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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Mount St. Helens’ Boundary Trail east toward Harry’s Ridge.
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!
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!
Today’s Thursday Thoughts are being brought to you right from the Mount St. Helens Forest Learning Center on the Toutle River.
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!