I have been really busy the past few weeks, to the point where I had no energy to want to do what I love (adventures and knitting) in my free time. I had had enough of not wanting do to the things I normally absolutely love doing.
Today I was just like “I just need to go, I need to do, I need to drive” so I did. Starting out to the Gas Station I was planning on running out to the coast then changed my mind, and decided to go North, to Mount Saint Helens (the one that erupted in 1980).
It was a beautiful day for a drive up a mountain. Once I was on the highway that goes up to the observatory there was hardly any traffic and I could just drive, without having someone in my way or being in someone’s way.
On the way up I stopped for food, and at Dutch Bros for a Blackberry Rebel. On the way back I stopped at the target store in Kelso, and picked up a few items for what I call my “grab bag”, which are just a few essentials for if I go away for a night or two and don’t need my whole travel toiletries bag.
I love being able to go places, and get outside, which is where I feel like I am actually living life, rather than just going through the motions of being “normal”. I am adventurous, independent and so much more.
While I was up on the mountain my historian brain couldn’t help but wonder what it was like for the early white settlers of the area when the saw the pre volcanic erupted mountain. Even if you hadn’t seen the fact that it has no top and half the side of it was blown off, you could tell something catastrophic had happened in it’s recent enough history, by how “new” the fir trees are. It was something I noticed on the way up, but was extremely obvious on the way back down. The fir trees are still “short” in comparison to what is on Mt Hood and Mt Rainier. They are also spindly and need to fill out a lot more. So looking at the trees you could tell that some sort of natural disaster had devastated an entire forest, and it had been replanted. The mountain had erupted May 18th, 1980 (which was 7.5 years before I was born), but I can still remember the first couple of times I had gone up Mt Saint Helens, and what replanting had been done was still small, and the closer you got to the top, it seemed like half the mountain side was still covered in downed trees and areas where the forest had once been and was no longer. Mind you I was probably about 8 or 10 the first time I had gone up there, so it would have been 15 to 17 years after the blast. I can’t really put into words what I had seen the first two times I had been up there, other than that the area was still reeling with the devastation from the eruption. Now, 35 years after the blast, with the help of replanting and the forest service the area from the timberline on down is slowly healing, the animals and other critters that had called it home are returning. It will still bear the scars of the eruption, it is finally starting to become a healthy ecosystem again, as well as a beautiful and unique landscape.
I have grown up seeing the cascade mountains, from Mt. Rainer to Mt Jefferson on a regular basis, and there is something about being able to see them from the valley floor, from the distance to being up on them to really appreciate their beauty. Like I said, I grew up here, but I never tire of seeing the mountains (or the ocean for that matter). While they are “common place”, I have been enough other places to still be in awe of it all every time I see them.
It still amazes me that I have been up in three of the cascade peaks, and that I never get tired of seeing them.