7/19/2008

07-19-08 - 2

Mt. St. Helens was totally worth the side trip. We got a late start so just went down the 5 and took the detour over to the front side. The scenery all around it is very weird. First it's all private Weyerhauser land on the way up where they grow trees and clear cut. There are huge forests of trees that are all exactly identical. We don't realize when we see a normal forest, it's all broken up with variation. These forests are full of trees all exactly the same time, the same age, and they grew up in the same lighting environment so they grew their branches the same way. It looks fake, it looks really geometrical, it looks like a bad videogame where someone just duplicated one tree model all over the hillside. Then you get closer to the blast, and the river valley below the mountain is like a sea of ash; it's still all gray, and the river has cut a new very young channel through the soft debris. There are tons of wildflowers of many varieties, taking advantage of all the open sunlight since the land is still unforested. Of course the big mountain towers over the landscape, a huge chunk blown out of it. I thought it looks like a mound of mashed potatos, you know when you dig a hole in your potatos and fill it with gravy, and then the gravy busts out one side and flows out, leaving you with like a horseshoe crater.

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