Mount St Helens last erupted on May 18, 1980 and many of us remember seeing coverage on our local news stations. It is now a National Volcanic Monument within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was a very hot and hazy day in Washington, but we still were able to get a bird’s eye view from the Johnston Observatory which sits directly across from the north side of the volcano.
|Valley of the mud slide|
In March of 1980 the volcano began to rumble. The situation grew progressively worse until on Sunday, May 18th, triggered by an earthquake directly underneath, the north flank fell away resulting in the largest mudslide in recorded history. Shortly afterwards, an eruptive blast blew 1300 feet off the top. In the end, 230 square miles of forest had been flattened, the river valley was flooded to a depth of 150 feet with mountain debris, and 57 souls lost their lives.
|Reforested by "the tree people"|
We actually spent more hours on the road today than we spent at the volcano. Tomorrow we will probably stick close to home. After big milage days four days in a row, we need a rest day.