Mt. St. Helens volcano has long been a source of fascination for both Terry and me. I clearly remember the images on television depicting the devastating destruction of the molten lava, burning fires, and heavy ash.
At that time, the ash plume built up into the air to a height of 80,000 feet and was deposited over eleven states in the US. Imagine 216 square miles of plants, trees, animals, and even human lives gone in practically a heartbeat. On that day, 57 people died including innkeeper Harry R. Truman, photographers Reed Blackburn and Robert Landsburg, and geologist David A. Johnston.
So when Terry's sessions wrapped up today we jumped in the rental and headed north to the great state of Washington to visit the famous volcano.
When you drive through the mountains, the top of Mt. St. Helens presents its snow capped top like a moon on the horizon. It is vaguely luminous. It seems to hover in air. The closer you get, the more dramatic it becomes.
All around the trees, vegetation, and wildlife have returned from that incredible blast 37 years ago. Yet scars remain. You can see washout areas on the bottom of the valley that haven't fully recovered. The north face of the volcano resembles a moonscape. Barren. Just dirt.
After the eruption, the site was preserved as a national monument.
Now experts are warning that the volcano is becoming active again after witnessing a series of tremors beneath the surface. Between April and May of this year, according to the USGS, there were a total of 55 minor earthquakes. Typically scientists say when there are tremors around the volcano it's a sign that magna is recharging and could lead to an explosion But the USGS (United States Geological Survey) says it's unlikely this swarm is a precursor to imminent eruptions. Why? There are no other indicators of unrest at this time.
So we can relax for now and enjoy the incredible vistas and wildlife. Elk was a big winner with us. Below you see Terry and Eden elk watching at one of several spots equipped with stationery binoculars.
It's hard to match up these scenes from today with those 37 years ago when life ceased to exist on Mt. St. Helens and the surrounding area.
Amazing the healing powers of Mother Nature.