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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Mount St. Helens: The Boundary Trail

The landscape around Mount St. Helens is just packed with trails waiting to be explored.  I’m certain I just need to move up to Washington for six months so that I can get my boots on every single one!  My partners in crime and I had made it to the Johnston Ridge Observatory on the first leg of our trip.  Spying the Boundary Trail running right past the Observatory, it was only logical that we grab our bags and set out on a hike. A short 6-miler sounded like the perfect warmup for the summit attempt we would be making in two days.  All geared up, we struck out on the Boundary Trail east toward Harry’s Ridge.

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Thursday Thoughts: Mount St. Helens – Johnston Ridge Observatory

Today’s Thursday Thoughts are brought to you directly from the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount. St. Helens. The observatory is approximately 5 miles from the volcano, and offers on of the best views of the crater, lava dome, and 1980 blast zone. This video shows our view from the ridge, and explains some of the features you can see from the overlook. Happy Hopping!

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Mount St. Helens: Loowit Viewpoint and Johnston Ridge Observatory

After years of hoping, dreaming, and planning, the morning of August 4 found the four of us driving down the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway in search of mighty Mount St. Helens.  My three partners in crime and I had explored the river valleys and Forest Learning Center on our way toward the volcano.  But now, the time had finally come for me to meet Mount St. Helens face to face.  No more reading, research, or hoping to catch a glimpse out the airplane window. Today I was just a girl, standing in front of a volcano, asking it not to blow me into the stratosphere. At least not until I’d had a thorough chance to explore its slopes!

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