Mount St. Helens

(Click here for more photographs.)

From Portland we crossed the Columbia River into Washington and went north to Silver Lake.  We parked at Silver Cove RV Resort near the town of Castle Rock, WA.  Our primary objective for this location was to visit Mount St. Helens.

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Mount St. Helens is noted for its 1980 eruption, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States to date.  In late March 1980, Mount St, Helens began a series of earthquakes and steam venting.  By late April, the north side of the mountain top began to bulge.  On the morning of May 18, a strong earthquake triggered a massive collapse of the north face of the mountain.  It was the largest known debris avalanche in recorded history which reduced the height of the mountain by over 1,300 feet.  This was followed immediately by a large scale pyroclastic flow (eruption) that flattened vegetation and structures over 230 square miles.  The landslide mixed with ice, snow and water to create volcanic mudflows that extended many miles down the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers destroying bridges and lumber camps.

We approached the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument from the northwest on Highway 504.  Unfortunately, we were not able to go to the end of this road which extends to the Johnston Ridge Observatory.  The last portion of the road was not yet open for the season.  We got as far as Coldwater Lake which is a lake that was formed as a result of changes to the landscape from the 1980 eruption.  We had some nice views of Mount St. Helens while hiking among the hummocks (mounds and knolls) which were formed from the eruption related landslide.

Next stop:  Gig Harbor, WA

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