No, this isn't about the cat. This time. Although she's pretty crypto - I never can figure out why she goes from cuddly to homicidal with no warning, and she is cute and fuzzy. Even when she is trying to tear you limb-from-limb.
We stopped at the North Fork Survivors Gift Shop at the Buried A-Frame on our way to Mount St. Helens. This is practically a requirement. First off, A-frame house buried by a lahar - tell me that doesn't attract every geologist on the planet. Secondly, Bigfoot statues.
And, this being the Pacific Northwest, Bigfoot's gotta have an espresso.
Coffee and an apparent salmon - looks like he's set.
I have a particular fondness for Bigfoot. When I was a kid, I dreamt I was home alone, and people were trying to break in. Then came a rather loud pounding at the door. When I looked through the window, a big hairy face greeted my terrified eyes. Sasquatch! ZOMG. I let it in so it wouldn't break down the door. It kindly led me over to our enormous oak dining table, turned it on its side, sheltered me behind that makeshift barricade, and proceeded to scare the living daylights out of our erstwhile burglars. After that dream, I kinda hoped my parents would leave me home alone for an evening so Bigfoot would show up.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
The gift shop is great - you can get lots of loot for cheap. I walked away with a set of five spectacular posters of the volcano for $5. You can't beat that. They also had a cube of ash collected from various distances, showing nicely how finer particles travel further, and lots of Mount St. Helens Emerald jewelry for cheap. They've got a ton more stuff, too, all of it fun and some informative. They've got actual geological signs, too. This little spot has all you can ask for: kitsch to keep the non-geologist occupied while you get on with the geology.
You can get down to the Toutle River from here. And that's where we found some utterly adorable caterpillars.
These, as far as I can tell, are Lophocampa maculata. The orange one on the left is a late instar, and the one on the right an early instar.
I could, of course, be completely wrong about the species, but I defend my assessment of their adorableness. They're rather lovely.
Steamforged and I spent quite a bit of time snapping photos of them. Perfect lighting, perfect subjects, delightful.
On the way back, I nearly stepped on this gentleman:
I have utterly no idea what species he is, and he's not as colorful, but still wonderful, what with all that hair. Loves me some hairy caterpillars!