Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mt. St. Helens

Yesterday, as I mentioned in our last entry, was the first Sunday of the “real” football season, so I left Jim to his teams and went about my own business, which included laundry (Yes, I did it all!), cleaning up the car, doing some ironing and visiting the local  mall with Dortha.  We each got a great pedicure, then we  hit a few stores.  She found some great bargains, and I did ok myself.

The guys took time out for dinner and we made plans for our trip to Mt. St. Helens.  Our departure time this morning was a little after 10.  We took 2 cars today so that Jim and I could leave the dogs in our car and the food for lunch and snacks would be safe in Dortha and Mark’s car while we were out and about.  With six of us going, it’s a little more comfortable that way too.

We stopped at the visitor’s center to watch a short film about the May 18, 1980 eruption and take a look through the historical exhibits:

Deb and I were browsing through the exhibits:

Jim 005

And Rod took time to read everything:

Jim 007

At our next stop, we decided to go ahead and have our picnic lunch, to which we’d all made contributions. The skies was very overcast and we could not yet see the mountain.  We figured if we took our time getting up to the Johnston Observatory, we’d increase our chances of having the sky clear up so we could see Mt. St. Helens.  We picked out a table and set out our lunch things:

Jim 014

After lunch we continued on up the road towards the Johnston Observatory.  Jim and I visited here in 2003.  Deb and Rod have also been there before, but not since the Observatory was built.  This was Dortha and Mark’s first visit.  It was interesting to see how much greener most of the area is just since we were here.  The trees have really grown back in most areas, although there are still places that are pretty barren, especially right in the blast zone close to the mountain. 

This was all we could see of Mt. St. Helens when we  first got to the observatory.  We went in and watched another film and the exhibits in this center, which are more scientific and explain more about the blast and it’s effects on the landscape.

Jim 044

The observatory was built around this tree, which somehow remained standing after the blast:

Jim 048

Jim had fun pushing the button to activate this exhibit, which is a large table model of the Mt. St. Helens blast area.  It lights up different areas with different  colored lights as a narrated recording explains the events that occurred on the day the volcano erupted:

Jim 050

Something we noticed this visit which we missed before was a small detail, yet very telling.  If you look closely at the dead tree below, you can see large rocks embedded in the roots.  When the blast occurred, these rocks were propelled at about 450 miles an hour into the blown over tree:

Jim 070

We wandered around and walked up a path to a viewing area, hung around and waited, hoping the clouds would lift. Finally:

Jim 063 The clouds started to disperse and we got a  good look at what’s left of Mt. St. Helens.   Impressive!

It was starting to get late, so we headed back towards Kelso.  On the way, though, we stopped to take a picture of a place we’d seen on the way up.

RV Sites – in a pond? Huh?

Jim 080What a great day!  Tomorrow, our day trip is in the other direction – out to Astoria, Oregon.

1 comment:

Speedy said...

Very interesting! We got to see the Bill Clinton Home site...HE HE WEEE
Next year we will widen our adventure. I wish you could have seen where we stayed yesterday...it was hysterical!!