The Mount St Helens volcano erupted in a big way on May 18, 1980. Since then, the area has been turned into a National Volcanic Monument to preserve the volcano and for research, recreation, and education. It’s a long drive through the park to get to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, but there are visitor centers and observation points along the way. We saw some very informative videos about the devastation and the recovery and learned a lot from the exhibits at the visitor centers.
Hillsides of fallen trees can still be seen, and stumps remain where trees were ripped away from the blast. But much of the surrounding area has a nice re-growth of forest now.
A sign at the Johnston Ridge Observatory shows before and after pictures.
On our way home we stopped at a roadside cafe. We shared an elk burger and a piece of chocolate “lava” cake. Had to do it.
We are staying at Seaquest State Park for Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday morning we will continue our southern trek.
- Gasoline: $165 @ $3.39 and $3.59
- Lodging: $34
- Admission: free with National Senior Pass