Day 65: St. Helen, mistress of destruction


DAY 65: Chehalis, Washington
Miles traveled: 8,762
States visited: 22 (just added: Washington)
Weather: 75, sunny

I wonder why we’re so fascinated with devastation and destruction. I wondered this when I was in New Orleans and saw “Katrina destruction tours.” I didn’t take the tour but I admit I was curious to see the areas that were hit. And I wondered this again as I visited Mount St. Helens yesterday.


This is the volcano in Washington that erupted in 1980, killed 57 people and destroyed miles of forest. It’s now a national park and you can drive to a viewing point just 5 miles from the center of the volcano. This is significant because when the blast happened, it affected land as far as 20 miles away. Which means that if St. Helens ever erupts again, the hundreds of tourists visiting this site will be blown to bits. It’s only a matter of time!

There was snow on the ground on the way up the hill. It’s the 5th time I’ve seen snow on this trip, and the first time I’ve ever seen it in June.


It was fascinating reading the tales of people who were in the area at the time of the explosion. Some made it out but a lot didn’t.

Amazingly, you can still see a lot of the trees that were knocked down and killed due to the explosion, because some areas of the forest haven’t been re-planted. It’s hard to believe that these trees have been lying there for 29 years, but it’s true. Only small shrubs have grown back in. If you need a devastation fix, I highly recommend a visit here.


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