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.
Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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?

Read More

5 Ways to Prepare to Hike a Volcano

Volcano Hopper at Kilauea Summit

How is it midway through the summer already?!  It seems like the snow only just melted here in the Rockies.  With the summer comes hiking season – and volcano hopping!  So get your boots laced and hiking poles out.  Here is my list of 6 ways to prepare yourself to hike a volcano:

Read More

An Interview with Kilauea Volcano

2018 marked the largest volcanic eruption Kilauea volcano has seen this century.  Two lava lakes suddenly drained, explosions rocked the summit crater, earthquakes rattled Hawaii island, and a massive fissure eruption took place in Puna.  Rivers of lava flooded the landscape and poured into the ocean in a 2 mile wide ocean entry. The fissure eruption finally ended in August, closing out a 35 year eruption on Kilauea volcano.

On the one year anniversary of the fissure eruptions, I thought it would be interesting to sit down with Kilauea volcano herself and get her perspective on life as a volcano, the eruption, and what she has up her sleeve next.

Read More

Happy International Day of Volcanoes!

Happy International Day of Volcanoes!  

So, if we’re getting “technical,” April 10 is the UNOFFICIAL International Day of Volcanoes.  But that’s not stopping thousands of people around the world from celebrating the wild and wonderful volcanoes that rock our world.

What’s the big deal about volcanoes anyway?

Volcanoes are freaking awesome!  And for more reasons than one:  

Read More

Be encouraged.  Be bold.  Be badass.

Volcano Hopper hanging out with a lava flow on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.

Some of the most badass people I’ve ever met are women.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, think about some of the women you’ve met in your travels.  Mothers, wives, daughters.  Women who raise strong families, or who shatter glass ceilings. No matter the career, or stage in life, every woman around you is redefining the world around us.

Read More

The Moon is Lava!

Name: Earth’s Moon
Eruption Status: Dormant? 
Last Eruption: Less than 100,000 years ago
Location: 238,900 miles out in space

2019 Lunar Eclipse

Do you remember playing “The Floor is Lava” when you were a kid?  If not, you should definitely start a game right now.  Wherever you are.  It’s a blast!  But let’s play a different game today…

The Moon is Lava!

It certainly looked as though this might be the case last Sunday evening during the lunar eclipse.  The usual pearly glow of the full moon (a super moon in this case) was replaced by a deep red glow as the Earth blocked the sun’s light. Lunar eclipses like this only happen when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in a straight line.  Earth completely blocks the sunlight from the moon, and what light does refract around the Earth’s atmosphere gives the moon a bloody red appearance.  Phew!  So that’sall it was?  Good.  But let me tell you a little secret, my friend.  The moon IS lava.

Read More

Capulin: The Boca Trail

The Trailhead for Boca Trail

Name: Capulin 
Type: Cinder Cone
Eruption Status: Extinct
Last Eruption: Approximately 60,000 years ago
Location: 36.7811° N, 103.9695° W
Northeastern New Mexico; Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field

We coasted down the volcano road, enjoying our descent from Capulin’s summit.  The clouds had finally lifted and myriad volcanoes now popped up from the dusty New Mexican landscape.  My partner in crime and I headed in to the Visitor Center for a quick break and a chat with the friendly and knowledgable park rangers. They offered us great information about how Capulin became a national monument in 1916 and how summit road was covertly created in 1925 so that the first Model T’s could putter to the top. Our ranger friends even were able to answer questions about the volcanism of the area.   They confirmed that what we spotted on the lava flow trail earlier in the day was indeed andesite – which gave this volcano its explosive past.

Itching to get back outside and explore the Boca Trail, we drove back to the same parking lot where the Lava Flow trail started.  Instead of heading South and sweeping through the volcano’s second lava flow, this trail heads north and winds between the cinder cone and the third lava flow.  But here, we found something special.  We found the vent from which each of these lava flows emerged.

Read More