Friday, June 29, 2012

Mt. St. Helens

The kids & I went with some friends for a day trip to Mt. St. Helens. We couldn't have asked for better weather. The sky was blue, the sun was out & the temperature was just right. I was alive in 1980 when the mountain erupted, but I don't remember it at all.

View from the Forest Learning Center.
I was fascinated to see this landscape. I don't understand completely what is going on here. Looking down in the valley was like looking into a miniature land. There were trees & lakes, but they were small. I would love to walk on the road/trail in the photo to get a closer look. The ranger at Johnston Ridge Observatory explained that there are many little ponds or lakes that have been formed since the landslide & eruption. I just think that's amazing. It takes an incredibly large event to form whole new water features. The Toutle River (near the top of this photo) has taken on a new shape, as well, since the eruption. I also think it's interesting that the banks of most rivers are screaming with greenery. The mud, debris & ash didn't do this river any favors. I wonder what this exact location will look like in another 30 years.

View from a pull-off along the way.
I am just amazed that this used to be a green, thriving forest Thirty-two years later & it appears the recovery is just beginning.

Johnston Ridge Observatory
It is definitely worth the drive to go all the way to this viewpoint.  You get too see right into the crater.
Steam still comes out around the dome.
To the left: Mt. St. Helens. To the right: the lookout at Johnston Ridge Observatory. If I remember correctly, the observatory is 5 miles from the crater of the volcano.
In the middle of this picture is Spirit Lake. I was fascinated to find out that the lake has moved due to the debris & run off during the eruption.
Inside the Observatory there is a good sized model showing much of the landscape around Mt. St. Helens. There are different colored lights showing the debris flow & other effects from the eruption.
We got a breathtaking view of Mt. St. Helens when these curtains raised.
Before the eruption there were many earthquakes, avalanches & a large landslide. Nearly every tree nearby was snapped off at the base.
Elk live near Mt. St. Helens
Erosion Channel.
Awesome & crazy & amazing to think about.
The exposed rock - not covered by much vegetation.
I was surprised to see the vegetation reminded me more of something I would see in Eastern Oregon as opposed to the lush, green forests of Western Oregon & Washington.
There was a little green, though.
Not many flowers were in bloom (even though it was June), but I did find this one.
There are hummock mounds & a few waterfalls running down the mountainsides. These hummocks are large deposits of rock from Mt. St. Helens that were displaced during the eruption.
The trail at Johnston Ridge Observatory was easy to walk on.

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