Mt. St. Helens erupted May 18, 1980 – 30 years ago. The date is important to help put the pictures into context, the landscape is now 30 years old. Thirty years seems like a long time; however, the views from the visitors center show a countryside with little growing vegetation, littered with logs blown down by the explosion, that is eroding into new canyons and river valleys. The landscape quickly changes as you travel away from the volcano, to lush forests of Noble Fir trees planted by Weyerhaeuser Co. The river and stream beds still carry heavy loads of trees and debris which make for some unique views. One of the images is of a waterfall onto a fallen tree section which makes one wonder if the tree was blasted into this spot by the eruption, very pretty.
The road into the Park is pretty bad and under substantial re-building leading to some long waits on the hi-way, but it is worth it. Right away, you can tell the NP system got to start over with new facilities here. Substantial parking, paved trails, wonderful visitors center with lots of bathroom space.(Makes me wonder what the Park Service could do if we had a Congress that would adequately fund it). I walked up the path (it is always “up the path”) to the highest view point.
The viewpoint offers nice 360 degree views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and the surrounding landscape. Walking trails extend on down into the valley below and many people wandered that way. I have learned that wandering down the trail usually means one has to climb back up the trail, I stayed at the observation deck. Note the pictures of the flowers blooming, they could be seen all over and are very pretty. On the way down we stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant and ate on the deck overlooking a river.
A note on the Noble Fir trees planted by Weyerhaeuser. The Noble Fir when small is our typical Christmas tree. Here they were planted by the thousands in 1982 and the passing years have been good for them. I figure they are close to 40 feet tall now. A really interesting note is that because they were all planted at the same time, they have grown up all alike with the branches forming long lines in the forest with the breaks in between looking like long furrows in a field or drawn brown lines between green fields. Very unique to all the forests we have seen out west.
Enjoy the pictures. I apologize in advance in their are any problems viewing them. An SD card corrupted and the pictures had to be recovered from .NEF files.