Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mount St. Helens Visit

Yesterday, hubby and I went on a day trip.  Mount St. Helens can be seen from the near environs of our home and we had never been there.  We were not living in the Pacific Northwest when it exploded thirty years ago, but many of you might remember it being in the news. You can see many historical pictures on the Mount St. Helens National Monument site. The ecosystem after the blast is just so interesting!

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

Trees in the path of the wash were dead and contributed to an eerie look.



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!

9 comments:

BeadedTail said...

Looks like a lovely day to visit Mount St Helens! We went there before the last eruption so need to make another trip up there. Thanks for sharing your photos!

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

Looks like a fun trip. The picture of the Reservoir is beautiful :)

Athena said...

Echoing Edi: the reservoir IS beautiful. I do see the seedlings in your pictures. And I remember Mt. St. Helen's erupting... I was nine years old. Just remember being so sad about all the animals that died when they were unable to escape. :(

Nancy said...

Glad you had a great time! It does look very eerie!

Rose said...

Thanks for the beautiful tour! I'm glad that you had a good trip.

Kaili Williams said...

Such gorgeous photos! I love the eerie beauty from natural decay.

Jenny said...

Beautiful pictures! We went hiking there last year and had a great time. Of course, I was so exhausted from the hike that I barely noticed the scenery :)

Splendid Little Stars said...

Exploring is so much fun!
I've been to all those places.
My friend (who lives in Tualatin) lived in Washington State at the time, not far away from Mt. St. Helens. She heard it blow.
It's been a long time since I visited and it looks like some new growth is occurring. It was pretty eerie when we visited, especially when contrasted with the lush Mt. Rainier.

Kathleen said...

Amazing! My friends who just visited me live in WA and they had lots of ashes when it happened. Wow - that was 30 years ago?! Great photos!