Mount Saint Helens Journals

Outdoors at a Live Volcano

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A travel journal to Mount Saint Helens by Elli Metz

Ape Cave Photo, Mount Saint Helens, Washington More Photos
Quote: Known mainly for blowing its top in 1981, Mt. St. Helens has a lot more to offer than just ash. From hikes to challenge the most fearless of participants to smooshy bed and breakfasts overlooking what was once devastation, Mt. St. Helens is the perfect place for the outdoor-enthusiast.

Outdoors at a Live Volcano

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Overview

Mt. St. Helens Photo, Mount Saint Helens, Washington
Quote:
You can not miss Lava Canyon. If you see nothing else, see this. If you have more time, Ape Caves are an interesting twist on the traditional hike, and the local town of Cougar can be a great place to pick up ash-made souveniers. Alternatively, if you'd rather go up than down, try your hand at mountain climbing -- if the risk of eruption isn't too high.Quick Tips: Take water. I can't stress this enough. If you forget it, don't go. Much of this parkland is very remote, and if you have problems related to dehydration, you'll be out of luck. Also, make sure to follow precautions when playing in the volcano area. Though the risk of another eruption is low (at least to the...Read More

Silver Lake Visitor's Center

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Attraction

Quote:
Perfect if you've got kids, or just want to know about the volcano itself, is the Silver Lake Visitor's Center, open year-round just past Silver Lake. Silver Lake was, at the time of eruption, much larger than it is now -- it turned to a tree-jammed, muddy pond after the mudflows went through (much like the rest of the region). After the aftereffects subsided somewhat, the lake returned to it's original state, which is relatively clear thanks to the natural springs that feed it. The Visitor's Center has more information than you've ever wanted to know about St. Helens. What it looked like before. What caused the eruption. Film presentations about the eruption. A core sample covere...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Silver Lake Visitor's Center
On St. Route. 504, past Silver Lake
Mount Saint Helens, Washington

Climbing Mount St Helens

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Attraction | "Climbing the Mountain"

Quote:
Once you actually get ON to Mt. St. Helens, the hardest part of your battle is won. There are several trails (including the one we took, the Worm Flows Climbing Route, which is the easiest because I'm a wimp), and any one of them will take you easily to the top with not too much trouble. The mountain lost over 1/3 of its height at the eruption, so four hours should give you plenty of time to go up. The challenge for potential climbers is this: Not only do you have to pay a relatively steep fee to get on the mountain, ($15), but the fee is not a guarantee that you'll be allowed to climb. If the conditions are good -- meaning that there's a low possibility of eruption based on seismic...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Climbing Mount St Helens
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount Saint Helens, Washington

Quote:
If you'd like an easy trail that's wheelchair accessible that takes you over a two thousand year old lava floe, this is the trail for you. After the blast in '81, this whole area was a desolate wasteland. The mudflow took out a centuries-old forest and replaced it with mud and exposed old volcanic rock beneath. This trail takes you through that old forest, and points out through signs and pointers where the new forest is beginning to reassert itself. Do stay on the boardwalk. Not only are there hefty fines, but the small plantlife that's growing again is still very fragile. Your footsteps may do more damage than St. Helens did. One of the really cool things is a tree ca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Trail of Two Forests
Forest Road 8303
Mount Saint Helens, Washington

Ape Cave

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Attraction | "Ape Caves"

Ape Cave Photo, Mount Saint Helens, Washington
Quote:
"Lava tubes" are giant underground conduits that carry molten rock to and from an active volcano. In most cases, these are far underground, and hidden from public view. They are vaguely like veins under the earth's crust, carrying heat and fuel to the volcano's center core. In rare instances, one of these will "dry up" and become a shell of thick rock, still hidden under the earth's surface, accessible only if part of it collapses (as with sinkholes, etc.). Ape Caves are just one such system of lava tubes, made accessible after the eruption in '81. A winding seven-mile stretch of them is able to be traversed; and there are two difficulties available for those who want to try it. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Ape Cave
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount Saint Helens, Washington

Lava Canyon

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Attraction

Lava Canyon Photo, Mount Saint Helens, Washington
Quote:
The stunning views of Lava Canyon are one of the best reasons to put your fear of heights aside and actually take the expert trails here. What was once 100% covered by earth, appearing to be a flat field of meadow like many others around the area, was revealed after the eruption to be an ancient canyon with intricately-carved rock formations that go on for miles. Molten mud streams swept down the mountain on this, the northeast side, and moved away all of the earth, leaving it for its new purpose. It houses a quickly-moving river of glacier runoff, and in recent years has become one of the best little-known hikes in the area. At the trailhead, parks officials have put in a very nice set of conc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2001

Lava Canyon
Forest Road 83
Mount Saint Helens, Washington

About the Writer

Elli Metz

Elli Metz
Norfolk, Nebraska