fort Stevens State park which was interesting with its battery still open for viewing. The camp sites were quite private due to the thick brush growing there. There was also a great view of the ocean and we saw lots of wildlife including some very tame deer and a friendly raccoon.