Yesterday was another day full of incredible sites and hikes…Mount St. Helens. On the 18th of May, 1980 Louise, the 3 girls, (Mikleane, Leslee, & Joelle) and I, were visiting some great friends (the Ostrems) in Vancouver Washington. After we dug ourselves out of bed and sat having breakfast, we heard over their TV that Mt St. Helens had erupted. We had met Leroy and Linda in 1969 when we had moved to that neighborhood, and one thing that we all enjoyed was the incredible view of that “snow cone” Mount St. Helens. Now we were standing out in their front yard in stark amazement watching the gray ash and smoke rise high into the stratosphere. We hadn’t heard a thing when the mountain slid away, but now watching the lightning come out of the rising cloud of dust, the indescribable feelings, and the reality setting in that we wouldn’t see this mountain, that we had known for so many years, the same way again. Now we are driving the winding and twisting road to get as close as we can to the crater that was left behind. With a few stops to see the different views of St Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt Adams we continue to our goal…”Windy Ridge” viewpoint. Let me tell you, Windy Ridge is well named (we’ve been here before), but today it is just a tamed breeze which we welcomed. Our first hike is almost straight up. They have built these steps into the side of a hill to give us a great view point of the crater. Unfortunately, like so many mountains, when the weather has made up it’s mind to have a cloud cover over the critical part of the mountain, there is nothing you can do but enjoy what you have. There is a trail that we took that ended up splitting up into 2 others just about half way up slide area.