Wonder Daddy suggested that we all needed an outing this past weekend- Mt. St. Helens is about 3 hours away, and we'd never taken the kids. The volcano blew up a little more than a year before I was born- I remember driving south through Washington to Oregon as a child, and seeing gray ash heaped along the side of the road like snow.
The mountain used to look like Mt. Fiji, in Japan. It was perfectly symmetrical, with a beautiful blue lake at the base. Before it blew, it was bulging as much as 9 feet per day- the entire side of the mountain blew out. The 600 degree (F) cloud of gas melted the snow cap and the run off triggered a mudslide. The area directly around the mountain was almost sandblasted- more than 30 years later, it's still not much more than rock, and is a national monument. The area outside that, all the trees were blown down. Outside that, the bark and branches were stripped off, but the trees stayed in the ground. Some timber was salvageable for harvest, but a lot wasn't.
The privately owned lands were re-planted- companies like Weyerhauser use them for tree farming. Trees are planted, thinned, and harvested over about a 40 year period (and then re-planted.) Douglas fir is mostly what's grown here. Since no one had ever studied what happened after an event like this, scientists have been amazed at how quickly the land recovered.
Ernie, age 8. You can't imagine how much she soaked up that day. My little sponge!
Mimi, age 4. She is SO.FANCY.
Mimi and Cocoa, age 4 and 2. She will hold a pose forever, if there's a chance I'll take a photo. He's kind of hoping there's food involved soon.
Wonder Daddy. The MasterMind.
It was a nice drive down, and we enjoyed being in an air-conditioned car this hot weekend. Local temperatures are in the 80's, and most people don't have AC around here. The kids spent about 2 hours exploring the visitors center, then we drove farther up the road to get a better look at the volcano. We saw a cyclist walking his bike back down the hill- he had his 2nd flat tire of the day and only brought one spare tube. BUMMER! I can't imagine pedaling a few thousand feet up, and not getting the rush of coasting back down. We drove him a few miles down the road to where he was meeting his buddies, and then hit the road back home. We stopped for dinner at a burger joint we'd been to before in Castle Rock- I had consigned myself to having a milkshake for dinner (aw SHUCKS, right? They only had 40 flavors) but they had gluten-free buns. Happy Mom, right here :)
We got home just in time to let the kids play outside for a while and then tuck everyone into bed.