May 18th was Mt. St. Helensâ€™ 26th anniversary since the last big eruption. To celebrate, all of the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Centers were open with free admission to the public. Jon was planning a trip and he invited me to go along. There were 22 of us total and we had an awesome day! Can you believe Iâ€™ve never been past Silver Lake on State Route 504 before? People come from all over the world to visit these Visitor Centers and Observatories and I live right here and have never visited them.
First stop was the Silver Lake Visitor Center where we enjoyed our first view of the mountain, various displays, and a movie about volcanoes. I read about skiers who were hoping to build a ski area on Mt. St. Helens (before the eruption), but gave up the idea due to avalanche dangers. I also read about Ed Robbins (Quentinâ€™s uncle?) who packed supplies in to settlers on the south side of Mt. St. Helens. They also had a display where you could walk down under a volcano display and see the different layers of rock and how the magma comes up from the center of the earth. We also watched a movie about volcanoes of North America.
By this time it was getting close to lunch time, so we had a picnic outside the Visitor Center.
Next we headed up to the Seven Wonders museum, a creation scientist museum. There we learned how canyons (and other features that we are told take millions of years to form) can actually form in a very short time. In 1980, Mt. St. Helens demonstrated how quickly God can make changes in His creation.
After that it was starting to get late so we headed straight to Johnston Ridge Observatory. This is the closest Visitor Center to the mountain and we had great views inside the crater where we could see the new lava dome emitting steam. Here we also enjoyed a very life-like movie of the 1980 eruption â€“ how powerful and deadly volcanoes can be! The children got papers and began doing research to become â€œJunior Rangers.â€
Fourth stop was Coldwater Ridge Observatory where we listened to a ranger talk and enjoyed views of Coldwater Lake and the mountain. There were more displays and the children completed their Junior Ranger program. They all earned badges, a free ice cream cone, a small glass animal from the gift shop, and more.
By now it was dinner time so we drove down to Coldwater Lake for another picnic. After dinner we had a fun game of tag in the empty parking lot â€“ I think I need to run more often! We then sat around and enjoyed the evening next to Coldwater Lake before heading for home.
We only made it about a mile before we saw a herd of elk. We stopped and looked at them through binoculars for a half hour or so. The sun was starting to go down which made for some good photo opportunities. We made it home around 10:30 p.m. It was a wonderful day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you Jon for inviting me! Click here for more pictures.