Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I’m Amazed

After a great weekend of just hanging out at the RV Park, we headed out on Monday morning to go to Mount St. Helens.

Along the way, we stopped at the

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visitor center and

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looked around at all the displays.

We traveled on up the road and made another stop

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at Hoffstadt Bluffs to view the

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the valley area.  While here, we decided to have

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our picnic lunch.  Then it was off too the top of the mountain…

I am not really sure what I thought I was going to see or experience when we arrived at

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Mount  St. Helens, but I was amazed.  Even though I am both young enough and old enough to remember and understand what happened in 1980, you can’t even begin to put it into perspective until you see it.

We arrived at the

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Johnston Ridge Observatory and first went into the theater to watch a presentation about Mount St. Helens.

It took us back to 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, when a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mount St. Helens, triggering a massive explosion.  The release of gases trapped inside the volcano sent 1,300 vertical feet   of mountaintop rocketing outward to the north.  Super-heated ash roared 60,000 feet into a cloudless blue sky.   The cataclysmic blast carrying winds that reached 670 miles per hour and temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit flattening  230 square miles of forest.   The largest landslide in recorded history swept through the Toutle River Valley, choking pristine rivers and lakes with mud, ash, and shattered timber.

As the movie ended a curtain was raised and

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Mount Saint Helens was revealed through the large picture window.  Even though the upper half of the mountain was covered in clouds it was breathtaking.

We then were free to wander around out side and up and down the trails.


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headed on up the trail, while I had to stop

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and be entertained by this little guy.

Next, I was taken back by the story of

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this tree and thousands just like it.  It goes like this…

I once stood 150 feet tall surrounded by beautiful fields of green, but when the blast exploded sideways out of the mountain, it plowed through the debris avalanche and swept across the landscape, picking up and carrying large chunks of rock, ice, and splintered wood.

Within a minute, I was struck and scoured by the stone-filled wind.  My bark and braches were stripped and scattered toward the edge of the blast zone, 17 miles away.  As trees that had stood for hundreds of years crashed around me, my upper trunk stained, then shattered in the nearly 700 mph winds.  Only a small part of me remains as evidence of the blast’s power…

Not only was the landscape forever changed, but this event didn’t go without loss of  human life.  Fifty-seven people were killed including USGS scientist David Johnston, namesake of the observatory and Mr. Truman who owned a lodge at Spirit Lake and refused to leave.

As I traveled on around the trail, you could see

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Spirit Lake.  Today, this lake can no longer be enjoyed by visitors except from this view.  It is totally off limits to anyone but scientist.

Today because of the clouds

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it was hard to see the top of the mountain, the crater, and the dome, but finally patience won out and at last

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the clouds gave us a great view of what we had come to see.

If you would like to, go to the volcano cam at


What a great day…

Mount  St Helens 137 Thanks for joining us at Mount St. Helens


  1. Amazing....on my Bucket list for sure!! A great blog about this interesting place!! Y'all travel safe! M&B

  2. This was great. Glad I was on this trip with you. You and Mark look good. I know you are having a great time. I will add this to my list of places to go.

    Travel safe
    Love you both
    Bev & Jerry

  3. It is an amazing place and the various visitor centres do a great job of explaining everything from the blast to the reforestation of the area. Travel safe

  4. Nice blog, very interesting.. Thanks.