Mt St Helens Trip

Summer is coming to an end here for us. Weather will still be better next month but next month will bring start of school for kids and Murali ‘a travels. Plus my parents will be leaving end of this month and so this month would mostly mark the end of our summer weekend trips.

We didn’t get out on any long trips this year, but we used most of the weekends for one day trips.

This weekend we visited Mt St Helens national volcanic monument. This one place has some mixed memories associated for us. Our last trip here, before the kids, ended up in a weird way. Till date, I think fate concocted this event to bring us down. What happened that day was that as Murali and I set out for a much needed long weekend trip, it rained very very hard. And that was summer. We were disappointed but kept going. Finally when we reached the mountain, had the first sighting of the majestic mountain, clouds cleared. Suddenly it was a beautiful day. As we were happily enjoying this change and view, in a minute, we had a flat tire. Out of no where. We ended up calling emergency, getting our car towed back to someplace and fixed. We spent rest of the day in a Wal-Mart warehouse and never went back to see the mountain. Timing this day was so weird. The moment clouds clear out, you see the mountain and the car tire blows off. What are the chances, right? That got me so down. Luckily we didn’t let the wasted day waste our trip. We still went on the river rafting and road trip.

Anyway, coming to our trip now, I constantly remembered the incident throughout the trip. But this one day went much much better. We set out really early. Reached around noon. Usual lunch and bathroom breaks later, we finally saw the mountain. It was beautiful.


This one erupted in 1980 and was a big event. What amazed me was that, look at the before picture – it was a typical mountain back then. But the 1980 explosion was so huge, it collapsed the top of the mountain, caused a crater at the top and a massive mud slide. On the way, we saw replanted trees because the mudslide killed them all. Mountain was so green back then, but the high temperatures during the explosion killed all the vegetation. Now there are barely some wildflowers around. It was all over in couple of minutes and you can see the land is still recovering from the impact. 37 years later that is. The other side of this mountain, didn’t have any impact from the mudslide is all still green.


It’s amazing to think that we live 4 hours from a volcano. Luckily it’s not highly active now but keeps grumbling now and then. Last major explosion was in 2008, so it’s not a calm one either.

The dome you see in the middle came with the activity between 2004 and 2008. Watch the video here. It’s creepy to see mountain moving on its own. Can you imagine the pressure under it that’s causing this gigantic thing to explode or even just move?

Here is a video about the explosion. Do watch it.

We also watched a movie about the explosion in the observatory and took some nice family pics. Achu wouldn’t stop complaining about the sun. Really this gal is something. We have sunny days only few days in a year and she is complaining about them. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Our next stop was supposed to be at Ape caves. These are lava tubes we can explore. I was so excited to go see them but we learnt the place was a good 3 hrs away so we postponed it for next trip. We have to take our own source of light. It’s going to be amazing I can’t wait. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Now that we still had time before we had to go home and that Achu was non stop complaining about sun, we decided to check out a lake close to the mountain. And oh that was a great idea because the lake was just so calm and so beautiful.

Kids and I didn’t wait to get into the water and get wet. Lakes here are pretty cold, but this one was bearable and we just jumped right in. We walked for a while, I even sat in the water. I wish I could swim though, that would have been perfect.


We enjoyed some nice time here and ย resumed our journey back home. Ate at a different Indian restaurant. Food was good. We all made it home by 9 and everybody was so tired. Even I was asleep in minutes and if you know my sleep problems, you know that’s really something. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

It was a great trip. Especially with the touch of the lake. Hopefully for next times, I will remember this experience and not the one before it. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

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