An empty day and our curiosity led us to begin the drive up to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The drive took us over Hoffstadt Creek Bridge which was the western edge of the deadly May 1980 eruption. Our first view of Mount St. Helens was at the Forest Learning Center. It felt crazy being so close to a famous active volcano in the Ring of Fire. We found out that we could get even closer, so we jumped back in the truck.
Closer to the Crater
At stop number one, Elk Point Lookout, the crater side was beginning to show itself. Stop number two, Loowit Lookout, was quite a bit further up the road. It was worth the trek because Mount St. Helens started to feel really close. The closest we could get was at the end of highway 504. The Johnson Ridge Observatory deck offered a direct look into the middle of the crater and we could even see steam coming up from vents in the centre. Even though the visitors centre was closed for the season, and the wind was freezing cold, we still really enjoyed the experience.