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Author Topic: 25th Anniversary of the Mt. St. Helen's explosion...NW's: any memories?  (Read 2920 times)

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Offline Paschale

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So I heard on the news that it was the 25th anniversary of the explosion out there.  Wondering if anybody on the forum saw it firsthand.  Also, I've enjoyed at every anniversary seeing what's happened to the landscape, and how it's changed and recovered.  Kinda cool!  I hope to visit out there sometime in the next five years or so.
Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline Jeff

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I use that anniversary to keep track of how fast time goes by. Seems like it was only a few years ago ad nhere it is 25. 

We had a log hauler that was hauling out of that area before he came to Michigan. He was telling us how they put nylon stockings over thier air breathers to try to filter out some extra ash. He said many a log truck engine was ruined from the caustic and abrasive ash in the air.
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Offline Gilman

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Which time?  :D

It was something alright! Once is more than enough for me.  If it sits still for the next 1,000 years, that's fine with me.  Forturnately the prevailing winds carried most of the ash to our friends in eastern washington.  

I got to fly over it in a helicopter once, quite a few years ago.  That was really something.  You'd see the matchsticks (trees) lined up perfectly for miles, then all of a sudden on the leeward side of a hill, trees were all standing.  Got to see huge heards of elk too.  The helicopter pilot came down low to get them to stand up for us ;D
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Time sure flies don't it? I can remember that happening and the fellow stranded up there with the camera. I to am surprised at how well the landscape is recovering. I remember it wasn't long after the explosion they showed pictures of the hills that were already becoming green with little trees. Just goes to show ya that mother nature has dealt with catastrophes very well over the melenia. :)
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Offline shopteacher

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I was there the year after she blew. Drove from Spokane to Seattle and the ash was piled up like snow along the road. The state police had big air filters installed on the hood of their cruisers.  I still have a box of ash down the shop that I brought back home with me.  Probably something you only get an opportunity to see once in a lifetime.  I'll be heading back to Spokane and Bremerton this summer to visit my brothers and will get a chance to see what the area looks like 25 years later.
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Offline D._Frederick

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A few weeks after it blew, got up one morning and nothing looked right under a 1/4 inch of ash. It took days for it to get blown away. The ash was on the hay crops and it wear out the mowers and haybalers real bad. It was hard to sell the hay that had been covered in the ash weeks before, even the wheat heads had ash in them.

This spring, have been able to look out the kitchen window and see steam clouds rising from the top of St Helens.

Offline Phorester

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150,000 acres of forest clearcut in a couple minutes.  Probably the biggest clearcut in modern history.

68,000 acres owned by Weyerhauser.  They logged 850,000 bf.  No estimate on how many chainsaws were ruined by all the ash.   Planted Douglas fir on the lower elevations and Noble fir higher up, a total of 45,500 acres replanted with 18.4 million seedlings.

I understand the rest was government land.  No reforestation done there.  They established a National Monument of 110,000 acres.  This includes areas of undamaged old growth forest.

In 1983, 90% of the plant species originally present before the blast had returned.  By 1985, elk and deer had returned to pre-eruption numbers.

Fascinating.
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Offline WoodSmith

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We went to the beach that day at Newport Oregon located on the central Oregon coast. We heard a distant sound and my wife could feel the earth shake. We found out later that day that St Helens had errupted. It was spooky having something that close to you that has so much power behind it.

Offline Dan_Shade

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I saw a news article about the people that had been killed and their survivors suing the gov't.  I was a wee lad when it happened, but still, if I think a volcano's gonna pop, i'm not gonna go hiking around it...

Nature works pretty good if you leave it alone.
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Offline Tillaway

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I grew up near Troutdale east of Portland.  Our house was on a hill and we could see St Helens from the front yard.  I was watching TV inside when one of those emergency broadcasts came on.  I ran out the door to have a good look.  I have that view burned into my brain, pretty spectacular.  You could not hear the explosion in Portland, but you could in Victoria, BC where a friend happened to be during a school band competition.  He said he thought something near the auditorium blew up, come to find it was the mountain.

My wife was living in Othello, WA right under the ash plume where it dropped a big chunk of its load, something like 18" on thier crops at the farm.  Needless to say that year was a bust but the next few years grew great crops.

I remember air filters were a problem.  You could not get any.  Sold out for months after that.  Chainsaws lasted only weeks up in the blast zone, and bars and chains wore even faster.  The equipment with oil bath filters worked the best but paper filters just slowed that stuff down a bit. 

An unsubstanciated rumor I heard about years later was that Weyco moved allot of old equipment into some yards they had in the area in anticipation of it being destroyed and filing an insurance claim on it when it was destroyed.  I never really believed that one but who knows.  My source is very credible, but it seemed a bit far fetched to me.
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Offline Frank_Pender

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We had very slight traces of ash here in Dallas, Oregon, about 75 miles South and West Of Portland.  I was in the classroom and we brought in a TV for the students to watch.  Quite a spectacular showing of Mother Natures powers.  I still have a vile of ash one of my students brought back soon after the explosion.
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Offline Paschale

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Didn't they say that some of the ash actually flew high into the atmosphere, and contributed to spectacular sunsets, even thousands of miles away?
Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline Tillaway

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My first paying nonfarm labor job was cleaning up ash in Portland.  We would hose it off parking lots and scoop it up with shovel and throw it into a dump truck in preparation for seal coating black top.  We heard about how much a vial of it was getting in New York, we thought about getting lost on the way to the dump site and winding up in New York. :o ;D

If you want some there is plenty to be had, the big mounds along I-5 in Washington along the Cowlits river are nothing but ash.  Look for the scotch broom growing out of big piles.
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Offline caryr

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I was in my mid teens at the time and remember shoveling tons of ash off the driveway, sidewalk, road, etc. As I remember we cleared the street for a block up and down from our house trying to keep the dust down. It helped some, but things didn't  really get back to normal until the fall rains came.

I was listening to NPR earlier today and they were talking about how there is still some ash floating around up there. Both the sunrise and sunsets were spectacular for quite some time after each of the eruptions.

Offline beenthere

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There is a webcam set up to take shots of the Mt.St Helens volcano about every 5 minutes (dark out there now) but it's been going since some activity last October.

http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/

I keep it on my favorites and take a look every once in a while to see the build-up of the dome. Earlier today it was not working (of all days!) but it is up now (only dark) and has some interesting info on there about 25 years ago.

Also, there are some archive pics that may be of some interest.

I was working at the time in Portland the week before it blew, and then didn't see it except by air 4 months later.  A friend of mine lost his cabin home along the Tuttle River in the flood of debris.
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Offline sawguy21

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I came out of the house here in Edmonton and my light blue Ford truck was covered in a grey film with large splotches. I had no idea what had caused it until we saw the news at work.
I drove to Eugene a few years ago and was shocked to see the mountain so close to Portland. If it had blown any other way except north east the cities along the interstate would look like Pompeii
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Offline pappy

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Didn't they say that some of the ash actually flew high into the atmosphere, and contributed to spectacular sunsets, even thousands of miles away?


We had just that way up here in northern Maine...  :o  I remember a friend pointing out the ash on the hood of his pickup truck...the sunset that night was very spectacular...  It's also our daughters birthday
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Offline Gilman

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Here's a map of how fortunate most NWer's were.  You can see how uninhabited it is in the blast area.  If it would have turned SW...

The little tear drop is where I currently live.  I was 10 when it blew, I wish I was a bit older so I could remember more of the details like the night time sky.



[left click] your mouse and you can pan the picture around.  The new google maps is just awsome.
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