Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mount St. Helens National Monument

It has been 31 years since the eruption of Mount St. Helens and in some places it looks like it happened last week.  The Johnston Observatory overlooks the mountain on the north side where it caved in, started by an earthquake that caused the largest avalanche in recorded history that triggered the blast of magma out of the side of the mountain.  There were great exhibits and films that showed the biological, geological effects and survival stories that were amazing.  The theater is built in such a way that at the end the curtains rise on a glass wall overlooking the volcano which makes a dramatic impact.

In the picture below, these trees still show the effects the stone-wind had several miles away.
Closer to the blast everything was destroyed by the wind of several hundred miles per hour, then covered with pyro-plastic mud and hot ash. Several thousand tons of ice and snow melted, flooding down the mountains in torrents, carrying trees and rocks with it for miles.  The picture of Spirit Lake below still has thousands of logs floating on it after all these years.

On the drive up windy ridge, we saw the eerie landscape that is slowly returning to a living forest. At this altitude we were able to see Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. Adams to the east, and Mt. Hood to the south; their snow covered peaks in the blue sky towering above the forests.  We circled the mountain on beautiful forest roads with large trees giving you an idea of what it looked like before 1980. We are staying in Cougar, WA for 2 days. We walked to a nearby park this morning where an outdoor church service was taking place and we were happy to join it.  God always provides, like the last site in an RV park because someone cancelled right before we arrived.  We are enjoying our retirement very much and send our best to all who read this blog.     Ida & Ty

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