The Not-so-Boring Volcanic Field

Put that yawn away! The Boring Volcanic Field is far more exciting than it sounds!  Where and what is this Boring Volcanic Field, and who gave it such an unexciting name? Buckle up – let’s go investigate!

If you’re heading eastbound out of Portland, your eyes are likely to either be fixed on the traffic or on magnificent Mount Hood.  Standing at 11,250’ above sea level, the stratovolcano certainly dominates the landscape.  If you’re kicking back in the passenger seat, you’ll notice the enormous hills that just out of the landscape like molehills.  

As you turn up Highway 26 toward Mount Hood, you’ll soon find yourself driving through the tiny town of Boring, Oregon.   

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Fearless Footsteps

I am super excited to announce that Intrepid Times and Exisle Publishing are releasing an amazing anthology called “Fearless Footsteps” next year – and that our story about climbing Mount St. Helens will be featured in it!

Copyright © 2019 Volcano Hopper. All rights reserved.

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Mount Hood

Wy’east has a secret. He loves the sunrise.

Before the sun even rose, I felt the stirring.  I lifted my head from the soft pillow and looked out the window.  Outside of our log cabin at the base of Mount Hood, the sky was turning purple behind the thick cluster of trees. Streaks of pink began to tint the clouds, then orange strands began to glow.  But there was something else in the air that morning that I’d never quite felt before during a sunrise.  It was like the quivering excitement you felt as a kid on Christmas morning. It grows and grows until you burst from your bed and race downstairs to see the presents under the tree.  

I snuggled under the thick down comforter as I watched the sunrise.  The excitement thickened in the air like static electricity. Jason was fast asleep next to me. And I hadn’t heard a peep from downstairs.  Even the birds had barely begun to chirp.  The only one up was the volcano.

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Thursday Thoughts – Climbing Mount St. Helens

Climbing Mount St. Helens was one of the most difficult, and most rewarding, hikes I have ever done. There is nothing quite like the thrill of reaching the top of an active volcano!

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Mount St. Helens: Sweet Summit Success!

Monitor Ridge – Part 2

Three steps. Two.  One.  Suddenly, Mount St. Helens’ crater stretched wide open in front of me.  The rim of the crater curved around to the north like eagles’ wings.  An enormous lava dome that dwarfed everything around it sat perched in the heart of the mile-wide crater.  The lava dome itself sat steaming happily away, tendrils of the white steam curling up toward us.  The sharp scent of sulfur – like rotten eggs – made my nose sting.  

We had made it!  I clung to my husband, brother, and sister as we cried victorious tears.  Jason, Paul, and Alex had each been overwhelmingly patient and kind to me on that hike. Twenty-four hours before, none of us imagined we’d be standing there together.  But there we were!  Successful because of each other’s patience, love for each other and for the volcano, and because of God’s grace.

Panorama of Mount St. Helens’ summit crater. Photo Credit: Volcano Hopper
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Mount St. Helens: Scaling the Volcano

Monitor Ridge – Part 1

Mount St. Helens is 8,366’ of badass stratovolcano.  She may not be the tallest volcano out there, but her slopes are steep and slippery.  And did I mention that she’s active?  At any moment, the volcano could hiccup and cause an ash explosion, pyroclastic flow, rockfall, or landslide.  So, naturally, I wanted to climb to the very top!  

Mount St. Helens as seen from the Boundary Trail – Pumice Plain. Photo Credit: Volcano Hopper

If you’d have told me as a kid, watching the eruption footage, that I’d ever have the opportunity to climb to Mount St. Helens’ summit, I never would have believed it. But on a sunny Tuesday in August, that was exactly what I was planning to do.

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Thursday Thoughts – Mount St. Helens: No Words

Sometimes there just are no words to describe the beauty of a place. There are not enough words in the English (or any) language to describe how it felt to be standing in front of Mount St. Helens, finally face to face with a volcano I’d longed to see in person since childhood. Feeling the raw power of the volcano still present, and acknowledging the changed landscape around me from the 1980 (and subsequent) eruptions was moving.

So I leave you with today’s Thursday Thoughts. I am not offering commentary in the video – I want you to observe the blast zone from where I stood and form your own observations. The first part of the video is taken from Johnston Ridge just above the observatory. You can see down into the Pumice Plain. The second portion is from Devil’s Elbow, nearly 3 miles to the east down the Boundary Trail. You’ll spot Spirit Lake (with downed logs still floating) and are right in the heart of the ash and pyroclastic deposits from the 1980 eruption.

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Mount St. Helens: The Hike That Almost Didn’t Happen

The day after our trip to Johnston Ridge was meant to be full of R&R.  The four of us had planned and prepared for the summit attempt for over six months and we were ready to rock!  Now all we needed to do was rest up and enjoy a sunny Monday in Oregon.  Instead, we were flung into an adventure none of us had planned for; an adventure that almost stopped our hike before it even began

Monday, August 5, 2019.  
Legacy Hospital Emergency Room.

Mount St. Helens:  So are you gonna climb me, or what?

Volcano Hopper:  Are you nuts?

Mount St: Helens:  Pretty sure we established that a loooong time ago.  

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Thursday Thoughts: Loowit Viewpoint

Happy Thursday my friends! Another week has blazed by in the blink of an eye! I wanted to backtrack a little today and go back to a video I took at Mount St. Helens’ Loowit Viewpoint. This view is facing north, with the volcano at my back. You can clearly see the distinct lack of forest and rocks scraped bare of foliage from the 1980 eruption. All of the trees you see now have grown in the years since the blast.

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