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MOUNT ST. HELENS

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake 2014 from Norway Pass trail

What humans see as devastation nature sees as opportunity. About 35 years ago, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions collapsed an entire side of Mount St. Helens.

Photo of photo of Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980

Photo of photo of Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980

Within ten minutes a landslide of incomprehensible proportion destroyed old-growth forest, lakes, and many mammals who hung around too close to the blast.

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake 2014 from Norway Pass trail

Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake 2014 from Norway Pass trail

Life renews. Three days later, herds of elk roamed around the barren plain. Their hoofs churned up the pumice while their droppings planted seeds. Enter the lupine…pushing up through the pumice and regenerating life with numbers of purple flowers rarely before seen.

Looking into the crater of Mt. St. Helens from Johnston Observatory

Looking into the crater of Mt. St. Helens from Johnston Observatory

Gophers survived the blast underground and burrowed their way to the top, aerating and fertilizing. Insects and birds continued the process of adaption, taking advantage of brand new territory. Aquatic life survived under ice-covered lakes and ponds. Amphibians thrived. Today, there is more diversity and abundance of life around Mount St. Helens than before the blast.

View of Mt. Adams from Boundary Trail #1 near Mount Margaret

View of Mt. Adams from Boundary Trail #1 near Mount Margaret

We are privileged to hike through Norway Pass to Mount Margaret. Walking through the rebirth of a new forest on a clear day, views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake expand us. As growth matures, the diversity of life will decrease. Weed-out so to speak.

Match-stick forests created by the blow down from the blast

Match-stick forests created by the blow down from the blast

Leveled trees, rocks, ash, mud, etc., filled Spirit Lake. The water level rose almost 1,000 feet. Everything died in the putrid lifelessness that followed. Three years later, the waters cleared and nature began a new cycle.

Meta Lake from Norway Pass

Meta Lake from Norway Pass

Rain, melt and runoff created new lakes and ponds where everything from algae to frogs and beavers inspire us with resilience and adaptability. Life lives.

Iron Creek Campground

Iron Creek Campground

Camping on a side of Mount St. Helens that was not in the blast zone, we breathe in a rain forest with some trees up to 600 years old. What humans see as devastation nature sees as opportunity. Thank you abundant Universe.             Ron Mitchell

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Susan Stodola #

    What a beautiful and uplifting story and what beautiful pictures. Thank-you!

    August 3, 2014
    • You’re welcome, Sue. Yes, we were not expecting to be uplifted from that visit. After camping two days in the rain, it was truly uplifting!

      August 3, 2014
  2. Ma & Pa #

    Wow! Maybe there’s hope for Mingo

    August 3, 2014
  3. Dorothy & Ken #

    Hi Ron&Mar,how beautiful,how lucky youare to be able to see all of that.
    Love and God bless

    August 4, 2014
  4. Gosh, love this take on St. Helens, a change from your prior posts. Great shots too!

    August 4, 2014

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