We woke up to more rain. The Pacific Northwest is running true to form. We were not driving very far today, just to Auburn, WA to visit with my cousin. We had told her we would arrive about 2ish. Well….that didn’t work. We actually pulled into her drive at 4:30.
There were two reasons for this; 1) I found a country road to travel on and get off the freeway. They are always slower going, but much more interesting. And 2) We stopped at the Mount St. Helen’s Visitor’s Center.
It was very interesting to see all the information about an event we clearly recalled. The volcano erupted on May 18, 1980 and we had ash from that explosion falling on our cars and yards up in British Columbia. What I had not remembered was that Mt. St. Helen’s was a lateral eruption. We always think of volcanoes as blowing the lid straight off and up. Mount St. Helen’s actually had created a bulge on the side of the mountain and when it blew it blew the entire north face off.
As usual I took photos of many of the pictures and signs that I found most interesting. They tell the whole story much better than I. We have seen many photos like this of logging back in the ‘old’ days, I have a photo of my paternal grandfather and his brother standing beside a huge tree they have felled in 1913 or so. This photo is not a black and white image. It is a color photo but the ash has coated all the logs and dirt with a fine white powder so it looks B&W. The logger, the sawdust and the butt of a log in the middle right are in colour.These were very cool statues. What I liked the most was the symbolism of the figures being completely greyish-white as if they were covered in volcanic ash. I don’t know if that was intentional but that is what I thought of when I saw them.
This image and placard tell a typical tale. We watched a film that showed the mountain blow and they had a time lapse series of photos that clearly explained the lateral eruption and how it was created. (Look at the time stamps on the lower left of each image to see how quickly it all happened.) I also did not remember that Mount St. Helen’s had erupted again in 2006. It never reached the top of the crater from the 1980 eruption but it did rumble mightily once again. In 1980 John and I began renovations on the little old house we had bought in 1977. The basement had been dug out from under the house at some point after it’s construction and all the basement walls and floor were wood slats. There were holes all over where the wood had rotted so we had a massive mouse problem and it was so musty and damp down there we couldn’t use the space for anything. We had the house lifted and put in a new concrete foundation.
When we removed all of wooden walls we noticed a 2″ strip of white dirt about 2′ from the top of the wall. At the Mount St. Helen’s Visitors Center they had an image of the layers of eruptions of the mountain and the different colours of the ash fall. John is convinced the white stripe in our basement was from the 1480 eruption. We spent about an hour and a half at the Visitor’s Center and then got back in the truck for the drive to Auburn – in the rain.The sun actually peeked through the clouds as we neared the Seattle area and it was quite nice by the time we got to Carol and Roxy’s place. We had wine and appies on the backyard patio, hugs from my new buddy Rollo (Miss Mollie, Rollo’s sister is too shy to sit on laps), and then went inside to enjoy the delicious dinner Roxy had prepared for us. We had a wonderful evening of chitchat and story telling before everyone headed off to bed.