Jolyn and Tom are friends from Baja. You’ve met them here before. Tom plays mandolin and Jolyn paints. She also teaches art to the kids we work with in Mexico. A month ago Jolyn emailed and asked if we could fit in a garage remodel for her in Seattle. Our other summer job is having trouble getting its act together so we gladly took the I-5 north and parked in Jolyn and Tom’s yard to turn her garage into a painting studio.
On the way to Seattle is Mount Saint Helens. In 2010 the Gypsy Carpenters headed west and Mount Saint Helens was our furthest point north on the West coast. It was winter and the road to view spot near the top of the volcano was closed. It was so cold we hadn’t even put water in the trailer yet. December was our shakedown month. I guess it was really our shakedown year. Now it seems normal to live in this gNash but back then everything was a learning experience. The excursion to the iconic mountain got the merest of mentions. HERE is the post. In it I mention only wanting togo on trips if Harriet was present. I think I can’t even keep up with Harriet now.
This time around it was a bluebird summer day full of sky and wildflowers. In contrast to last month’s Mount Vesuvius visit, Mount Saint Helens was full of interpretive information. There’s even a seismograph that captures the gurgling earth below our feet. The eruption in 1980 was memorable TV viewing on the east coast but nothing like the experience my western friends had. All of them remember the day the ash came down. It is one of those collective memories they all share. Some people still have bottles of the ash they collected. If you’re in the area it’s worth the 50 mile side trip off I-5 to get to the visitor’s center. The magnitude of the blast is visceral in person. Unlike Vesuvius where all the damage has been concealed by hundreds of years (thousands, really) of geology and human development, the new landscape in the Cascades has hardly been changed in over thirty years. You can see the snapped trees and 600′ of ash and the denuded landscape. People and building and RVs have never been found. Many of the missing were scientists studying the volcano as she roared to life. Heroic people just doing there jobs.
The night after we visited and jumped around making the seismograph move an rather large earthquake hit Montana. Things have been rocking and rolling up there ever since. Do you think there’s some connection between us at Mount Saint Helens and Helena, Montana getting rolled? Don’t test me.