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My friend and I are possibly planning a trip to Mt St Helens this coming August and I was wondering if anyone knew any fun places to drive around there.

I just have a stock sport 4x4 and have not actually driven it offroad before. So I'm basically looking someplace a newbie could handle. And any tips of what to bring with me (extra gas, etc). :)
 

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I so so so so so wish I were back in WA!!!

Oh, I have not been 4wheeling out there (unless you count a brief detour on a base), but most 4x4 people recommend you have your full-size spare, tow straps WITHOUT metal hooks, maybe a shovel and something stiff to put under the wheels or jack, like a a board or short 2x4s.. .I'm still trying to figure out how fabric became stronger than forged metal... maybe because tow hooks/recovery points break apart. Maybe a CB radio to communicate with others and for emergencies.
 

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Hmm.. I don't have any tow hooks. That a necessity even for light offroading?
I've lived in WA all my life and haven't been down to St Helens. :eek:
 

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If you've never been to the mountain you OWE it to yourself and family to visit it from BOTH the west entry off of I5 and off the east so you can see what happened to Spirit Lake. It will take every bit of a full day to see both.

If you don't have much time go in from the west cause that is just flattering. Once you've gone into Johnston Ridge obserrvatory you'll get all the details and on the drive up you'll see where the mud flow buried houses, cars, tractors, etc.

The east entry is stunning and just an incredible drive. All roads are paved into the viewing areas. IF you want to do some fire roads in the area you won't need 4WD unless you run into snow but that's not likely in August.

The area is full of amazing stuff to see. Be sure to catch Ape Cave on the south side and have lunch at Cougar. That whole area and especially out east towards Mt Adams is full of incredible logging roads that will take you all the way out to Yakima if you're up for it.

It is a Skookum habitat so keep your camera ready. You may able to get pics of the big guy.
 

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If you've never been to the mountain you OWE it to yourself and family to visit it from BOTH the west entry off of I5 and off the east so you can see what happened to Spirit Lake. It will take every bit of a full day to see both.

If you don't have much time go in from the west cause that is just flattering. Once you've gone into Johnston Ridge obserrvatory you'll get all the details and on the drive up you'll see where the mud flow buried houses, cars, tractors, etc.

The east entry is stunning and just an incredible drive. All roads are paved into the viewing areas. IF you want to do some fire roads in the area you won't need 4WD unless you run into snow but that's not likely in August.

The area is full of amazing stuff to see. Be sure to catch Ape Cave on the south side and have lunch at Cougar. That whole area and especially out east towards Mt Adams is full of incredible logging roads that will take you all the way out to Yakima if you're up for it.

It is a Skookum habitat so keep your camera ready. You may able to get pics of the big guy.
St Helens is an incredible landmark. You'll definitely want to get there early, unless you're content with stopping at the Observatory.

The Ape Caves are fun, but keep in mind: wear good shoes (seriously don't skimp!), a medium jacket or thick hoodie, bring a QUALITY, BRIGHT light (especially in the lower cave! no vertical shafts, no man-made fixtures, without a good lamp it is absolute BLACK), a plastic bag for any trash you encounter, and go slow!

Also, the upper cave requires some moderate climbing, so be ready for that. There are some areas (especially in the lower cave) that you'll have to army crawl - claustrophobics beware. And the lower cave DOES NOT have an exit! My 3yr-old and I crawled all the way in thinking we'd pop out somewhere, and had to hike all the way back to the entrance. Fun, but a lot more work than we expected!

When you see Meatball, tell him i said hi. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I should check back more often. Thanks guys. The Ape caves were a definite stop. Will have to see about going all the way in the lower caves, I'm not sure I'll handle the crawling part well.

Can you still access Spirit lake? It looked like some trails were closed. Kinda hard to tell from the map.

This was mostly a hiking trip. Just thought I'd see if there's any fun driving to do while we're down there.
 
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