Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More on MSH

Just for perspective, this is Mt. St. Helens, before,

and after.

Can you believe "only" 57 people were killed? Not to make light of their lives, but - really - look at how much of the mountain is missing, and then check out this (short) video.

Really, click HERE and I'll wait.

The series of photos at the beginning just take my breath away. Although the mountain looks black, most of what you see in the photos is snow and glaciers, covered with dirty ash. When the earthquake collapsed the north side of the mountain, an unbelievable amount of snow was instantly melted, causing a huge, hot mudflow. Part of the reason the volcano erupted so explosively was much of that ice and snow flashing instantly into steam.

If you ever have the chance to visit the area, DO IT.

There are three visitors centers - one to the west near I-5, and two up the highway near the mountain. (Although I've heard that the most impressive, the Johnston Ridge Observatory, has been closed. You can still drive up there, but can't get in the building. Too bad!) Just outside the park, Weyerhaeuser's Forest Learning Center had a ton of hands-on stuff for the kids, and several herds of elk tend to 'hang around' in plain view, below in the valley.

Of course, all the government-run centers have a heavy-handed, preachy, environmental message. However, some friends had told us about the 7 Wonders Museum - a creation-science counter-point to the "party line".

What a great place! Lloyd and Doris Anderson operate a wonderful resource. They have a well-stocked bookstore, lots of pictures, a view of the mountain - on clear days, examples of different kinds of rocks (collected outside the park,) of which he freely gave samples - much appreciated, since collecting anything is forbidden in the park. (Don't even get me started... 110,000 acres and umpteen bazillion tons of material blasted into the stratosphere, and kids are not allowed to pick up rocks... because, you know, we'd be disturbing Mother Nature, or the goddess, or gaia, or whatever. Not even a designated area for picking up rocks.)

But I digress... if you're going to Mt. St. Helens, don't miss the 7 Wonders Museum. Let them know you're coming and they'll host you in fine style. Lloyd gave our family a personal presentation. We had prepared the boys (and ourselves) before our visit by researching the events leading up to the eruption and the effects afterward, which was very helpful.

Lloyd talked kind of fast, being very passionate about the subject, and gave quite a bit of technical information. The boys were 6, 8, and 11 at the time, and I wondered if they were "getting it". Shouldn't have worried. As we left, Tate said to me, "Mom, I found that quite interesting because it was a Christian way of telling it, so I didn't have to ignore any of it... like how old stuff is."


The Squirrel said...

I flew from Seattle to Portland sometime in the late 1980's. We flew right over Mt. St. Helens. The view of the devastation (still less then 10 years old) was awe inspiring, to say the least.

I've never had a chance to stop in at the visitors' center, or tour the park (monument? place? thing), but I've always wanted to. Thanks for the heads up on 7 Wonders, if I ever make it over there with "tourist time" I'll check it out.


Rabbit said...

It's wonderful to hear of places like 7 Wonders who give the Christian perspective. Thanks for the recommendation!

In 1984 I was on an airplane heading to Seattle to visit a friend. The pilot took us directly over MSH, first circling one way and banking so the right side of the plane could look down onto it, then circling back the other way so the left side of the plane could see. We cheered him for doing it! It was an amazing sight.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

I keep calling it the "park", but you're right - it's officially the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument.

I've flown over it too - very impressive sight! Then, in 1990 I climbed the south rim and looked down into the crater.


Ann said...

In college I knew someone who was there - and has the burn scars to prove it. She had some amazing stories to tell of the whole experience.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Wow! I was quite happy to be further away :0) The wind carried the ash to the east, so we avoided that also. Although, we collected some, later :0)

The Squirrel said...

We had the ash. I blogged my remembrance yesterday.

< /shameless blog plug >


Deborah said...

Wow! Incredible! Maybe someday we'll head west and get to see it...