Friday, December 19, 2008

Mount St. Helens

October 11th to 15th

Past Mt Rainier, we head through national forest land on little used route 25. This is definitely tree country....



The road traffic changes....



Campgrounds are absent and we rough camp at the roadside and get a fire going.



Ascending we hit the snow line and the air is a tad chilly....



Route 99 leads directly towards the blasted, flattened cone of Mount St Helens, but floods last winter have left the last 10 miles impassable where the road was washed away. This is a view from 14 miles away and we wonder just how massive this bohemouth would look from up close....



Miles of valley below recover from the massive 1980 eruption that left 57 people dead. 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were also destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche, reducing the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 feet (2,950 m) to 8,365 feet (2,550 m). Stumps of trees toasted in the catastrophy still stand sentinel over lush new growth....



Descending, the air grows damp and ghostly trees emerge eerily from the gloom...



A real contrast to the autumnal colour as we near Battle Ground near the Oregon border....



Oregon's reputation for cycle frienliness gets off to a great start with a purpose built cycle lane splitting a 6 lane highway on the I-205 bridge.