Friday, August 29, 2008

Mt. Saint Helens

Tuesday - Today Pastor and Alice are working at the church in the afternoon. Joel is preparing to leave for college. Mark and I will be exploring alone today. First Alice and I take Pastor to church, then we go to the grocery, rush back to the house and prepare food for a cookout. We had a delicious meal and was visited by a humming bird. Now to the mountain...

Mt. Saint Helen's is approximately 1.5 hours away. We travel up Highway 5 to Johnston's Pass. We see a sign that says "Blast Zone", then drive for many more miles up the pass. The area the explosion affected (destroyed) is vast. Everything beyond the "Blast Zone" sign is new growth since the volcano erupted in 1980. Hard to believe it was that long ago, seems like it happened only a few years back.

Mark and I spent the day on the mountain and were in absolute awe of the enormity of what occurred here and the beauty that has emerged since that time. Several new species of plants have emerged since the eruption.

Speaking of the eruption, the volcano didn't erupt as we may typically think...i.e., spewing up, then flowing down. Instead, there was an enormous side facing explosion that blew out the side of the mountain. There was an initial blast, followed by heated gases that were 1,500 degrees, followed by a rock and mud slide, then lava.

Since this event occurred in modern times, scientist have been able to gain much knowledge regarding this type of volcanic eruption.

The semi-circular lookout is inscribed with the names of those that perished that day.

There are trees on the top of surrounding mountain tops yet today that show the direction of the blast. They look like matchsticks.

While the mountain looks rather close, it is actually five miles from where we are standing.

You can see the indentation in the middle of the mountain where the cap is forming...and growing.

We hiked a while today, there was a slight breeze and the temperature was cool, which makes hiking comfortable. It felt good to get some much needed exercise.

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