I have been interning at Mount St. Helens this summer. I learned that it is currently wildflower season up there so I begged my best friend to join me and explore the volcano. We had a blast (no pun intended haha) and I learned so much about the volcano and its recovery from the 1980 eruption 🙂
We started the day at the Forest Learning Center. It is a free exhibit about plants and animals and their recovery from the eruption. We decided to skip the Mount St. Helens visitor center (the first stop on 504) because it is where I intern and we were crunched for time. However, if you ever come to the volcano, I suggest stopping by there. It has an exhibit about the history of the volcano that will lay the foundation for everything else you will learn. There is also a movie and a gift shop on site.
The Center has a dedicated room to touching and feeling things. I love it! The things you can feel are not lame fake items either…they have nests, skulls, leaves, tree trunks, prints, and so much more. It is a great room!
The view of Mount St. Helens from the Forest Learning Center
The Forest Learning Center often has Elks in the valley below. Sadly, we could not see any. We looked very hard but there were none. However, we saw a beautiful landscape with so much life and Mount St. Helens in the background!
We continued driving up the road for a bit to the Hummocks Trail, a trail I keep hearing about at the internship. It is one that the information desk constantly recommends, so I had high expectations.
This trail is made from the rock from the northern flank (the side that slid off in the 1980 eruption). You essentially are walking on the old rock that was once on the volcano!
View of Mount St. Helens at the Boundry Trail Junction (0.5 mi into the Hummocks Trail)
There were many wildflowers but none with a good view of the volcano in the background.
We also walked through many ponds created by the eruption. It was so amazing to see how everything regrew and flourish after something so devastating.
The Hummocks Trail took forever! Haha it was only like 2 hours but it was hot! I was so happy when we finally reached the car! The trail was pretty. I am glad I went on it but it was nothing like I expected. I heard so many recommendations that I thought it would be out of the world. It was ok…I have no regrets but I was hoping for more a different picture.
The point of me going on the Hummocks Trail was to take pictures of the wildflowers and Mount St. Helens, however, there were none on the trails. I was very disappointed. We decided to continue driving up the road and a couple of miles up…BAM!…so many wildflowers! Everything I wanted…
View of Mount St. Helens from Johnston Ridge Observatory
On our way back, we decided to stop at Kid Valley. The town had a Bigfoot statue! We thought it was pretty cool!
Bigfoot was ginormous! I love him!
We also decided to drop in the gift shop near the statue. They were really Bigfoot-obsessed! There were footprints of him and a journal with stories from visitors about their encounter with him. It was so awesome! The shop also had a lot of huckleberry-flavored items, like licorice and chocolate. I liked none.
It was a short little trip but definitely, a day well spent. I learned so much more about the 1980 eruption and how the volcano recovered from it. Looking at it now, you would not know an enormous eruption happened 37 years ago. There is so much life! Nature really recovered. To learn more about the 1980 eruption, visit the USGS website. It is truly an amazing story.
The trip was so much fun though! I think I laughed the entire day away. If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend Mount St. Helens (even if I am a little biased). Have you ever been to a volcano? Do you live near one?
Check out these posts: