Mt St Helens stop
Castle Rock Travel Blog› entry 117 of 124 › view all entries
Up fairly early in the morning and said goodbye to my wife’s cousin and her husband and headed south. We knew we wanted to go through the Columbia River Gorge when we got the Portland area but had no real plans for the day.
A hundred miles south we saw the signs for the Mt St Helens Visitor Center. For a few of you I will give a quick history. May 18th, 1980 this volcano had a major eruption. It was caused by or maybe the result of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. The northwestern section of this mountain blew away and collapsed. Nearly 230 square miles of forest was blown down or buried beneath volcanic deposits. At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments. In 1982 a National Volcanic Monument was created to study, research and educate. We went to the first Visitors Center, which is still fairly close to Interstate 5, having never been on this side of the mountain. We went in and looked at the displays and pictures. We considered going on in to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, but were advised that due to a bad winter the road in was not in good condition.
We got some pictures of the area before heading on south.