Mount St. Helens
The day began early with a departure from Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands. We took the Washington State Ferry from Friday Harbor to Anacortes. It was a short stint lasting one hour. From Anacortes we reunited with Michael, the bus driver, and the tour bus. We journeyed about 2 hours to Seattle/Tacoma.
On the way we had a brief rest stop at the Smokey Point rest stop.
Back in Tacoma
Upon arrival at Tacoma, we were right across the street from where we were on Wednesday. This time, we spent time dining for lunch at harmon brewery. On the same block was a really cool thrift shop and a store front location of Tacoma School of Arts.
We left Tacoma and headed toward Mt. St. Helens. Before ascending the mountain, we stopped near Toutle and Castle Rock. We picked up geologist Joe Couture who boarded the bus and gave a minute by minute recounting of events on May 18, 1980 when Mt. St. Helens errupted.
Along the way we saw downed trees and charred trees. We also so evidence of a new growth forest — a forest where all trees are about the same age and about the same height.
Learning the details
On the bus, the geologist played the actual 911 tapes from the fateful day. He also gave riveting statistics of events
- The eruption began around 830 am and lasted for 9 hours
- The blast was the force of 500 atomic bombs
- Everything from mile post 20 (near Toutle) up was the point of no return
- The town of Maple Valley no longer exists
- 185 miles of road was destroyed
- Heat wave was 600 degrees traveling at 100 mph
- For 20 miles trees were knocked down
- Enough trees were knocked down to build 150,000 three bedroom homes