The western side of Mount Saint Helens as seen from the Visitor Center at Silver Lake, 46 road-miles away.
From a viewpoint on the north-northwest side.
Clouds covered the upper half of the volcano for the entire afternoon with an occasional break, which briefly revealed the peaks. This, and the remaining photos were taken from the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Named for David A. Johnston, a volcanologist on duty nearby on that fateful day. His last words were “Vancouver, this is it!”
The lateral blast exploded to the north toward what is now Johnston Ridge and, quite literally, destroyed everything in its path.
The mountains and valleys were tall old-growth forest. Now all that remains are a few denuded logs lying about like pick-up-sticks.
“Within a minute, I was struck and scoured by the stone-filled wind. My bark and branches were stripped and scattered toward the edge of the blast zone, 17 miles away. As trees that had stood for hundreds of years crashed around me, my upper trunk strained, then shattered in the nearly 700 mph winds. Only a small part of me remains as evidence of the blast's power.”
Down in the valley, the blast dumped 680 feet of debris, filling Spirit Lake to the east with logs and ash.
Johnston Ridge was completely denuded. Spirit Lake lies beneath the far ridge at left-center and St. Helens rises up from the valley on the right.
The early evening light emphasizes the ridges and the gulleys now being carved out by the flow of water.
Another view of cloud shrouded St. Helens from Johnston Ridge in the early evening. All photos were taken on Sunday, September 12th.
The Johnston Ridge Observatory, which is 5 ½ miles from the crater, has some really nice exhibits as well as a 16-minute movie about St. Helens. If you've never been there, it is well worth the 60-mile drive off of Interstate 5 on State Road 504.
A couple of the many websites about Mount St. Helens: