As many of our faithful readers already know, I was born around the same time that Mt. Saint Helens popped. I remember my Dad talking about driving to the hospital with Mom and the air was so thick with ash from the eruption that it seemed to be dark. So when Kara suggested we go to there on our USA trip, I was elated!
Fast forward to this morning, we packed up at Mt. Rainer and headed west, then south, to Castle Rock. This would be our base of operations for our explorations. We arrived in good time and set up in Seaqwest State Park and then set out towards the mountain.
It was another case of “quick take a picture” followed by “that’s even better, take another picture”. We stopped for a bite to eat at Hoffstadt Creek visiter center. Here we took a few more pictures and chartered a Bell Ranger to fly us up into the crater of the volcano. Why not?
It was quite a thing to see from the air, we flew up the valley were the lava flowed down, then across what seemed like a barren wasteland but was actually quite fertile land, just lacking seeds. (and every thing else)
We then flew up into the volcano and explored the lava dome which is still growing by one dump truck load every 15 min! The sediment near the volcano is over 800ft deep and being eroded away faster then the rock around it. This is causing problems downstream because the life there can not cope with these levels of minerals in the water.
Once we got back, we hopped in the truck and headed for spirt lake at the end of the road, here we got a more different view of the volcano. It almost seems larger from the ground. The visiter center here had lots of good information and exhibits.
It was a bit of a gloomy day, but it seemed fitting. It was a hard time for people in this area some 31 years ago.
We hope you enjoy the pictures and video.