We take Route 504 today to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. It is a hazy.
The elevation at our park is less than 500 feet. Our only stop is at Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center at 1,400 feet. The road twists and turns as we climb to the Johnston Ridge Observatory at 4,200 feet. At the observatory, I get my stamp.
We watch a movie that includes footage we saw on TV in 1980. That was over thirty years ago and watching the eruption here is different! At the end of the movie the screen rises, the curtains open and we get a spectacular view of Mount St. Helens. It is very well done.
A second movie details the rejuvenation of life to the area. The blast zone is where the eruption destroyed all life. Nothing has been done inside the blast zone to help nature along. In thirty years, nature has done just fine!
We head straight back to the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. I brace my feet and cling to the armrest. John imagines that he is on a motorcycle. You may wonder why we do not make any other stops. The answer is that we have scheduled a helicopter flight.
We have time for lunch. The couple who are joining us arrive and we head to the helicopter pad.
We met our captain this morning. He is from Frankfort, Germany. His English is very good.
This is my first ride in a helicopter and it is great. We fly up the North Fork Toutle River landslide and mudflow that buried the previous highway and valley.
We climb and fly into the crater. We can see steam rising in the center. It is still an active volcano. It is a wonderful experience! I hope the pictures show how great the ride was.
Campground: Longview North/Mt. St. Helens KOA