I don't expect that I'll be traveling to Hawaii any time soon, so Mount Saint Helens was an important stop for me on this trip. Volcano. Check! I was mighty curious about what it would be like to stand in the dangerous zone of an active-ish volcano. The 1980 eruption was a powerful piece of history that I witnessed via the six-o’clock news, and I always wondered what it must be like to live with that omnipresent danger on a daily basis.
As an East Coast girl, I knew nothing firsthand about earthquakes or volcanoes. The Cascade Range is beautiful and extends from Lassen Peak in California all the way north to Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia. This range is part of the Ring of Fire that circles the Pacific Ocean.
Seven days into the month of June, the mountain was still quite snowy.
I went to the southern side first, and viewed the volcano from the Lahar side.
Early next morning I drove up the new Sprit Lake Highway, to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, named for the volcanologist who lost his life while monitoring the mountain at a research station located about five miles away, when the north face of the volcano exploded in his direction.
The drive took a while because I pulled off at every viewpoint to take photos. The North fork of the Toutle River still looks like the runoff from a concrete construction site.
I've been out west for a while now, and it only just occurred to me that if an earthquake actually happened while I was sleeping in the rig, it probably wouldn't even wake me up, because that bed is always rocking and rolling with the wind.