In “Remember the Volcano,” I share the story of my first Mt. St. Helens blast area visit. Here are a pair of the photo comparisons of the same locations. The older photos were taken in 1983 and the recent photos in 2009, all by Jerry Shrock. Notice the growth after 26 years.

"1983 blast zone with Mt Adams"

"2009 blast zone with Mt Adams"

The above photos look eastward at Mt. Adams where the 2009 photo is from a lower vantage point. In 1983, there was a stand serving hot-dogs and cool drinks for those hiking up the unfinished road to view the volcano. Now there is a paved parking area. Bring your own hot-dogs.

"1983 blast zone road"

"2009 blast zone road"

These photos were taken along Road 99 seen as a black ribbon in the above photos. The road continues to the left passing this viewpoint on the way to Windy Ridge.

I recall my mother stating it would take twenty years for the land to recover. That seems like a very long time to a ten year-old. Looking back, the passing years seem like a brief moment. The forest agrees. Nearly thirty years after the blast, new growth follows the creeks, while the ridges appear much the same. Loggers cleared many areas, but left some sections untouched for nature to take care of all on her own.

When visiting Mt. St. Helens bring hiking gear, camera, and curiosity. And hot-dogs. Please visit Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website for more information.