Sunday, June 26, 2005

Explosive fun

The mountains of the northwest are indescribable! I trekked to Mt. St. Helen's today to meet some friends and then go off on my own to hike and see the real volcano. First note to self: If I stay in the NW, I definitely need a car with pick-up to get through these mountains!

Nevertheless, the drive just got more amazing as I headed east. Suddenly, towns, homes and stores, even gas stations drop off and you are completely in the wilderness surrounded by mountains. 504 ends right in the parking lot of the Mt. St. Helen's visitor center. About 1/2 way there on the highway you see it, looming large over all the other mountains and constantly attracting a ring of clouds near the peak. There is still snow, but the skies were blue and I took a million pictures, just a few are here.

The area right near Mt. St. Helen's was obviously largely devastated in 1980. They have left it to regrow and there is a graveyard of stumps among the new wildflowers popping up. Weyerhauser spent millions re-foresting other land nearby. It's all pretty amazing. The photos don't begin to do it justice, but it's still fun to share! (Top left is the foot of Mt. St. Helen's)

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