Visiting Mount St. Helens This Summer? Getcher Guides Right Here!

Oh, hai, it’s getting to be that time of year when you’ve got a greater than 10% chance to actually see Mount St. Helens when you visit! Were you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest? Wanting to swing by and visit our most explosive attraction? June-October is the time to do it!

You’ll want guides, too! I’ve got some for ye. Best part is, they’re totally free! Download them before you go, and make sure you give yourself some time to read up before you arrive. There’s so very much to see and do, even if you end up visiting on a day when the volcano itself is hiding behind clouds.

Mount St. Helens in May of 2014.

Mount St. Helens in May of 2014.

Do you only have a single day? My very own guide to the west-side approach to Mount St. Helens may be just the ticket. Yeah, it looks like a lot, but you can easily do it all in a single bound, even if you’re traveling from Seattle or Portland.

I’m afraid I can’t guide you around the rest of the mountain yet, but Barbara and Robert Decker’s slender but eminently useful guide can steer you right. You can view an online copy here, but be sure to pick up a paper copy while you’re visiting. It’s available in all the gift shops and has an abundance of lovely color photos.

For those who are looking for more in-depth geology, make sure you do not forget to download Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity by Patrick T. Pringle. This guide is the most recent I’ve found, and contains details on numerous approaches to the volcano. It’s packed with delicious geology.

Then download a copy of Road guide to volcanic deposits of Mount St. Helens and vicinity, Washington by Michael P. Doukas. This one’s got you covered for both east and west-side approaches.

I know. Those last two are a bit technical, and none of them except the first include Dana’s super-awesome snark. But they’ll steer you to some great stuff. And next year, possibly sooner, fates willing, thee shall have a wonderfully modern, snarky, photo-filled guide to the west side written by your very own Dana Hunter. Soon after that, thee shall have your very own Dana-authored book about the May 18, 1980 eruption, which will be a revised and expanded version of the series we have going on here at this very blog. I am working on both as we speak! Look, I even have a handy meme for you to print out and keep posted somewhere prominent so you can reassure yourself that it’s really really happening.

Image is a slightly expanded crop of me with Mount St. Helens from May 2007. Caption reads, "Yes, I am indeed writing a Mount St. Helens book!"

For serious, folks, I am.

I made it because bunches of you have been hounding me about authoring a Mount St. Helens book, and I figured a little visual confirmation would help. Besides, this is a special photo, because it’s from the only time I’ve ever been to Mount St. Helens when it’s erupting. Seriously, it’s erupting, right behind me! You can read all about that right here.

That should get you started. Please do let me know if you have any specific requests for the future guide – input definitely welcome! And have an awesome visit. I know I’m partial, but I sincerely believe this is one of the best active volcanoes to play around in the world.

A Study in Volcanics: 5 Reasons You Gotta Visit Mount Baker

Outside of Glacier Peak, Mount Baker seems to be the least-regarded of the I-5 corridor volcanoes. Mounts Hood, Helens, and Rainier seem to suck up all the ooing-and-awing oxygen. Baker, not as much.

But it repays attention. For one, it’s active. For two, it’s not monitored closely enough. For three, it’s got a surprising amount of various volcanic deposits all visible during a leisurely trip up Mount Baker Highway. You don’t even have to get an early start. [Read more…]

Fleeing Marriage – Escape Chapter 5: “Linda’s Flight to Freedom”

I informed you last week, after that relatively light chapter of Escape, that we’d be right back into the horror show. People, it’s bad. You might want to grab a mouth guard, because you’re going to be spitting nails and gnashing your teeth to nubs. Content notice for emotional abuse, creepy old men, stalking, spiritual abuse, and coerced marriage.

We’re plunged eyebrow-deep in awful right from the first paragraph, when we learn that a creep in his fifties has been stalking Carolyn’s seventeen year-old sister, Linda. He reports to her father things he disapproves of: her skirt’s too short one day, her heels too high another, and why did she comb her hair differently today?

The girls’ mother, Nurylon, is incensed enough to tell her husband “that she didn’t trust this man.” This does zero good: [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Inspirations: Craven Hubbies Edition

I’m about a third of the way through Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus, and I am already longing for the days of Genesis. I mean, God was still a complete asshole, and the people were mostly awful, but at least God wasn’t quite so sadistic. He was still a complete bully who delights in others’ pain, but in Exodus, he’s really refined his tormenting technique. And yet, for all the blood and gore and evil, it’s a hideously boring book in a lot of places. So I’ve got a job o’ work ahead of me, not merely stripping off God’s mask to reveal the shitlord beneath, but also stripping out the boring bits.

