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Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

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Nashua, New...
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Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

I've posted before about our upcoming trip, but now that it's so close, we are in the "realities" of really planning our schedule/itinerary to specific days, etc....so here's yet another question. :-)

My husband and I will be in Portland for the next week. We are definitely planning on spending at least a half day exploring the Gorge (or a full day if we do the Mt. Hood loop). We are also interested in seeing Mt. St. Helens and the coast.

Since the main reason we're visiting is to experience Portland itself, we don't want to schedule too many day trips, as we'll really only have 5 full days out there once travel is accounted for. So we don't want to spend more than 2 days out of the city, and with one being dedicated to the Gorge, we're thinking we will need to choose between dedicating the other day to a trip to Mt. St. Helens OR the coast (Cannon Beach & Astoria were our thoughts...but we're open to suggestions!).

We don't plan on doing any "real" hiking anyplace while we're out there; just walks around to look at the scenery and take photos....so that isn't a factor in this decision.

We are from New England, and although we know that the PNW coastline is different from our Atlantic one, experiencing beaches and port-towns in general is not new to us. Neither of us have ever seen a volcano, so we were leaning a little toward Mt. St. Helens. But then every time I see a photo of the Oregon coast, it makes me lean toward going there...it's absolutely stunning!

Thoughts? Thanks in advance for any advice, perspectives, etc. :-)

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

Id let the weather be the guide. If its cloudy/rainy Id head for the beach, if it is blue skys(or will be by the time you get to Mt St Helens) go up there. MSH's is fantastic and if you are leaning to go there, then thats where you should go.

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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2. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

The Oregon coastline is much different than the Altantic coast. It's the most beautiful in the country IMO. If you have never been to the Pacific Coast, it is definitely a 'must see'.

Rather than doing the Gorge/Mt. Hood loop, I suggest just a half-day Gorge trip to free-up a day to see Mt. St. Helens. Since you are coming this next week, the weather should be great at the mountain. Keep in mind that this volcano is not like the ones in Hawaii with continuous lava flows. Mt. St. Helens erupted with a pyroclastic blast that simply blew the top off the mountain and covered the area for miles around with a fine gray ash,.

When you go, stop at all the visitor centers, each one presents a little different view of the eruption and recovery. Be sure to see the theater presentation at both Johnston Ridge and Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center just a few miles from I-5 at Silver Lake. If you happen to be traveling to St. Helens on the weekend, also make a stop at the Weyerhaeuser Forest Learning Center, it's free and quite interesting.

Nashua, New...
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3. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

Thank you both so much for your suggestions - much appreciated! I think we are going to do just the Gorge and not the Mt. Hood loop, as suggested, then spend a day at the coast, and then see if we'd like to spend more of our remaining time in the city or dedicate a day to Mt. St. Helens.

Thanks again! We are really enjoying Portland so far...the food and beer have been every bit as amazing as people say it is.

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

I would suggest a whole day in the Gorge since you have never seen it. Most people regret not scheduling enough time there. Have you ever been in a rain forest with waterfalls right at street level? Or the colorful kite boarders and windsurfers in the middle of a river? Multnomah Falls is is our most visited attraction in Oregon. 620' pouring into Multnomah Creek right at the level.

We just got back from Cape Lookout at the beach and it was socked in every day, but we still love it.

Mrs O

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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5. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

>> it was socked in every day <<

Because it's been hot in the valley :-) How is the new rig working out?

Troutdale, Oregon
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for Hood River, Troutdale, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

Great! Love it!

LOL, people from all over the park came over to see our rig and ask questions about it. Not many 26' rigs and they were all thinking of downsizing. The kids wanted to pet Bogart. ;-)

MrsO

Edited: 9:45 pm, August 13, 2012
7. Re: Gorge, Mt. St. Helens, coast....what to prioritize?

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