Hiked On: May 29, 2006
Weather Conditions: Approximately 50°F and overcast, climbing to 65°F and party cloudy
Distance from Seattle: 160 miles
US Forest Service: Mt. St. Helens
As part of our Memorial Day Roadtrip this year (more on that coming soon), we spent a few hours at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (now that's a mouthful). The first few hours we were there were spent driving up to Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) and visiting the other visitors centers and learning centers that are along the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway.
Once we got to JRO, we hiked west on the Boundary Trail which gave us amazing views of the cloud-capped volcano only 5 miles away. Oddly, we were driving up the road that morning when a 3.1 magnitude earthquake shook the area, causing a 20,000' ash plume to come out of Mt. St. Helens. Unfortunately, it was overcast so we didn't get to see that, but later in the day we did see the results of the rockslide in the mountain's crater. We were also able to see the 1985-1986 lava dome, but this year's lava dome never made it out of the clouds for us to see.
Fittingly, as we got home that evening around 9pm, I looked at the VolcanoCam and was quite upset to see that it was clear without a cloud around the mountain. Grrr.
All in all, it was a great hike – good company, lots of people out enjoying the Memorial Day holiday, and an awe-inspiring glance into nature's rebuilding after the area was leveled in 1980. Diann & I will definitely be going back to MSH in the near future for more hikes.
Total distance hiked: 4 miles