Mount St. Helens

- 21 July 2002 -

I've been there already, I know. But I was there on June 17th last year, and June 17th just happened to be a day when clouds covered the summit.

I missed a lot because of those clouds. 

Mount St. Helens is incomparably beautiful, as you shall see.

The Jack In the Box restaurant in Springfield where I ate lunch before I left for the Sales Tax State. 

I put this here only because it's got that wacky red thing above the door, and because a Big Cheeseburger from Jack In The Box is incomparably good if you dribble some soy sauce on it before you take a bite. I am addicted! Addicted, I tell you! My 12-step program begins on the 24th. ;)

The Enchanted Forest (mentioned on the sign to the right), near Salem, Oregon, was the closest thing Oregon had to a theme park, back when I was growing up in the '80s. (We had to walk 15 miles through the snow, uphill both ways, to get to something that wasn't really an actual theme park! And we liked it! ;) )

I've been there a grand total of four times; the time I remember most was a Grace Lutheran School field trip in 5th grade, where I spent most of my time there being chased by (and, sometimes, chasing) a girl in my class. :b

I was too busy trying to get a good picture of Mt. Hood (which didn't even show up in any of my pictures; raar!!, *smash*, etc.) to notice where I was going. I ended up on I-405 westbound, headed for my old stompin' grounds in Washington County. 

Seeing as I was aiming for Washington State, this was not a good thing. 

Washington County is nice, definitely, but it lacks several of the crucial ingredients which are absolutely necessary for a locale to be certified as Washington State: 

1. A 70 MPH speed limit;
2. A population that entirely consists of crazy drivers;
3. a sales tax; and
4. Mount St. Helens. ;)

This is where I ended up!

PDX. The City of Roses. Downtown Portland, Oregon, USA. The county seat of Multnomah County. Oregon's largest city. My place of birth; a place of many memories.

Darned if I could figure out how to get back to I-5, though. I'd been there before, for certain, but I had never driven there. :b (My four-year teenage sojourn in the rural mountains of northeastern Oregon transformed me into something of a city-fearing hick. :b ) 

Some urban type scenery, conveniently located somewhere in the big city. :b

The Hawthorne Bridge, spanning the Willamette River.

After driving confusedly through downtown Portland for a while (cursing my bad fortune to be stranded in a beloved yet unfamiliar urban landscape), I ended up finding my way to a place that I remember from my teenage years, which led me to Hawthorne Boulevard.

Green steel bridge! Wheeee! :D

Green steel bridges make me happy, as we may have discovered on July 6th when I went to Cape Blanco. ;)

The portion of Hawthorne Boulevard immediately to the east of the Willamette River.

I know how to get to Hawthorne. I know how to get to Hillsboro from Hawthorne. I'd been there 3.62 million times when I was about 12. Hawthorne, and US 30 on the northwest side, are the places in Portland that I'm most familiar with. 

However, I didn't exactly know how to get to any interstate highways therefrom...

... hence, here's some more of Hawthorne Boulevard.

Even more of Hawthorne Boulevard. 

Yep, even more of Hawthorne Boulevard. Aren't you lucky?

Guess. ;)

From the crowded mass of Southeast Portland, we vault across the mighty Columbia River, and careen past a lot of I-5 scenery in the Sales Tax State -- including several lovely views of the Trojan Nuclear Plant's cooling tower! But, alas, the camera did not cooperate. Sad thing, really. ;)

The camera -- unsung hero of this page that it is -- once again decided to behave in a civilized manner along Washington Highway 504, which is the route to Mount St. Helens.

(Last time, I didn't take a lot of pictures along WA 504, because I still had that problem with the reflection from the car ventilation ducts showing on the windshield. This has been dealt with, so I can show you some random Washingtonness in these pictures. :) )

The Washington State Song:

Oh Sales Tax, how we do praise thee!
From the depths of our crazy drivin' souls!
Oh Sales Tax, yea, how we proclaim thee!
From the mountaintop whence Columbia rolls!

... okay, so I made that up. :b

What's that up ahead? I'll give you three guesses. ;)

w00t! :D

The gray line on the hill in the distance is the upcoming part of WA 504.

Mt. St. Helens. :)

I didn't get *one* picture on the last roadtrip that was this cool.

But wait! There's more...

w00t! :D

(Here's what I saw last June, from a similar viewpoint... back then, the clouds kept everything from being seen.)

Everyone just automatically and unintentionally slowed down to 20 MPH at this point... and just looked.

These are the mountains that are to the southwest (?) of Mt. St. Helens. 

More nearby scenery. 

WA 504, near the turnoff for Coldwater Creek. 

Welcome to Skamania County! (Break out your Reel Big Fish CDs! :b )

It's odd to be in Skamania County (pronounced "skuh-MAY-nee-uh", incidentally -- not "Ska Mania" ;) ) when I'm nowhere near the Columbia River. But it's a pretty big county; it encompasses most of Washington's side of the Columbia Gorge, and it obviously extends as far north as Mt. St. Helens, too.

The End.

(... of WA 504, anyway.)

The vaguely-phallic thing on the sign is actually a profile of George Washington, believe it or not.

The RVs ahead are parked at the Johnston Ridge Visitor's Center parking lot -- the place that has the best view of Mount St. Helens.

Some canyons and suchlike, as viewed from the Johnston Ridge parking lot.

Mount St. Helens would be about 75° to the left of this field of vision... or something.

This view is kinda 90° to the right of the last one, but it's also all the way across the parking lot from the other view.

Even the parking lot is scenic!

But just you wait until the next picture...


This particular mountain uncorked just a few days before I turned 2, throwing ash into the air as far away as southern Oregon. (Remember: Mount St. Helens is a two hour drive from Portland!)

Click this link to see what Mt. St. Helens looked like before May 18, 1980 -- although their picture is definitely not from the same vantage point. You can see more pictures, and read some elucidative information about the eruption, at this US Army Corps of Engineers page.

A view to the left of the mountain.

When I was growing up in Hillsboro, Oregon, every family on my block had at least one coffee can full of Mt. St. Helens ash. When I was 6, my friend Jason and I poured his family's can of ash into the sandbox, thinking it was a cool type of sand. We got in big trouble. :b

A view to the right of the mountain.

One last look before the road home turns westward for good.

I stopped again at the Hoffstadt Butte center, and got a few pictures there.

Here's roughly the same view from last year, for the sake of comparison. (I didn't really miss anything *here*...)

The walkway down to the deck where you can view the valley full of ash.

Scenery, and lots of ash, too.

Scenery, ash, &c.

(Jason's parents should've just driven here, in *my* humble opinion. ;) )

It's Yansa's Favorite Grove Of Ferns In The Whole Wide World©™®!!!!!

Or something.

(Here's the picture of this grove of ferns from last year. Why? Because I say so! That's why! Now go clean your room.)

Ciao, you volcanic thing, you.

Text written 17 August 2002.
Last updated 19 January 2006.

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