Natural Highs

Looking into the Crater - Shannon's First Summit

The crater of Mt. St. Helens.

In July I did something I never thought was possible for me — climbed a mountain, or more accurately an active volcano: Mt. Saint Helens. I expected to be happy about the achievement, proud of myself for doing it, but I never expected to be caught speechless and awestruck looking into the crater.

It was a tough but not technical 5 mile hike to the rim. A couple of miles of hiking through a young douglas fir forest, then a couple of miles over the lavafield of boulders and a final mile up the ashfield left by the 1980 eruption.

Just as we summited, an avalanche of boulders crashed down one side of the lava dome. It sounded like the roar of a jet flying just overhead. Steam was escaping from the crags. It was like looking at the beginnings of the earth — the creation of land.

I’ve never experienced anything like it and can absolutely understand how some people get hooked on climbing mountains.

(A few more of my photos are here. Lots of photos, including a 360 degree movie taken by friend and fellow climber Kerstin are here. )

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