When Somebodyisfromhere.com learned about Mount St. Helens in grade school it seemed like a big deal. Intuitively, it had to be important because they decide to teach it to kids so early. But then you carry on living your life and, along with names of explorers and their ships, you learn, well, maybe you didn’t to know it that badly after all.
Somebodyisfromhere.com went to Mount St. Helens not as a part of any can’t miss travel desire, but more so because it was on route. It was something to cross off between Portland and a Mariners game.
That’s the first thing, though. You CAN do it between leaving Portland at a normal hour and be in Seattle by 7pm. It’s that close to civilization. It’s about 100 miles from Seattle and about half that from Portland.
Driving through the affected areas Somebodyisfromhere.com imagined what kind of pictures and film of the event we would have if it erupted today. Think of it, we could have those high definition National Geographic photos. We could have a non-controversial use for taking drone pictures over US soil.
Somebodyisfromhere.com learned at the Forest Learning Center‘s free museum that there were good pictures and footage of the event. The footage looks like a horror movie partially because it WAS a horror movie and probably also because it looks a bit like Silent Hill.
The pictures wouldn’t stand up to pictures from today, but in the scheme of things the pictures are pretty recent. That’s when it hits home. This really wasn’t that long ago. A volcano erupted in the US in 1980.
Again, a volcano erupted 50 miles from Portland and 100 miles from Seattle not that long ago. In that context it makes sense they teach grade school children. It’s just a pity they let people forget.
In one video playing on a loop in the free museum, somebody mentioned to Jimmy Carter the surrounding areas looked like the surface of the moon. Carter said, “Mount St. Helens devastation makes the moon look like a golf course.”
Somebodyisfromhere.com was blessed. On the way out of the Learning Center the pleasant lady at the front desk indicated the clouds were starting to clear. That is the problem some visitors can have with Mount St. Helens. It is so high that the views are obstructed.
Little did the attendant know the clouds would continue to clear making for some spectacular sites all the way up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Johnston was a volcanologist who watched the eruption (and died).
The Observatory is a pay site but offers some extraordinary views.