Morton to Randle
Passing the glinting waters of Riffe Lake you’re likely to see timber-burdened semis zooming in either direction as you approach a string of small logging towns framed with a checkered mix of freshly cut and second growth forested slopes.
Among these hamlets is Randle, which sits at the Highway 12 junction with Forest Road 25, the northeastern gateway to Mount St. Helens. Here too is where the highway begins banking north toward Rainier’s southeastern corner.
The Old Settlers Museum (710 Main Ave., Morton, 360/496-5497, Memorial Day–Labor Day Sat. 1–4 p.m. or by appt.) displays local pioneer exhibits. When closed, stop by city hall for access to the museum. Three miles west of Morton on Short Road is a great binocular-view of Mount St. Helens’ crater opening and lava dome.
The Morton Loggers Jubilee, held the second weekend in August, is one of the largest timber carnivals in Washington. In addition to the standard ax throwing, log rolling, and other contests, you’ll discover a riding lawnmower race, parades, barbecues, and dancing, along with an arts and crafts fair.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition