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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Thursday Thoughts: Mount Saint Helens – Toutle River

Today’s Thursday Thoughts are being brought to you right from the Mount St. Helens Forest Learning Center on the Toutle River.

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Mount St. Helens: Spirit Lake Memorial Highway to Johnston Ridge Observatory

Visitor Center, Kid Valley & the Forest Learning Center

Mount St. Helens and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that surrounds her are packed with volcanic features to explore and amazing areas to hike.  With so many adventures to be had, where should we even begin? The answer was unanimous: The Spirit Lake Memorial Highway to Johnston Ridge Observatory.

My partner in crime, Jason, and I had met up with my brother and sister-in-law the night before at our cabin on Mount Hood.  We snuggled up inside the cabin’s golden timber walls, feeling the crisp mountain breeze blow through the windows as we settled in for the night. Rising with the sun and feeling refreshed after traveling the day before, my sister-in-law, Alex, spoiled us with her fantastic cooking skills, frying up some eggs and toasting fresh bread from a local bakery.  Bellies full and a spring in our step, we were ready for adventure!

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Thursday Thoughts – A Hero on Mount St. Helens

Discussing Melanie Holmes’ new book “A Hero on Mount St. Helens” and the life and legacy of volcanologist Dr. David Johnston.

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Mount St. Helens – A Trip Through Time

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. HelensSay her name and it instantly draws to mind images of the cataclysmic eruption of 1980.  We all remember the news footage and heart-stopping images of the fiery blast.  Americans as far away as Florida had at least a dusting of ash on their cars. Fifty-seven people lost their lives, and the infamous eruption’s impact has lasted to this day.  Mount St. Helens has erupted before and since 1980, and has quite the track record to explore.  So before we head out on our adventures with the volcano, let’s go on a whirlwind trip through time to get a better understanding of Mount St. Helens.

Mt. St. Helens Eruption 1980
Sequence of events during the start of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Photo courtesy of the USGS.
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Thursday Thoughts – Mount Saint Helens

Discussing the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption and the latest book I’ve been reading – Richard Waitt’s “In the Path of Destruction.” It’s a fantastic book compiling the survivor’s stories from the eruption in 1980.


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The Cascades Volcanoes

The Pacific Northwest has a vibe all of its own.  Trendy metropolitan cities, pulsing with their own energy.  Thick forests of vibrant green and field strewn with wildflowers.  Crashing ocean waves.  And magnificent volcanoes that command the attention of the entire landscape.

The Cascade Arc is home to 20 very big and badass volcanoes, most of which are composite volcanoes, and over 3,000 smaller vents.  Volcanic fields dot the landscape of the Pacific Northwest and have made it what it is today. 

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7 Must-Haves for your Volcanic Adventure

This post is sponsored by Amazon, but all opinions are my own.

So you’re ready to take the leap and are ready to go explore a volcano.  But what to bring?  Below are 7 must-haves for your volcanic adventure.

If you’ve followed my 5 steps to prepare for a volcano hike (click here if you need a refresher), you should know the volcano you are planning to meet verywell.  Knowing the volcano will give you a solid idea of what to bring with you. It is critical to have good gear. I love to find stuff on the bargain rack.  I really do! But you have to make sure that the gear you are buying is the right gear for you.  It’s no good shelling out the cash for a pack that doesn’t sit right or shoes that pinch your toes.  (Trust me – you’ll want to cut your feet off before that hike is over.) Buy the right stuff for YOU the first time around.  

One of my marathon coaches once told me, “Nothing new on race day.”  Break your gear in early!  New clothes/shoes/packs will cause blisters, rashes, and problems out the whazoo.  Don’t wait until you’re on the trail to give the gear a trial run.

So, what do you need to bring?

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