Mt St Helens

Mount St Helens Travel Blog

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Lava bombs on river bed

I found this great campground, Eco Park, near the north entrance of Mt. St. Helens.  They are a private campground with trails down to the Toutle River.  I grabbed my pack and headed down the mile long horse trail to the river.  I wanted to find a nice big lava bomb to take home.  I certainly found plenty of smaller ones!  The river was gorgeous - in addition to the lava bombs and dead trees and debris, there were lots of elk tracks and fresh, new green plants springing up.  I started packing my bag with lava bombs and then I hoisted it on my back and realized I was never going to make it back up that hill with so much weight on my back.  And I couldn't carry the big lava bomb I wanted.  

So I repacked with just a few smaller pieces.

Mt. St. Helens
  I was on private property and the owners said I could take some rocks home, so I did!  It was awesome.  On the way back I saw the largest slug I'd ever seen.  Of course I had nothing for scale, but it was big! 

I stopped at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and watched a very powerful video on the eruption.  Then I walked up to the viewing platform and just took in the view.  The volcano is so beautiful.  And then you look around and see all this destruction still visible more than 20 years later.  All the trees are still blown down radially from the blast, the trunks now bleached from the weather.  Flowers are just starting to peek out of the ash that is everywhere.  A little clump of grass here, a couple of flowers there, the land is regenerating.

The Toutle River
  The power of nature is just amazing.

Off in the distance, the Toutle River is still flowing around debris from the eruption that never washed down the valley.  You can barely make out the stream amidst the mud that still covers the valley. Just below, you can see hummocks - or large pieces of the volcano that blew off during the eruption. 

As it was still early in the season, not all of the roads were open in the park, and the southern road just opened that day, but it was a good 3 hours of driving just to get there.  I was doing a quick tour to see what was here, so I decided to skip that . I know I'll be coming back.  I want to spend more time here and Crater Lake and Mount Rainier.  All three are beautiful parks with lots of hiking to explore.

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Lava bombs on river bed
Lava bombs on river bed
Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens
The Toutle River
The Toutle River
The wonderful campground I stayed …
The wonderful campground I stayed…
Foxglove
Foxglove
The largest slug Ive ever seen
The largest slug I've ever seen
Dead trees on the Toutle River
Dead trees on the Toutle River
Elk tracks
Elk tracks
branches of the Toutle River
branches of the Toutle River
Wildflowers by Mt St Helens
Wildflowers by Mt St Helens
dead trees and flowers - 20 some y…
dead trees and flowers - 20 some …
Directional dead fall of the trees
Directional dead fall of the trees
Mt. St. Helens close up
Mt. St. Helens close up
Close up of the lava dome
Close up of the lava dome
Hummocks - these are chucks of the…
Hummocks - these are chucks of th…
Johnston Ridge Observatory
Johnston Ridge Observatory
Mount St Helens
photo by: mrgishi