Seaquest SP - Paradise Point Sp via Mount St Helens
Jul 29, 2010
|It's my birthday! Where else to spend it but on my namesake, Mount St Helen(s). All right, I can't claim the saint part.
The drive into the mountain is eerie and atmospheric. At one point, a bridge rises up in front of us, then disappears into the mist. It's slightly disconcerting driving onto it. How do we know we won't drop off it into the abyss?
Higher up, we stop to look back at the valley. It is covered in a low blanket of cloud. Then as we drive ever higher, we eventually break through the cloud and into brilliant sunshine.
At Mount Saint Helens, we look at the interpretive boards, and watch a film about Mount Saint Helens history. The film is strangely moving. The power and unpredictability of nature is brought home. At the end of the film, the curtains are drawn to reveal Mount Saint Helens in all her glory.
The mountain is not beautiful (like Mount Rainier). More like a broken or decayed tooth. All around the volcano, the eruption created devastation. Charred trees are strewn across the landscape. Naked, dead tree trunks line the hillsides. The earth was ripped up and stripped bare.
Yet new growth is happening at an incredible pace. Back down at Coldwater Lake (where we have lunch), beautiful wild flowers grow in provision in the rich acidic soil.
Up at Mount Saint Helens (Johnstone Ridge Observatory), there is a plaque to those who died on that fateful day back in 1980. So many people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time; unfortunate for them.
One man described moment by moment the explosion into his radio. Then said it was time to go - to find his camper van had been buried.
"I don't think I am going to make it out of here..." he said.
Neither he, nor his camper van, were ever found.
For Tom, this trip is a bit of a pilgrimage. Inspired by the Mount Saint Helens eruption, he decided to study geology at university.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a birthday. Back down the valley, we see how the ash flow had swept down the valley for many miles.
With anticipation, we look forward to our next State Park yurt at Paradise Point (The name is promising in itself). Ironically, we find ourselves right next to the freeway. Idyllic, it ain't!