Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

posted in: Family Getaways | 20

In 1980 this beautiful mountain blew its top off. There were some small earthquakes before the eruption. A bulge started to grow because the magma was moving. Then a landslide occurred and the volcano exploded sending ashes everywhere. The towns nearby were covered in ash. This volcano known as a composite volcano contains silica and silica makes the lava sticky which means that the lava wants to stay together. This eruption is kind of like a soda that you shake up. Composite volcanoes make up 60% of all volcanoes.

We were able to see this beautiful mountain 37 later after the eruption. Much has changed and we saw lots of new growth. This is one National Park you would not want to miss especially if you love volcanoes.


Johnston Ridge Observatory


We believe that this is the best place to start when exploring this park because you get to really understand what this park is all about. We really appreciated that they showed a 16 minute video showing the volcanic eruption  which occurred on May 18,1980. From the observation deck you get a great view of the volcanic mountain. We took the interpretive trail and really got a sense of what that eruption did to Mount St. Helen. There are before and after pictures of the mountain. As we stood directly in front of the mountain we realized the magnitude of the explosion eruptions. The evidence can be seen in the massive old growth tree trunks which seem as if they had just snapped off and flew away. This made us think that if we were standing here at the time of eruption we would have no chance to survive it. Another thing that made us stop and ponder for a little is the concreate plank in memory of those who passed. We did not pass by until every we read every name. We realized that if this eruption happened near a big city the list would have been a whole lot longer.






Clear Water Lake


It is very unusual and neat to see a lake that is younger than my husband. This lake made us realize that no matter how big the disaster is or how much devastation it will inflict on the surrounding area we can be sure of two things: nature will restore itself and it will create something new and wonderful so that generations upon generations can be able to enjoy. The only thing we had wished we brought with us was our canoe. This was very nicely pointed out by our six year old who said, “Hey, we forgot to bring our canoe.”




Forest Learning Center


On the way up to Mount St. Helen you can not help and notice all the new growth which look so fresh and green. What you don’t see is what is underneath that beautiful fresh green cover. This center has a great trail which takes you through the fresh forest that grew around great tree trunks which are now missing their tops. You will also see giant trees on the ground but you cant always tell where they have come from or where their trunks are. The beautiful thing is that their is so much new growth here. These trees are rising to towards the sunlight and are taking the place of the fallen giants.





If your exploring Mt. St. Helen Volcanic National Monument you might have a tough time finding a place to stay over night at. We were lucky enough to have stumbled upon a small Washington state park with a cool yurt village where you could stay in a yurt that can sleep up to six people for a really reasonable price. The location of the village is exactly what you would expect to find in Washington. It is among an old grove forest which surrounds you with beautiful greenery and gives you plenty of shade anytime of the day. There is plenty of trails that take you into the woods which are breathtaking.



Hands on Learning


After visiting Mount St. Helens we decided to learn all about a composite volcano. We made a volcano model which might have not been as successful as we would hope but it did work. We placed a plastic bag so it looked like dust or smoke and we think the plastic zip lock bag just interfered with the whole experiment. Watch the video below to learn more.





While visiting Mt. St. Helens we learned about Harry Randall Truman who was 83 years old. He refused to vacate his home which was located near Mt. St. Helens because he said that his wife and him vowed to never leave Spirit Lake. He was never found after Mt. St. Helens blew his top off. Today we went to clean our first home which we lived in for over 10 years. It was like our baby because we put so much love and energy into it. We rent it out and our renters moved out so we had to go clean up. It is a small home and even though we live in a larger home and a home that is considered nicer we had so many memories in our first home. We had so many prayers held in that home from blessing our home prayer,  youth group prayers on Friday, missionary prayers, and our dear friends John and Consuela came once a week to pray with us. When we first moved I cried for about a year because change is hard and city and country life is so different. Now we love where we live but today my sweet sister, dad, and mom came to help us clean up and we remembered some sweet memories we shared in my first home. So I got to thinking why don’t people evacuate when they are told? Isn’t home where your family is? We learned that some don’t evacuate because they don’t believe it will be as bad as they predict, some stay behind to protect their homes from looters or damage, and then there are those who can’t afford to evacuate because they don’t have the money for gas, food, or rent. Would you evacuate if you were told to? Why do homes or places hold a special place in our hearts?


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20 Responses

  1. Such gorgeous pictures! And what amazing memories you will all share together!

  2. What a fun family trip! I enjoyed the pics and I’d love to see Mount St. Helens!!

  3. It looks like y’all had an excellent adventure. I love taking my kids on trips like this where they can learn and really experience life.

  4. Akim R.

    That place should be on our family’s bucket list! Hope we can go there soon.

  5. I always love you’re pictures!! This is such a beautiful place to visit. Perhaps one day my family will make it out that way….I also wanted to add, I love how you weave homeschool lessons into your adventures!

  6. Kristina

    This is beautiful! The only mountains I’ve seen is in colorado and I’ve never seen a volcano but this is gorgeous!! I’d love to plan a family trip here!

  7. Mt St Helen is on my list of places to visit! Your picutres and the clouds are so awesome. Also I love how you worded finding a lake younger than your husband 🙂

  8. What a great learning experience to see the volcano in real life and then make your own. My kids have made one before and loved it.

  9. I guess it holds a special place in our hearts because we’ve gone through so much while we lived in a place. It’s definitely tough to let go, especially with all those memories. It looks like you had a productive stay there and it’s good to learn while the kids explore.

  10. Those pictures are beautiful. I’ve never been to Mount St. Helen. It is really humbling to think about the power of mother nature.

  11. We visited here 5 years ago and our pictures in front of the mountain look like yours too!!

  12. TColeman

    This looks like such an amazing trip and time together. Especially when you get to relive some memories together!

  13. Jeanine

    Amazing! Such gorgeous photos. I’ve never seen anything so spectacular in person. Would love to some day. So pretty.

  14. What a lovely experience and gorgeous pictures! I definitely want to visit there someday with my family.

  15. What a beautiful place to visit. Photos are gorgeous too, what a great family trip!

  16. I remember seeing Mt. St. Helen’s from an airplane when I was a kid. It had recently erupted so you could still some of the smoke coming from it. Even though I was really little, I still remember it to this day.

  17. That is so awesome! I would love to visit here someday! Sounds like your family had a blast.

  18. My daughters would absolutely love this! In college I remember taking a natural disasters science class and learning about Mount St. Helens. This would definitely be a fun and educational visit for our family!

  19. Katherine

    It’s been quite awhile since I’ve been to that part of the country. It certainly is gorgeous. You’re family is lucky.

  20. This place looks like a beautiful place to visit! Your pictures are so beautiful! This would be a great family trip! We definitely need to add this to our bucket list!

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