As we drove south on Interstate 5 we detoured to the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking Mt. St. Helens. The ridge looks out at the gash in the volcano where a large part of the mountain exploded away on May 18, 1980. When we arrived the mountain was shrouded in clouds. We watched the amazing video explaining just what happened with film that seemed un obtainable by a living person. After the video the curtains parted to reveal a window the size of the whole wall, facing the mountain.
The second high moment of the day was the meeting with my cousin Bob Fleming, whom I had not seen since I was nine or ten years old. We went to an Indian restaurant and told stories to each other until the restaurant closed. It was a magical meeting and every bit as wonderful as I had anticipated. Bob has spent much of his life in Nepal and the evening only heightened my longing to take that long awaited trip.