Getting to Mt St Helens by itself is fun. The Highway 504 enroute is just perfect – be it bicycle, motorcycle or a casual car drive. It has some sweeping turns and plenty of turn offs at viewpoints to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pacific North West. The drive up takes you to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. A little rustic building filled with history and even more adored with a picture perfect view of the Mt. St. Helens.
The volcanic eruption of the 1980 created a huge crater, losing almost 14% of its elevation and resulting in the flattened top. The debris spurred around for ~250 miles, impacting the entire ecosystem. Even today, after decades, one could still witness the ashes on some part of the wilderness trees. Each element around - the landscape, the deteriorating but majestic trees, the mountain, the fissures of lava – each remind us of the power of nature.
The sun actually sets behind you as you enjoy the mountain view. But this particular evening the light was just magical and it was fire across the sky. Given the vicinity to the visitor center and the concrete paved walkway, it lends itself well for night photography, especially if ur worried to hike up in the dark. It is amazing to view the milky way above St. Helens. Additionally the expansive view also opens up possibilities for some creative panoramas too :)
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