Monday, May 18, 2015

35th Anniversary of Mt. St. Helens Eruption

Today is the 35th Anniversary, of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, in the state of Washington. This is a very memorable date, for my husband and I lived not all that far, from the mountain at that time. In fact friends of ours were tree planters, hired by the forest service, and were in process of planting a deforested slope, on the mountain when it blew. Because of this friendship, I was allowed to go into the, "Red Zone", and see some of the damage, within days of the eruption. I was not however allowed a camera, but I will never forget, the scene's of devastation. It looked like an otherworldly site, like some monster with a giant schythe had mown down the forest, like twigs, for miles, and buried it in grey ash. We saw huge pumice boulders melted into the pavement, and smaller ones, that we pried up and tipped over, had melted to the ground.

This picture was taken by grandma, Maryann Hanners, from her yard in Hood River, Oregon. She and I had been sitting in the living room of the house, chatting. When the mountain cooked off, we were hit with an earthquake. I remember thinking how odd it was, since I happened to be looking from the living room, down the hall, to the bathroom, at the other end of the house. I saw the earthquake roll towards me, down the length of the house, just as this plume erupted, from Mt. St. Helens. Grandma grabbed her camera, ran outside, and snapped off a few shots. Unfortunately when I went to find the pictures, this one was the only one of them I could find.

Update: I found the second picture.

My husband, Gregg and I, at that time, were living on Underwood Cliff, on Underwood Mountain, which you can see, just to the right of the plume. When we got home, it had popped all of the molding off of our ceiling, and it was all laying on the floor. The next morning our car was covered in very fine gravel, so I took a glass vial, which normally held seed beads, and filled it full of the ash, from out of the cars windshield wipers slot. I still have it to this day.

Here is a popular postcard, that was sold at that time. As you can see, Spirit Lake, was completely destroyed, along with the top of the mountain.

In 2004 my husband and I, and our two boys, went for a drive, up to Mt. St. Helens. This shot is looking into the crater, from a position on a ridge, just up from the visitors center.

This also was taken in 2004, you can see that this tree stump was not cut off, by a chainsaw, but was torn off, from the force of the blast. Some of the stumps we saw like this, were old growth, and very huge. Unfortunately the fog rolled in, soon after this picture was taken, and I wasn't able to get any pictures of them.
This picture was also taken on our 2004 trip. This one is looking down into a valley, that was filled full of huge drifts of ash.

In 2006 we went for a drive, up in the Mt. Adams Wilderness, and I was able to get these lovely pictures of another side of Mt. St. Helens.

This shot, also taken on our drive in 2006, clearly shows, how the mountain, was still active. We saw it sending up plumes, every time we got a glimpse of it.

So on this 35th Anniversary of the eruption, of Mt. St. Helens, I can pause a moment to remember, where I was, and what I was doing, when this mountain blew it's top, and be very grateful, I lived to tell the tale.

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