home . index

Murky Mt. St. Helens (and our Sasquatch spotting!)

June 10, 2009

< < previous | next > >

"We're believers up here," the woman at the Visitors Center in Woodland told the fellow who asked about Bigfoot. A neighbor of hers, she said, saw him run through her backyard when she was out hanging laundry to dry on the line. "It was the smell she noticed first," she continued, "and that's what stays with her the most to this day."

So we had our olfactories on guard as we began our long drive up the road to see the mountain that blew its top in spring 1980. Volcanologists underestimated the punch it would deliver, and so some of them monitoring its burbles and glurps were blown away (along with a few dozen other folks downwind and downstream) when it erupted.

Both of the visitors' centers here are great, the first one just a few miles up Spirit Lake Highway (once you turn off I-5), and the Johnson Ridge observation center, that looks out on the ruptured peak of Mt. St. Helens. The latter's terrific, with dioramas that light up showing various flows at different times and a movie that ends with the screen rising and curtains opening onto windows that overlook the volcano. It was pretty much fogged in while we were there, but we got a few good views when the wind permitted. We also had a great late lunch at a lodge cafe about 20 minutes back down the mountain, with a fantastic view looking the river, where you can still see the damage done by the lava flow. Can't find its name, but here it is on Google Maps, if you're going. Pretty good fare.

And we did get a chance to see Sasquatch, who didn't smell too bad.