Last weekend we headed down to Portland for a music festival. There was one catch: I caught a cold or the flu or something that invaded my body trying to keep me from having fun! I spent most of my time between Tuesday and Sunday in bed on all kinds of cold medicine. I was able to make it up for a few hours at a time to see some of the bands we went to see. Sitting in the back corner with a cup of tea and a kleenex most of the time. I was cute…I’m sure.
On Sunday morning, I was feeling closer to normal than I had in many days and it was absolutely gorgeous out! Scott said we needed to “swing by” Mt. St. Helens since I had never been. What kind of person can call themself a Washington State Resident (of 8 years) and not have seen the National Monument?
Well. She doesn’t disappoint. It’s incredible to be driving through a forest and turn a corner into total destruction.
There is a learning center at Johnson Ridge where they have some artifacts and stories of survivors as well as those who perished in the blast. These are actual seismograph machines monitoring the activity under the mountain. This will help predict future blasts (the latest small-ish blasts were in 2006).
There are signs everywhere telling people to not feed the wildlife. While they are cute, they could bite, etc. I was sitting on the ledge soaking up the sun, waiting for Scott to come out of the learning center when this guy was flitting around the ledge.
Then, out of nowhere, he just attacked! I was innocently snapping pictures and he came after me. As soon as this was taken I was on the run from a creature about 1/100 my size.
Throughout the park, there are trails you can walk to see some of the remaining destruction. Everything was left as it was in 1980.
For some reason, on this hike, I had an intense craving for Taco Cabana.
Most of the soil surrounding Mt. St. Helens, is sterile due to the heat of the landslide (lava & gas got to temperatures of over 1300°). There are some areas of greenery and wild flowers, but nothing is particularly tall. Just underbrush, ground cover, and of course, the ever-freakin-present dandelion.
On the loop around from the learning center to the parking lot, there is a memorial to the 64 people who perished during the event of the blast and subsequent massive landslide. (The top 1300 feet of the mountain blew off, equalling about 235 square miles).
As you walk around it’s so interesting to see remnants of life. The below trees confused us. The blast was 29 years ago. Could these trees have stunted their growth in the blast? Or have they just grown odd? What do you think?
This is my favorite shot. It’s hard to see the detail when it’s not a massive picture, but you can see the standing dead forest and the trees that were blown over by the 300 mph rock, land, and tree filled wind that blew in the blast. So powerful to see it.
A cute and happy Scott was very glad to get up to the monument.