Day two took us to wine country where we sampled wines in Prosser and Zillah. I would absolutely go back to wine country again. The tastings are fun - you get to talk to people who know their wine and, of course, the wine is the best. I bought 8 bottles, including a bottle of basil/garlic vinegar which I'm thinking I'm going to pour over some tomatoes and cucumbers when they get in season (the tomatoes). I don't know how accurate my palate is after the first few tastings, and I'm really glad that I wasn't driving after the first two stops. We pushed on to Packwood after unsuccessfully trying to find hieroglyphs that my guide book told us were in Naches. I'm now suspicious of the guide book.
Day three was hiking, hiking, and hiking. Some successful, some not. Unfortunately, Shoe Lake at White Pass was off limits to us. We hiked up through black clouds of mosquitos only to lose the trail about an hour into the hike. That's when my hiking legs kicked in and it was very hard for me to admit defeat and turn back. We then did a very short hike, but a nice one in Mt. Rainier National Park where we got to check out the old growth giants dwelling there. I didn't bother taking pictures - they wouldn't do them justice. At any rate, we hopped in the car and went to Mt. St. Helens. Yes, that is a lot of driving in one day, but I have to admit it was worth it. I hadn't been to the Windy Ridge side of St. Helens and it was amazing. There were lots of trees that had been stripped dry and left in place - skeletal remains on a gray, windy landscape. The wind really did whip up and the hike was straight up for the first mile on steps carved into the sandy, gravel slope. It is odd to go from deep forest to moonscape in one day. Odd, but good. Pictures are here.