Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Mt. St. Helens is 1300 feet shorter than she was in 1980 before being cracked by an earthquake that created a horizontal blast of millions of tons of debris, ash and hot singing winds. Mt. St. Helens is 29 years into recovery.
The eruption began with a debris avalanche that buried 14 miles of river valley to an average depth of 150 feet.
The blast killed trees up to 17 miles north of the volcano.
A vertical ash eruption rose to a height of 15 miles above the crater and spewed for 9 hours.
Fiery flows of pumice, hot gasses, cement like slurries and boulders moved into the valley north of the crater.
It changed forever the landscape and the importance of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
The area around Mt. St. Helens was a veritable moonscape of flattened dead trees, eerily all fallen in one direction. Trees beyond that perimeter were scorched to death and many of those dead won't give up their hold and stand today as monster spars.

In 1982, congress made the area a monument to study the geologic affects of the volcano for education and provide the public access to the area. There are 200 hiking trails, new lakes, an interpretive trail telling the tale as you drive the road to the last overlook at Windy Ridge. A non-profit institute also works to provide visitors with information and recreational opportunities.
With beautiful weather, 84 degrees, we followed the interpretive trail for stunning views of the landscape of recovery.
At Spirit Lake, log jams 600 feet deep are still visible.
A rusted car where one miner died is still on the trail.
This is a must visit for anyone traveling in this area. 150 new lakes were formed by the volcano's eruption. There are 200 hiking trails for visitors. The U.S. Study has had many areas replanted and some are left to recoop without assistance and the comparisons are stark. The wildflowers and small plants have made a beautiful comeback on their own everywhere. The monster spars have a beauty of their own.

My partner, Jim visited Mt. St. Helens in 1985 when recovery was 5 years young and has eleven pictures showing the process of recovery at an earlier time to compare with pictures from our visit yesterday at http://ramblinmanjimj.wordpress.com. Signal is difficult and my 16 pictures wouldn't load into an album.
It defies reason why one computer will load photos and another won't when sitting side by side. Electronics. Who can understand them?

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