Actually the mountains east of where I live in Oregon (and Washington) are the Cascades and are of volcanic origin. I have posted about Mt. Hood (previous post) which is closest to me (and in another post). There are other peaks that we can see if we just travel a little farther, like Mt Rainer in Washington or the three Sisters in eastern Oregon, which are also a part of the Cascade range. None seem to be currently active, except for ocassional earthquakes centered deep within the volcanos,which we can sometimes feel.
Yesterday, we tramped around the southern apron of St. Helens at the 4-5,000 foot levels. Being the end of summer, there was little snow left on the top of the mountain. The mountain itself now rises to only 8328 feet having blown off it's top in the eruption of May 1980. Previously it had stood a tall 9677 feet. The blast history is fascinating, but I won't go into it here. See the site previously given for more info.
After driving around everywhere in the southern portion of the mountain, we came to the Blue Lake trail head which began by following the gray ash and lava rock wash.
|Blue Lake Trailhead|
|Upper right brown area is the foot of the mountain|
You can see the moss clinging to the dry branches. I don't know what caused this devastation but it was really weird considering we were standing on the site of the volcanic mud flow from the earlier eruption.
I did see lots of little seedlings coming up all around the base of these dead trees. I took a picture, but I'm not sure you can see all the green baby trees. I hope you can see them below!
Another eerie shot. Everything--this dead wood--was covered with the gray ash. You can see a baby seedling in the lower right hand section of this next picture:
But not all of our day involved this eerie sight. Much of the area around the mountain was lush forest of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest with lots of lakes and reservoirs like this shot of Smith Reservoir just south of the mountain.
It was a great day--I hope you enjoyed it with us!