by Margie Goulden
Jeff and I have hiked and backpacked around the Spirit Lake area since 1973. Of course it looks a lot different now than it did before the devastating eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980.
A friend recently recommended we hike to Norway Pass. It was a hot day for a hike through the exposed Mount Saint Helens blast zone. The hike is only 4.5 miles round trip, and a constant gradual incline. According to the hike books, the trail only gains 300 feet of elevation. However, my body believed it was double that.
The trail was lined with wildflowers for the first mile and a half. You could see for miles around, except for the few areas of shade that were more than welcomed. The trail switch-backed above Meta Lake for over a mile while the fireweed, paintbrush and foxglove dotted the hillside.
Arriving at the seemingly insignificant Norway Pass, Jeff had a feeling that he had been here before. On returning home, we found the pre-eruption Mount Saint Helens map and, tracing the trail that we had backpacked 36 years ago, we discovered that we had indeed left our footprints on this very pass.
In 1977 we couldn't see the mountains for the trees; whereas today all three volcanoes (Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens) were splendidly in view and the trees were few and far between.
It was a sobering thought to return to an area that was totally changed by the ravages of Nature. And it was likewise exciting to have been a part of the history of Mount Saint Helens' historical impact in Washington State.
For more information on the Norway Pass hike, go to the Washington Trails Association. For more information on the National Monument, go to Mount Saint Helens National Monument. Also, be sure to check out Jeff's Mount Saint Helens Gallery on Istockphoto.
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Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.