July 29-Got up and drove toward Mount St. Helens. Turns out there are 5 different visitor centers devoted to St. Helens. Only 2 of them are run by the Forest Service, the others are state or privately owned. This is the first Visitor Center we went to, run by Washington state.
We drove 30 miles or so to the National Forest Service Johnson Ridge Observatory.
We visited the Johnson Ridge Observatory is the closest center to Mount St. Helens.
They had a very good presentation on the eruption, which finished with a dramatic opening of the curtain to reveal what was left of Mount St. Helens, but the effect was lost because it was fogged in. We learned all about the landslide, then the eruption of St. Helens that day.
From Johnson Ridge we went back to the Coldwater Ridge facility.
This is another Mount St. Helens facility that overlooks the lake into which a lot of the mountain slid.
. The Coldwater Facility was probably the nicest and most modern looking one that we saw
, but we learned that it will be shut down in November. It wasn't that surprising to learn this--we couldn't figure out why the Coldwater facility was there anyway.