So, part two of our amazing (not train) adventure was to take the (horrible) train from East Glacier, MT to Portland OR. The plan was to arrive at 10:30 or so in the morning, go to the hotel, change and then head out to Mount St. Helens so we could be there in the early afternoon… Well, the train was (surprise!) very late… So, we arrived in Portland just after 3:00, and stopped to check in at the hotel and headed out… Arriving at Mount St. Helens around 6:30, which meant that the observatory was closed. But, that’s OK… It was still amazing… Being (ahem) 43 years old, I remember when Mount St. Helens erupted. We anxiously watched the news coverage, and I’ve seen the documentaries since… A fascination with a natural disaster that happened in our lifetime that we can remember. It was breathtaking!
Here’s some photos, which don’t do it justice… Our first inkling that we weren’t visiting just any mountain, were the trees, whole stands of them that were all the same size and type… A section of douglas firs that had a sign in front of them that listed them as all planted in 1986… There were many other signs, other types of trees, all planted together in the same year. Preceeded by this sign… (remember you can click on the pictures to see a bigger view).
Then there’s the mountain. You come up to it, and see the side of the mountian, but the crater comes later. Here’s the first view.
from the parking lot of the observatory, this is what you see, stumps
then you climb up to the observatory and the mountain and crater come into view
30+ years later and it still looks like a moonscape (with snow and a glacier)
a close up view of the crater
the opposite hillside
the fallen trees on the opposite mountain, look at the soil, how any of the plants grow in what looks like pumice is amazing
travelling back down the mountain we came across this lake
The difference in the water between here and Glacier was amazing. In Glacier, all the water in the rivers, the waterfalls, the lakes, was glacial water that looked like magic, the pictures didn’t do it justice, it was a beautiful turquoise blue green… I know Mike laughed at me every time I said it, but it really looked like magic water. They should have looked for the fountain of youth in Montana, had Ponce De Leon seen the water there, they would have been sure that the fountain of youth had been discovered. The water here at Mount St. Helens was gray. Crazy, just gray, didn’t look like magic at all… in the river it looked almost like milk. The ash, it made it completely gray, so different than Glacier. Beautiful in its own way. I didn’t get a great photo, but it was getting dark, and we wanted to be off the mountain before it got too late because we had to drive back to Portland…
One more vacation post is coming, the last one will be about our journey along the Columbia River and Oregon Trail to Mount Hood.