On May 18 1980 Mount St Helens erupted. The spot where I’m standing to take this picture is about 5 1/2 miles from the center of the crater. This entire area was covered in ash and rocks. Huge swaths of land were destroyed as the side of the mountain tore through the area.
When it was all over fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. The mountain was over 1,300 feet shorter than before the eruption.
Today it’s a peaceful idyllic place that tourists flock to. There is still evidence of the devastation everywhere, but life has continued on. What’s eery is that just behind where this picture was taken there is a sign that warns about falling ash and the park employees will tell you that the steam that’s coming out of the crater is a very good thing. If it stops, see, that’s a problem. That’s comforting!