Thursday, June 21, 2012


Wednesday, June 20 – We are visiting Mount St. Helens today.

Mount St. Helens

We left the campground at 7:30 a.m. The fog hadn't lifted yet.

There is a mountain out there somewhere.

As soon as the fog burned away, it was an beautiful day to visit the Mountain. Remember, we are traveling to the top of mountain, so dress accordingly (more on that later).  The area inside the 14-mile Blast Zone was left to Mother Nature to reclaim.

blast zone

Hoffstadt Creek Bridge is the longest and tallest of fourteen bridges on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway ( Hwy 504) at Mount St. Helens. It is the tallest bridge on a State Highway in
Washington State and third tallest in the Northwest at 370 ft. above the ground below. It begins the Blast Zone.

Hoffstadt bridge

Millions of trees have been planted, outside the Blast Zone, to replace those destroyed. They are planted very close together and the entire forest is made-up of trees the same size . It made us dizzy looking at the trees – weird.

The camera is not out of focus. Crazy how the trees appear.DSC06704

On Sunday May 18, 1980, (can you believe it's been 32 years), Mount St. Helens blew its top!


Our friends, Terry and Jeri of Just Wonderin', sent us a photo that Jeri's brother, Marvin, who is a pilot, took after the first big explosion. Just amazing.


The explosion blew over 1300 feet of the mountain outward and down the hillside. The area around Mount St. Helens was instantly and permanently changed.


But the Mount St. Helens' story is about re-birth. How, after total destruction, the Mountain has come back to life. We had the re-occurring thought, while on the mountain, that if mankind was wiped off the face of the earth, this is how the earth would come back.

coming back to life

Since 1980, plant and animal life have come back to the Mountain and surrounding valley. Flowers bloom and grassy greens have overtaken much of the gray. Scientist are amazed at the miraculous ability of nature to come back after such devastation.

Look at this cutie.

Still a bit cold up here for many flowers, but we did get a glimpse at what one type looks like.

Interesting tidbits about Mount St. Helens:

  1. The eruption of Mount St. Helens caused the largest landslide in recorded history.

  2. Wind speeds reached over 300 mph.

  3. Landslides reached speeds of 155 mph.

  4. Temperatures reached 660 degrees Fahrenheit.

  5. The lateral blast removed the upper 1,306 ft. of the volcano.

  6. Over 1000 commercial flights were canceled following airport closures due to ash and debris.

  7. During peak summer months, more than 800 truck-loads of salvageable timber were retrieved EACH day.

  8. Weyerhaeuser employees planted 18,400,000 trees by hand to reclaim the forest. It took workers 4-years to complete this project.

  9. From Oct. 2004 through Jan. 2008 minor eruptions produced over 125 million cubic meters of lava. Enough to pave a 3-foot thick, 7-lane highway from Portland, OR to New York City.

You see the mountain soon after exiting I-5, that's over 50 miles away! Today, it is still covered with snow.

approaching mountain

As you approach the mountain, you begin to see the Northside that was blown away. The remaining mountain is now sort of “U-shaped.”

up close

We were surprised with the wind (40 mph gusts) and bundled up against the cold. It's not surprising that we saw people in short, sandals, and flip-flops.

big wind on mountain

Crazy lady…50 degrees, wind gust up to 40 mph.
crazy lady

We urge anyone visiting Mount St. Helens to be sure to view BOTH movies in the visitor's center. They are very enjoyable and as the movie ends the curtain rises and you have a very dramatic view of the mountain through the entire glass end of the theatre. You hear quite a few gasps from the audience.

The center of the mountain is called the dome. Growth of the new lava dome continues with each eruption.


We were told that even though the crater of Mount St. Helens is in a pause state, it still has steam escaping. With a zoom lens, we were able to see it for ourselves.


There are several hikes at the mountain, including a 19-mile all day hike to the crater. We headed out on a short hike, but with the 40 mph wind it wasn't very enjoyable so we turned around and called it a day.

It was windy and cold, but really Marsha…gloves?a bit windy

From the Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mt. Adam  (another volcano) can be seen.

Mt. Adam

This adventure on Mount St. Helens made our list of “Best Experiences in 2012.” So, if you are ever in the area, be sure to take at least a half day, and drive to the Mountain. Marsha calls it the "Monster."

looking at Mount St. Helens

To see more photos, please click on Mount St. Helens.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Mount St. was at the top of our highlight lists the year we went. It's just so fascinating...and beautiful in its recovery. You got some great pictures for your posterity!

  2. Your blog was just stocked full of great photographs and interesting facts and information. Thanks so much. We will be sure to visit when we are in the area.

  3. Loved our trip there. amazing the power of the blast

  4. Gorgeous photos of the mountain and the area. I'm glad you enjoyed the trek there. I thought you would. However in 1980 when we lived through all the ash and devastation, we didn't think it was so great. But here we thought we were the best attraction of 2012 ... oh well maybe we can be at the top of next year's list.

  5. I came through Spokane 3 months after the eruption and couldn't believe how much ash was on the ground. Visited a friend in Yakima who went through the day of the eruption there when the street lights came on in the middle of the day. Awesome display of Mother Natures power.

  6. this was the best post I read today!..what a fabulous captured it so well..
    gloves?..really?..maybe you need some red mittens?
    the last shot says it that is perfection!

  7. That's what I call a pretty good day of touring. I've never been up to St. Helen's but I think we'll be putting this one on our list after seeing the great photos you guys took up there. Sure glad you had a sunny day even though it was pretty cold on the mountain.

    I still remember hearing the huge blast of Mt. St. Helen's early in morning all the way in Victoria.

  8. Glorious is right. What amazing pictures and I loved all the information you gave as well. Great blog post. It's definitely going on our bucket list.

  9. Enjoyed reading about the cold while it's hot hot hot down here in Texas. Great post with great photos, thank you for sharing!

  10. What a wonderful report, so different from the one we just received from the Analyzers. Not a single photo! A few years back we did about the same visit you made, but it was warmer that day. And yes, gasps all around when the curtains were opened. Thanks for a very positive look at an occurrence that stopped us in our tracks for a few days in Whitefish, Montana, when the ash closed all the roads.

  11. Looks like you had great weather other than a bit cold! We were there in Sept so the snow was gone. It is definitely worth the trip.

  12. We now have the "monster" on our list.

  13. For some reason, I always think the mountain blew after we moved to the US. And every time I'm reminded that it happened in 1980, I have to wonder at such a vivid recollection of an event that obviously happened while we were still in Turkey. The event sure made a worldwide impact.

  14. Wow. . .does not seem possible that it's 32 years already. . .

    Beautiful, beautiful pics. . .



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