Mt St Helens

August 18-19, 1984

Our expedition took off on a weekend of good weather and was relatively uneventful till we picked up our last four passengers at Woodland, Washington. We arrived for lunch at Lewis and Clark State Park and then crossed the road to the Mt St Helens visitors center where we were shown two shows on the mountain’s late history and had the opportunity to view the exhibits. Then it was on toward the Cispus Center, but with a stop at Hopkins Hill just west of Morton where with binoculars one could see the dome and look into the center of the crater. We arrived at the Cispus Center at about 4 o’clock and had time for short walks: one down to the mouth of Yellowjacket Creek where it joined the wide glacial melt of the Cispus River, and another hike through the trees lead by our genial host Jim Garner near the center. It was soon time for dinner and our efficient “jump ups” took care of our needs seeing that the food was served and then later there was clean up.

Garner showed the St Helens show that evening and discussed the history of the center which was once a Job Corps camp much like the Malheur, but taken over by the schools of Washington. He also took us through the library and other educational buildings to see the exhibits and materials they used. All kinds of groups use the facilities, but in particular school classes of both primary and secondary levels.

We were up early, got an early breakfast and got away. Some fog was drifting overhead, but the weather cleared so that by the time we reached Bear Meadows we had an excellent view of the green trees in the foreground, the dead trees and then the blown down trees closer to the mountain. We drove by Meta Lake and the Pontiac station wagon that belonged to miners, and went on to Windy Ridge where there is a large parking lot overlooking Spirit Lake and the Mountain. Unfortunately, altho quite close, we could not look directly into the crater, but could get a good view of the mudflow damming the lake, the pumping station operated by the Army Engineers, and the log-covered part of the lake which received its debris by the great waves of water rushing up the opposite hills perhaps 300 feet and thus sweeping logs back into the lake. Some of us climbed a little higher so as to see Mt Rainier and Mt Adams better. The crowd began to arrive as we started out, stopping at Meta Lake and the car which is behind a chainlink fence to protect it. We returned to the highway going south, but stopped for lunch high in the hills next to a huckleberry patch. We had them for dessert.

Muddy River showed the effects of flooding all across the valley bottom near its junction with Lewis River. We turned westward and then took a side road to Ape Cave. This is one of the longest lava tubes in North America, but unfortunately the floor is rough and there are many opportunities to stumble and injure oneself. Therefore, we did not traverse a great distance, but were able to mentally compare it with Oregon’s Lava River tube near Bend. After a brief refreshment stop in Cougar we were off for Woodland were we dropped our four passengers, and then made it to North’s near Tigard for our dinner stop. All seemed well fed and our efficient and pleasant driver, Norman May, saw to it we were at the South Eugene parking lot on the dot of time.

Those attending were Mary Jane Arpin, Neil and Ruth Baldwin, Rita Baxter, Mary Bundy, Sophie Christopher, Opal Clark, Clair Cooley, Virginia DeMers, Leone Ellickson, Irene Flynn, Jan Gund, Bette Hack, Miki Hutchison, Rein Kaarhus, Virginia Kapsa, Gwen Lively, Dean and Pat Patterson, Dorothy Medill, Jan Pattison, Bonnie Rickard, Evelyn Smith, Grace Smith, Dan Smith, Edna Temple, Didier Neron-Bancel, Riggie Hebert, Betty Waddell, Gladys Williams, Lois and Bill Morse, Charlotte Lemon, Mildred Coate, and co-leaders Ewart Baldwin and Bill Eaton.

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