Randle, Washington

Marian writes

Randle sits in the valley between Mount St. Helen and Mount Rainier. In fact, in one area we could also see Mount Adams and Mount Hood in Oregon . All of them are part of The Ring Of Fire and could become active at any time. Amazing!

We heard the mountains are usually cloud covered but we enjoyed a clear bright day as we drove up the narrow bumpy road for a view of Mount Saint Helen and the aftermath of the devastating volcano eruption that took place  1980.

All the snowcapped peaks fill my soul with joy and wonder at God’s handiwork. But Mount Saint Helen was different. As I walk over for my first view of the famous mountain I felt awed in her presence. She was sleekly radiant. I was compelled to pause, as if the moment was a treasure in time that I dare not miss. A reverent awe ran through me. Her authority reigned so powerfully a holy hush held me captive.

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This was my introduction. I had no idea what we were about to learn and see next.

Pictures were displayed that must have been taken at the spot where I stood. The story said the photographer wanted to get photos when she erupted. With his camera in hand he had his back to the scene. His son shouted that the wall was going down. The man turned as the eruption blasted toward him. They ran to the car with the camera clicking as they tried to get away. Thirty pictures later they were weaving their way down the mountain as mud balls plumeted the window and everything went totally black. They didn’t know if they would survive. The information said his pictures were the only documented source of the volcanos eruption.

And so the magnificent walls of rock continue to smoke as if warning us to never try to get too close. She has spewed her fury four times since blowing 1300 feet of her top off and is currently quietly active.

Windy Point was as close as we could drive to the top. This spot overlooked Spirit Lake which still shows the results of the eruptions devastation. Before 1980 the lake was a nice vacation spot.

When the volcano erupted a lateral blast traveling more than 300 mph. In 40 seconds it shot five and half miles across the valley destroying everything. Its power was compared to several atomic blasts. The lake water rose like an 800 foot tidal wave. When the water came down, the trees that had blown down like toothpicks were flushed into the valley with the mountain’s rock. The surge destroyed bridges, and covering the roads and everything with sludge and rock. The landscape doesn’t look anything like it once did and the giant dead trees still remain in the water. The white on the lake in the pictures is the huge log jam that still remains. The stream’s water looks like gray cement.

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Two mountain ridges away the blast left the downed trees in this picture.

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We took a second day to go back to the park to see the west side where the Observatory gave us more insight. That area took the brunt of the destruction, but now the road was in great shape, the bridges had been built high above the valley since 1990, and a whole new forest was replanted in 1983. Wild flowers flourish.

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Because of the research that has taken place since the eruption scientist have been able to help other countries know when to evacuate people. They now recognize different structures of volcanos. Some have lava flow and others blast rock, ice, etc.

We stood at a viewing area hearing stories from a volunteer worker who had set up a telescope so we could see a herd of elk so far below us we couldn’t see them any other way. They were a fitting picture as we left the area. Through all the devastation life can return. Even though the whole landscape was different the animals found their way home.

Traveling Blessed USA

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