Since a few people have asked about pictures from our trip last week, I dug through to see what we actually managed to photograph. Here's the best of the bunch:
This first picture is from the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. We stopped to have lunch there and opted not to take a helicopter tour (although it sounded cool!). But if you look, you can see where the vegetation still isn't - down there in the valley - the lava cut a mighty swath through there 28 years ago and the devastation was still clearly visible.
We then went up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory and got far closer than I ever thought possible. I think of the title of this photo as "Are you taking the picture yet? It's 90+ degrees out here and we may pass out from heat exhaustion if you don't hurry up!" I love my husband and all of his quirks - one of which is the apparent inability to give me any warning about when he's going to take a picture. The result is that I often look confused about where I am.
Finally, a shot of the volcano (we call it Mt. St. Helens and I think of it as a mountain but it is a very active volcano after all!). The last few years have been quite active. In late 2004 an earthquake(s) triggered some lava flow and it was only in early 2008 that the new lava dome stopped growing. Get this: "From October 2004 to late January 2008, about 125 million cubic yards of lava had erupted onto the crater floor to form a new dome—enough to pave seven highway lanes three feet thick from New York City to Portland, Oregon." Can you even believe that? For more details, read here.