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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wet Noodle Posse Sighting at Mt St Helens!

"I'd climb a steaming active volcano for the Wet Noodle Posse."

Well, maybe not. How about "I'll look into the crater of a steaming volcano for the Wet Noodle Posse"?

That's me in my new chocolate-and-mint Wet Noodle Posse T Shirt, with my favorite steamy volcano behind me. My son and grandson went with me, and we made a fabulous day of it. At the glass blowers shop at Hoffstadt Center, I added to my collection of Mt. St. Helens Christmas ornaments, then we moved on to Coldwater Creek Center and then Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Although we can see Mt. St. Helens from the deck of our house, getting there is a long, long road. We've made many trips to the mountain, the first being exactly one week before the May 18, 1980 eruption. We were supposed to go on the 18th, but decided for some reason to go a week early. I don't know why, other than that the rumblings and bulges were getting ominous, and I wanted to see it before something happened. We were right down in the river bed where the mudflow killed so many people the following week, and my son went up on Elk Rock where pyroclastic flows swept people into oblivion. True, we wouldn't have been there so early in the morning because it's quite a long drive from Olympia, where we lived then. But it gives us shivers thinking about it anyway.
Here's the guys at Johnston Ridge, seven and a half miles from the crater. This ridge was swept by the landslide and pyroclastic flow, leaving nothing standing. Dr. David Johnston was on the ridge and gave the first report to the world. "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" The world never saw him again.

Four years after the volcano blew, we were some of the earliest groups of people allowed to drive up to Hurricane Ridge to the east of the mountain. The ash was still choking thick where it was stirred up by the one-way line of traffic, and not a thing grew or blossomed in foot-thick ash. It was a world of gray upon gray, devastation beyond belief. Today, the trees have been growing for nearly a quarter century. Wildflowers add bright color to the desert-like soil. Ground squirrels beg for nuts the forest rangers beg us not to give them. Magnificence and beauty are returning. But it could all change again tomorrow.

Why do I love the mountain so much? I don't know. I don't want to pretend the mountain is some sort of deity. It's not a living being, as some people seemed to feel. But I think its dynamics mirror life. Life can look so completely desolate, devastated. And then things keep changing. Life renews itself, and beauty and happiness return.

Can't think of an analogy for glass Christmas ornaments, though.

Hey, anyone else have any Wet Noodle Posse sightings to show us?


At 12:27 PM, Blogger Charity said...


These are great pictures. My dad spent many years around Mount St. Helens. I know when it erupted, he was shocked and saddened by losing, in a way, a big piece of his childhood.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

I loved your analogy. Back in 1992 we started to drive to Mt. Saint Helen's on our way to Port Angeles, but we didn't realize how long it would take. So we just took a picture from a distance and turned around. I do have a pitcher made out of ash from the mountain. I also have a little jar of ash that my mom saved from the ash that blew all the way to Spokane.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I saw Mt. St. Helens years ago, when it still looked like a lunar landscape. It's good to see things are recovering. How creepy that you were there so close to the blast.

Great pictures and post!

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Beautiful pictures, Delle. I aim to get to Mt. St. Helen's one of these days.


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