Fishing, Swimming, Volcano, and Fishing Again

We got our canoe in the water for a few hours on Silver Lake first thing Monday morning.  It’s a shallow lake, only 12 feet max depth, and the water temp was 70F.  The sun was shining, Mt. St. Helens was in the distance to our left, and low and behold, we spot our first bald eagle perched at the top of a tall tree just watching over the lake.  The fishing was a little tricky as the people at the resort said to head over to the area with lily pads where the bass would have shade, cooler temps, and places to hide.  That also means there were other things to catch besides fish, namely those darn lily pads!  We fished around the small peninsula for about an hour, keeping our eye on the magnificent bald eagle until it flew away.

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Forget fishing, I want to swim!

By then I was getting bored, and the water was looking so inviting!  I hopped in for a swim.  There were buoys in the distance marking shallow hazards so I used those to sight and off I went.  Mark had bought an orange safety buoy for me back at Christmas that I was finally able to test out.  I wore a belt around my waist and the buoy floated just behind me out of the way, so boats can see me in the water.  It was easy to use and the owner of the resort said he could see me from halfway across the lake so that will definitely be a good tool for me in the future, and it didn’t add any resistance to my stroke.  Mark followed me in the canoe.  I decided to turn around at 20 minutes and head back so I’m guessing I swam about a mile or a little more in the 40 minutes I was there.  It was glorious!  And it dawned on me after I got out that it was my first ever open water swim without a wetsuit.

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After a shower and lunch, we headed to see Mount St. Helens up close.  One thing we have yet to mention is that Bigfoot is very popular in this part of Washington. All the gift shops have Bigfoot items and there are signs and shops sprinkled along our drive. We decided to stop at one for fun.

Bigfoot for President!

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The drive was about 50 miles to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, named after a USGS scientist who tried to warn everyone about the danger of the volcano but no one believed it would erupt; he was killed watching the eruption from a mile away.  We watched another educational video at the Visitor’s Center and spent the afternoon absorbing the dramatic devastation, both on the mountain, and in the surrounding area, from May 1980.  To see how much growth there has been, both vegetation and wildlife, is truly awesome.  In fact, there is already a large herd of elk along the Toutle River.  On our drive back we kept seeing these homemade signs that said “Watch for deer.”  Sure enough, we spotted several.

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We ate a dinner while watching Dante’s Peak, just to help the story of the day sink in a bit more.  We decided we better try our hands at fishing again since we hadn’t caught anything this morning.  We headed to a new spot 20 minutes directly across the lake using the trolling motor.  Mark finally caught one largemouth bass, and we watched another (the same?) bald eagle.  It was windy enough that we were fighting to keep the boat in place and Mark got tired of spending more time steering than fishing, so we called it a day and loaded up the canoe about 9pm.

 

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