One thing Exodus is mercifully free of is cowardly husbands. You know the ones. Remember Abraham, who tried to pass Sarah off as his sister? Twice? And then it turns out that she is his sister! He married his half-sister. Ew. And then he was too much of a coward to stand up to other men, but made her pretend to be unmarried so the horny dudes would creep on her without trying to kill him. What a mensch. [Read more…]

You All Are Bloody Amazing!

So a week ago, I came to you, hat in hand, begging for some help to keep me and my elderly kitty from ending up living in a Honda Civic. I mean, it’s a reasonably nice car, but a little cramped and not at all secure. I didn’t really expect much, but hoped for enough to pay for an extended-stay hotel room while I looked for work.

Thanks to your efforts, I have some leads on great places to live, and I can continue writing full-time this summer. You’re that incredible! [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Sweetly Symmetrical

When it’s hot in the Pacific Northwest, one has a few options. There are a few restaurants, businesses, and entertainment facilities that have air conditioning. There’s the Sound, which is good and cold and has a few nice beaches. And there’s the mountains, with gorgeous streams cascading down them, cooling the place off on the way.

It got to be around 90 on Monday, so B and I headed into the Cascades. This is one of the best times of year to go, because all of the green growing things are busy being pretty. Such as these little delights from Deception Falls: [Read more…]

Damn Right We Did! Women, Civilization-Building, and Men in Denial

Entitled males love to howl about how penis-bearing people did all the hard work creating civilization. It became so much of a trope that David Futrelle renamed his blog after one of their cries: “We hunted the mammoth for you!” To hear men (especially white European males who haven’t done shit with their own lives) tell it, the only people who did anything noteworthy in the entire history of the world had dangly bits between their legs.

After yet another men-did-it-all screed, Rubyyogi had enough, and unleashed some truth upon them: [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XII: Wherein We are Made Seasick

After the extraordinary nonsense of Earth Science 4th Edition’s last chapter, I’m fervently hoping this one is a bit less stuffed with inanity. Our heads and desks all could use the break.

Refreshingly, we begin with an ecowarrior-worthy bit on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ocean currents, we’re told, gather our plastic waste and concentrate it in an area of the Pacific Ocean that “could be larger than Texas!” Bad for the environment, bad for animals, they say, without pretending there’s anything good about it. It’s ES4 at its actual best. Yeah, the kids reading this textbook will end up desperately ignorant about science, but at least they won’t end up thinking pollution is a glory unto God. They may even agree to help us preserve the planet, as long as that doesn’t require responsible birth control.

Image shows Twilight Sparkle shrugging. Caption says, "Never know, could happen"

Look, I’ll take what positives I can get. [Read more…]

Teenagers Stampede to Avoid Marriage – Escape Chapter 4: “New Wife, New Mother”

This chapter of Escape is a welcome break from the last. It’s practically sunshine and puppies in comparison, although there’s still plenty to be horrified by.

When you hear the words “new wife, new mother,” do you immediately think of a newlywed who’s just had her first child? Then you’re probably not FLDS. In this chapter title, Carolyn’s talking about her dad, Arthur, getting another wife, who will become Carolyn and her siblings’ new mother. Fortunately, the FLDS prophet has paired her dad with a woman everyone already likes: their mom’s niece Rosie.

Yep. Niece. Carolyn tells us that it’s “not at all unusual for sisters to be married to the same husband, and it was certainly not unusual for a niece to share a husband with her aunt.” Oof. We also learn that some men never get a second wife. Those who do generally wait 10-15 years after their first one. The more wives a man has, the more powerful he is.

Lovely. [Read more…]

Please Help Dana Avoid Becoming Homeless

I knew I was taking risks when I quit my job and pursued writing full time. Blogging doesn’t pay much, and getting books written and published takes time. I knew a year probably wouldn’t be enough to become self-sufficient, but would give me time to get things going. Then I could get a part-time job at the end of my year to make up any shortfalls, and wouldn’t have to go begging money from my readers. I’d have a book or two out, and have more started, and probably wouldn’t have to do the day job thing forever. Simple!

My plans were disrupted a bit last fall, when I came within spitting distance of dying from sepsis. It took a while to recover, and my funds took a hit. But I still had things under control. I struggled with the typical winter-spring depression, but kept plugging away at the writing, and got me first book released. Everything was going fine – until my apartment complex decided not to renew my lease.

They’re kicking me out so they can remodel. I asked for more time, and got until the end of this month. Then I’m sans home.

Moving into another unit here would be prohibitively expensive. It’s not going to be possible to find another apartment without a steady income considerably larger than the present unstable one. So I’m currently job hunting (if you’ve been wanting desperately to hire me, thinking I’d be a perfect fit for your Seattle-area company, now’s the time!). But I won’t have a job soon enough to save up the extra funds I’ll need for a move. I won’t be able to find an apartment quickly enough, either. B’s house doesn’t have room for me to move in, and it’s not possible for him to abandon his brothers.

So I need your help pretty badly. [Read more…]