Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Facing the Volcano

We camped the night before the climb so we could head up early. Mt. St. Helens looms behind base camp.

I've scaled 2 significant mountains in my life. Physically, not metaphorically. The metaphorical mountains number in the double digits. But that's not what this post is about.

In July 1993, Kevin and I bopped over White Pass to tackle Mt. St. Helens. That volcano.

True, true. It was a much shorter climb than before she blew. The trail led us clambering over boulders, squeezing between rocks, and sludging through deep silty sand.

We went with high hopes of summiting the historical mountain. After reading the warnings on the permit (watch out for unexpected steam vents, look for any steam vents, beware of thin crusty areas where you could break through, this is a live, active volcano, and so on and so forth) we almost didn't go. I am so glad we continued our journey to face the volcano.

Climbing included tons (literally) of rocks. Hard, sharp lava rocks. No shade.

It was mostly hot and sunny, though we occasionally (and cautiously) felt our way through clouds of steam (from above mentioned steam vents and the growing lava dome).

Steep slopes were handled by using a climbing stick. And good boots.

From the top crust, we could look down - very carefully, as per permit cautions - and see the very active dome.

Both of us at the top, enjoying some rest and snacks. The angles were such that one felt compelled to crawl or sit down firmly to avoid tipping off the edge.

The crusty edge at the top of Mt. St. Helens. Climbers were warned to not approach the edge as it could be thin. And then - volcano bait.

This girl after the hike. Hot, tired, and ready for real shoes. Dinner that night, whatever it was, tasted excellent.

We both loved the physical and mental challenges of scaling Mt. St. Helens. There was danger, yes, and excitement. Others whipped past us (us going up, them trotting down) in a race. Some moved at a slower pace and were so content. Beautiful views of surrounding mountains - Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood - connected us to the entire mountain range. We felt the pride of accomplishment and the pain of success. Climbing mountains is hard work. But the rewards are immeasurable.

That reminds me of life. It's hard work. But worth every struggle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading this blog!