Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Romancing St. Helen

John and I visited Mt. St. Helens National Monument on Sunday.  It was surprisingly hot at 4,000 feet above sea level -- it hit 92 degrees in Seattle that day -- so our fairly level 8 mile hike seemed longer.  (Also there was almost no shade, still.)  What struck me, coming in from the west into the path of the blast 33 years ago, was the enormous devastation still visible.  The blast yes came all the way to the ridge we're standing on here, and knocked all the trees to smithereens -- but also to the next, much taller range of mountains, and the mountains beyond that.  They still lie parallel like toothpicks on the ground thousands of feet up, and miles behind us in this shot. 

Stopping to read maps by the "largest" creek we passed.  I counted less than two dozen flower species in the ash, including wild strawberries.  The dominant species by this creek was sweet-smelling clover, but elsewhere blue lupine, red Indian paintbrush, and the most gaudy display of violet penstemon, or beardtongue, I have seen.  (See previous picture.)
Glimpses of Spirit Lake.  Logs are
still floating on the lake after 32
years.  They don't let you swim
there, now, however.
We swam in Coldwater Lake below, still within the monument, on the way back, across to the sandy far shore of an inlet.  The water felt wonderful, especially after a hike in the heat!

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