Well, That Volcano’s Nekkid

Saturday’s excursion to Mount St. Helens with Suzanne was a complete success. Well, it feels like it was even though we didn’t make it to both of the visitor’s centers I wanted to scope out. That ended up not mattering a bit because we had so much fun. Wish you were there!

Image is a selfie of Suzanne, who is flashing a peace sign, and me smiling in front of Mount St. Helens.

Suzanne, moi, et Mount St. Helens.

Suzanne was kind enough to drive, so I got to lookie-Lou the whole way up. We realized when we got close that Mount St. Helens wasn’t just a dirty girl – she was almost completely nude! She only had a few tiny patches of snow clinging to her. We pulled off at the Elk Rock Viewpoint and had a long look. You can see how nekkid she is. Even Mount Adams, lurking over the ridge to the left there, has been stripped of much of its snow cover. This heat wave is srs bidness! [Read more…]

Mount St. Helens is a Dirty Girl!

Friday certainly was challenging. I woke up late, for starters. That didn’t bother me too much – I wouldn’t get as much as I’d like to do done, but surely I could still do lots! I was on the road by just after two. Then I had to turn around because I’d remembered every bag aside from the camera bag. Still, I’d caught that within a few blocks, so no worries! Traffic into downtown Seattle sucked, but it always does. Still no worries.

But traffic remained not just bad, but atrocious, all the way past Olympia. It took me over three hours to do a drive that normally would take me an hour and change. I didn’t get down to Castle Rock until seven. Gah. I’d meant to explore some bits I’d never seen before, but all I had time for was a walk around Silver Lake. Happily, Mount St. Helens was completely visible, so I could get you a volcano! [Read more…]

I Am Abandoning Y’all For My Favorite Volcano. Yes, Again.

Between various things going on both in my personal life and online, my ability to cope with people is nearing absolute zero. Alas, our house is being invaded by a great many people starting tonight. I may stick around for the big par-tay, but I am most definitely cutting out for the rest of the weekend. Already got me reservations at a nice little place on the Lewis River, don’t I just? Already made plans to explore the air-conditioned wonders of the various west-side Mount St. Helens visitors’ centers with Suzanne, haven’t I? Ja, you betcha! [Read more…]

Brain-Teasing Boat

B and I went to Discovery Park a couple of weeks ago. I’ve got so many very delicious photos to share with you! It was brilliantly sunny just about everywhere except for Magnolia, which was fogged in. The entire park was shrouded in mist and mystery.

The boats on the Sound looked eerily awesome. Most of them I could figure out: there was the ferry, with the sunlight shining on it through the mist.

Image shows a ferry sailing over a misty Sound. There's a glint of sunlight from the front that makes it look like it's got a train's headlamp shining.

One of the ferries – probably the Bremerton Ferry – with sunlight glinting off its front windows.

Ferries are dead simple to identify. They’re Janus-faced, looking both forward and backward, because they don’t ever turn around.

There were a few barges hauling freight, and even some sailboats. It’s been a terrifying mild January so far. Even that day, with all the fog, was relatively warm, and the breezes just right.

This boat, though… I can’t figure it out. [Read more…]

Dana’s Super-Awesome Mount St. Helens Field Trip Guide VI: Patty’s Place at 19 Mile House

That’s it, you think as you pile your weary bones into the car and leave Johnston Ridge. The End. Fini. As you reverse your course through the blast zone, watching that remarkable She-Hulk of a volcano with its gaping wound recede in your rearview mirror, as the volcanic desert is once again hidden by thick stands of trees, you feel a species of sorrow. That was a remarkable day. There will never be another quite like it.

Hold your nostalgia. It ain’t over yet. [Read more…]

Dana’s Super-Awesome Mount St. Helens Field Trip Guide V: Johnston Ridge

After leaving Coldwater Lake and the Hummocks, you’ll wend your way out of the North Fork Toutle River valley. Vegetation is trying its best to return. In the spring and summer, groves of slender young trees shake green leaves at you, reminding you that life here in the Pacific Northwest can be temporarily routed, but never conquered. [Read more…]

Dana’s Super-Awesome Mount St. Helens Field Trip Guide IV: Hummocks Trail

We’ve left the lovely breezes and rippling blue of Coldwater Lake; a road crossed, a tiny distance traversed, and we are in a rather grimmer place.

If you had been standing here in the North Fork Toutle River Valley on the morning of May 18th, 1980, you would have died. Never mind if you had your car carefully pointed towards a speedy escape. By the time you realized it was time to flee, it would have been far too late. There are people still entombed in the debris avalanche not far from here. This is the place to pause and reflect a moment on the power of geologic processes. Earth demands respect. [Read more…]

Dana’s Super-Awesome Mount St. Helens Field Trip Guide II: Castle Lake Viewpoint

Brace yourselves. Look, I know Stop 1 wound you up. You just got done with a reasonably delicious lunch, you’ve caught a glimpse of the volcano and loved it, and now you’re all about getting up close and personal with Mount St. Helens. But you need to take a deep breath and have a bit of Zen. What you’re about to see might tip you over the edge, and from this viewpoint, it’s kind of a long way down. [Read more…]