Monday, August 18, 2008

Mt. St. Helens

This past weekend Nate got to hike a real live volcano with a group from school! Only 100 people are allowed per day so we had to buy passes in February for our spots. We camped overnight at the trailhead and started hiking about 5:15 a.m. We got to watch the sun rise as we hiked through the forest section of the hike, and as we got out of the trees we could see Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier. After the forest was a section of boulders, and then a gravel/ash mixture towards the top, which was slippery. There was snow yet through the shaded forest and higher on the mountain where there were shady spots between the ridges. The view from the top was amazing; I did not expect the crater to be so big. When you hear that the north side of the mountain was blown away, it is really true! I had heard the statistics about how much power and how many tons of mud, but it really made an impression to see it. We could see Spirit Lake with all the logs floating in it to the north and steam rising from the center of the crater (made me think of this verse about God's power and glory). I was not the fastest hiker; it took me 5 hrs. to get to the top, and 3 hrs. to get down. My shoes did not treat my feet very nicely but some "2nd skin" treatment partway up prevented it from being worse than it was.
It was a fun trip to end the summer with- worth every blister! (But I really need better shoes!)

This is a view (photo by Nate) of the east side of the horseshoe-shaped rim, the crater, and Spirit Lake past the mountain.