10.06.2004

You might call us crazy.....

We saw the volcano blow! It really wasn't a major eruption, but the steam and ash from Mt. St. Helens did drift for about 25 miles before settling down on the little town of Randle, WA.

Melissa and I have been watching all the news coverage about Mt. St. Helens since it started at the end of September, and thought that this would be the perfect time to go visit. We had planned to go up there on the 9th, when Bug and a few of our friends were going to hike to the summit via the trails on the south side. Unfortunately, the mountain has awakened and put a halt to those plans. Mostly, I remember the news footage from the 1980 eruption, and I wanted to see the area for myself and put some concrete observations in place of the abstract Mt. St. Helens that was firmly planted in my thoughts.

We drove up to Woodland, WA and got a room at the Econo Lodge, and then drove on up to the monument, even though it was about 4 pm. I was nervous about what we might see, and nervous that something might happen while we were there, but we had done our research, and trusted ourselves to handle jsut about any situation. When we got there, it was beautiful. the sun was getting ready to set and everything was on fire with light. The mountain, even without the 1300 feet she lost in 1980, was gorgeous, and we could immediately see why so many people are drawn here.

We made a quick tour of the area, and then headed back to the room to write postcards and check out the local news coverage of the phenomena.

We got up early on the 5th, and headed back up the road toward Castle Rock and the Toutle River Valley. It was a foggy morning, so we really enjoyed watching it break on the way up. We arrived in the National Monument area just before 9 am, and had made it past the Castle Lake viewpoint where all the media trucks were diverted, when Bug yells at me to pull over. I did and looked over toward Mt. St. Helens, and there was a cloud coming out of the crater! We were witnessing a steam event, not a full blown erutption, but it was still one of the most amazing things we have ever seen! We went a little closer down the road to view it, and when we realized how close we were to Coldwater, we went to the observatory there. We watched the remainder to the steam and ash come billowing out of the crater, and felt so lucky to be able to witness this event in person. Bug and I explored the observatory, talked to the staff, media photographers, and other visitors and then left to drive back to Eugene at about 1:30pm.

Our amazing photos of the event can be found on our Flickr site, and seen in our archives bar to the right ----->

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