We got a day off from work on Friday, so a buddy and I drove down to explore Mount St. Helens.
I've been to a couple of volcanoes before (1 in Indonesia, 1 in Nicaragua) and Mount St. Helens is pretty different in terms of its vegetation, terrain and soil. I remember the smell of sulphur at those other volcanoes and black soil. In contrast, Mount St. Helens feels more like a regular mountain, even though it erupted pretty recently. Or perhaps it's because we didn't go close enough to the mountain?
At Johnston Ridge Observatory, we listened to a guide talk about the eruptions in 1980 and 2004, and watched a short film at the visitor's center before rambling for half a mile or so on a short hike.
It was an uncharacteristically hot September day, and because of the recent eruption, the surrounding areas were not covered with tall trees. We rambled on the Boundary Trail for about a half-mile before turning back and heading for the cool, air-conditioned comfort of our car. I'd definitely recommend visiting Mount St. Helens on a cooler, cloudier day.