For the 4th of July this year Barb, her daughter Maddy, and I decided to go hiking near Mount Saint Helens. I have been interested in going for years but it just never worked out. This year we made it happen.
Mount Saint Helens exploded on May 18, 1980 and created the largest debris avalanche in recorded history. I heard the boom from it over a 100 miles away in Kirkland Washington. The ash from it fell on our farm in Idaho 275 miles away. I still have a pound or so of the ash that was swept off of the patio from my parents house.
We went on an eight mile (round trip) hike through part of the area destroyed by the high speed avalanche and blast from the explosion. We walked to within five miles of the crater. You might think five miles is a long way away. But the eruption killed trees 17 miles away. The scale of the destruction is amazing.
Maddy took this one of Barb and me with 135 mm telephoto:
There was much more to the hike than just the crater.
Other mountains were clearly visible. I think the first one below is Mount Adams and the second is
Mount Curtis Gilbert:
[Update: As Defens says in the comments the picture above is of Mount Hood. I didn’t think we could see it from 60 miles away. I also thought it would be behind Mount Saint Helens from our viewpoint. I created a PhotoSynth to prove him wrong and ended up confirming his assertion. It turned out to be a very nice PhotoSynth. I think they have improved it in recent years.]
There was a warning near the start of the trail about how people who had problems with heights might have problems with portions of the trail. Barb and Maddy reported some discomfort but surprisingly I did not. The last picture above shows the “ledge” we walked on for probably a third of a mile or so. There were some places that if you stepped off the trail on the downhill side you probably would have slid a few hundred feet to the bottom with a high risk of injury or death.
We really enjoyed the hike and the awesome scenery even if we were a bit sore and tired by the time we got back.