Sunday, October 17, 2010

Washington, Back To The 80's



Map picture


The Columbia River separates me from my destination but it is easily crossed from downtown Portland, Oregon. I am on Interstate 5 headed north.



SAM 002 It takes about one hour before I exit Highway 504E.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory is now just 52 miles away along a promising scenic route.






CAN 163 Today, the weather is nice with clear skies and temperatures in the 60's.








CAN 165

Isolated yellows standout against bright evergreens.

A gentle reminder of the approaching winter as the sweet smell of fresh pine permeates the air.










CAN 234 Further along touches of reds and orange add to the reminder.






Ascending Highway 504 glimpses of my destination can be seen in the distance. In some ways I am not in a hurry to get there, the journey is becoming almost as fascinating as the destination.


CAN 173 The Toutle River changes sides along Highway 504 like a major league switch hitter.

In the shadow of the afternoon sun, at the right spots it delivers nicely to the landscape.




At one point in the 1980's this river was in some areas buried up to 600 feet deep in debris. Today it's waters flow clear and free, a relaxing sound.




CAN 184 A Nice Slightly Used Ford Granada



At Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center my destination draws closer and a reminder of it's history is on display. A reporter's car from a local television station, KOMO 4 News still shows evidence of what happened on that fateful day over 30 years ago.



CAN 189 A quick glimpse from the Visitor Center's lookout points but it is too early in the day to spot local elk that feed in the valley below.

The fresh air and clear skies makes returning to the car a bit disappointing. These are the days made for a convertible.




CAN 194 At another of many stops this time I am at the edge of the blast zone.

It is almost unimaginable to revisit the destruction that was here.

A new bridge easily masses what was although nature still has some of it’s foot prints left behind.





CAN 252  Fields Of Destruction




CAN 201 Today, however through careful forest management, good portions of the area are seeing signs of a vital rebirth.








SAM 004 My exit approaches and I make a stop at Coldwater Lake.




CAN 230 I am now less than 10 miles from taking a step back in history. A history that formed this lake.






Parking my car at Loowit Viewpoint, I have an informative conversation with a local volunteer doing some maintenance work around the parking lot. I receive a nice history lesson of the area and have my curious questions answered.




SAM 006 A short walk along Boundary Trail and I will arrive at my destination.





CAN 268 Some life has recovered nicely along the Boundary Trail even as I still witness a historical dying field.







CAN 269 Destroyed Ridge








CAN 300 I have arrived at the Johnston Ridge Observatory across the valley from Mount St. Helens.

“Vancouver!, Vancouver! This is it!”






This observatory is named in honor of David A. Johnston a geologist and the first to report Mount St. Helen's eruption before being swept away by the lateral blast it created on a Sunday morning, May 18th, 1980.


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