The journey sometimes IS the destination, and every adventure is worth it, even if things don't go as planned. Here's a look at a recent spontaneous summer adventure visiting Mount Saint Helens in Washington state.
Have you ever spontaneously decided to go out on an adventure, but things didn't turn out quite as you had planned?
My family likes to get up and go on impromptu day trips a lot. We get bored, and we just want to get up and go explore someplace, any place.
Luckily for us, we live in a beautiful part of the country where we are just 15 minutes away from the city, an hour away from ocean beaches, an hour and a half away from the mountains, and three and a half hours away from the dessert.
One cloudy Saturday this summer, hubby and I decided to make a spontaneous trip out to Mount Saint Helens, the active Washington volcano just over the border from us in Portland, Oregon, that erupted in 1980. The kids had never been there, and we thought it would be a fun day trip.
We dressed in layers, brought jackets, packed snacks, did a quick online search for info and directions, and hopped into the car to head out.
The drive north from outer SW Portland took about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the Mount Saint Helens Information Center.
Once you reach the visitors center, there are hiking trails behind and around the center.
We decided to walk around here first to scout out the potential views. It was beautiful, and so serene. We encountered just a few people on the trails. It's such a peaceful place to walk and clear your head.
After a short walk outside on the trails, we headed back to the information center. There's an interactive museum inside along with helpful staff who showed us a map of how much further the next two viewing areas would be as well as how much further we would need to drive to get to the base of the mountain.
After looking over our options, and calculating our time, we decided that we really only had time to reach the first observation center, which was about a 20-minute drive from the information center.
The first viewing center is a large building next to a heliopad, where you can purchase a helicopter ride to view Mount Saint Helens. I thought that was pretty cool and would love to do that helicopter ride over on a sunnier day!
Inside, you can lounge in the lobby area that has a massive gorgeous antler chandelier, shop at the gift store, and enjoy a meal at the restaurant there, with beautiful views.
We did not stay long here, just long enough to check out the views and make the decision that it was just too cloudy for us to see the mountain. There would be no trip to the actual mountain today, and we wouldn't even see it. But, for us in that moment, and still today, that was all a-okay. We were having fun exploring this area even without being able to see the mountain.
You can kind of see Mount Saint Helens peeking out from under the clouds and above the green forests in the photo below. That's about the best we got on this day, and that was good enough for us!
After taking in the views, we headed back to our car and drove back home, enjoying the beautiful drive through forests and small towns along the way.
When the Journey is the Destination
I often wonder if I should even post these type of travels here- the ones where the end results are not what we had intended. But I think these adventures are sometimes the most important. They remind us to go ahead and take that leap, make that move, just get up and go - and to keep going regardless of whether you reach your intended destination or not. I loved spending this day with my family, out on the open road, walking among the trees in a new place and checking out new flowers, wildlife, and trees. I just love going places with my family - any place, any time, anywhere.
The journey sometimes IS the destination, and I love day trips like this that remind me of that.
Fuel for Fun
As I said, we do a lot of these random day trips out of the blue throughout the year. Some of our favorite spontaneous day trips include trips to Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Newport, and Pacific City along the Oregon coast, and to Hood River, Oregon.
We've become expert impromptu day trip snack packers, and one of the things I always, ALWAYS pack: Starbucks goodies to keep hubby and I fueled up for the trip.
For our Saint Helens trip, we packed up the adorable tote bag Starbucks sent me (I am one of the official Starbucks bloggers - lucky me!) with some of the company's latest energy drinks perfect for our day adventures.
One of my favorite canned products Starbucks offers right now is the Starbucks Refreshers with Coconut Water. Peach Passion Fruit (shown above) is SO refreshing on a hot day of road tripping, but my current favorite flavor of this product is the Black Cherry Limeade. It's so good, and it helps keep me both hydrated and energized for the day's adventure.
And if you're familiar with this blog throughout the years, you know that I always have some Starbucks Coffee next to me while I work in-between our adventures. The Doubleshot Energy beverage in Mexican Mocha flavor does the job: it's a tasty treat, and keeps me motivated while I write this post!
I'd love to hear from you: what's one trip you've taken where the end destination wasn't what you had originally planned? Or what's a fun journey you have taken recently just for some spontaneous fun?
This post was written in partnership with Starbucks. All opinions and photos are my own.