Friday, May 17, 2013

Gods Big Show

 Mount Saint Helen's was always my favorite mountain in the Cascade mountain range. She had the perfect ice cream shaped top.

On May 17th 1980 Mom and Dad left our house in Portland Oregon for a vacation in Yellowstone National Park. They drove as far as Missoula Montana the first day. As they were getting ready to leave their friends house They air was black with Ash. Mom and Dad made the decision to continue their vacation. They were able to drive out of the ash cloud and have a wonderful vacation.    
 I was awakened at 8:32 Sunday Morning May 18th to a dull thud. The radio and television was broadcasting some information, about Mount Saint Helen's had erupted. This was before instant everything so there were no images for several hours. We did not know that Mom & Dad had encountered anything at all until they returned the following Sunday. in Portland it was just a normal Sunday. We did not have any ash at all.
My sister was living in a house on a small hill, her front window had a perfect view of the mountain. I drove over to her house to watch the show.      

Sunday May 25th 1980 the mountain had a second eruption. This time the wind blew west and drove the ash into Portland. Eastern Oregon had severe ash clouds on the 25th. This also happened to be the day that Mom and Dad were coming home from vacation. They had a week of beautiful blue skies book ended with an ash cloud.         

 Some time in June I along with my Mom and Dad went up into some of the communities was were in the path of the mud flows. It was something that I had never seen before or since. Barns completely buried in mud, trees flattened small towns just gone. if anyone was living in the northwest in 1980 they would know who Harry Truman was. Harry was a grumpy old man that ran the Spirit Lake Lodge. I was only at his lodge once in the early 70's but it was a spectacular old resort as I recall. I was very young and on a vacation with my best friend. Mr. Truman along with 56 others died that day. Mr Truman did not want to leave the area where his wife was buried or his beloved lodge.  


  1. My brother and sister-in-law lived up north then and they still talk about all the ash in the air. Great post and photos Dave!

  2. I have never seen these photos of the eruption/explosion. These are historic and should be available to researchers or museums for further study.

    1. The before photo as well as the explosion photo are from the USGS web site. I realized I forgot to give them credit.


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