Living in the Pacific Northwest gives many an opportunity to see sights they wouldn’t normally see anywhere else. I’m from Missouri, a state known for being the “Show Me” state, where the tallest point is what I see as a hill called Taum Sauk Mountain. My husband, who grew up the son of a Coastie, has lived in various places like Buffalo, Green Bay, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all three known for their cold winters and their proximity to the Great Lakes. We have lived in almost every corner of the country, and driven through most of the states, but never have we lived in a place where some of the best sights were local mountain ranges. Not hills like Taum Sauk Mountain, but the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges that are home to volcanoes such as Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.
Mount St. Helens is particularly famous for its eruption 37 years ago which spewed ash for many a mile, caused massive destruction, and claimed lives. It is a majestic volcano, and due to the eruption, the most unique looking one. Many still live in its shadow on sprawling farms with a marvelous view. But for those like us, who live a little farther out, we have to travel to see it.
Soon, we will be leaving the Pacific Northwest, and making a cross-country trek to Maryland. Every remaining moment here is fleeting for us. The last trip to the Tacoma waterfront, the last view of Mount Rainier at sunset, and last weekend, we took what will be our last trip to see Mount St. Helens. I had seen it a few years back, but hadn’t since, and my husband and children had never seen it, so we buckled them up, filled up their bellies, and brought them along (I also wanted to test a long trip with two kids in the back to see what my drive will be like going across the country – should be interesting). We traveled towards the Carl Johnston ridge, about 4K in elevation, came around a curve, and there she was – front and center – a phenomenal view of such a dangerous, but beautiful feature. The weather was good, albeit it a bit windy, and it was getting close to sunset, so we stayed only a few minutes to gaze at her for the last time.
What I love about photography the most is that it catches those fleeting moments, and preserves them. It freezes them, and you can always look back fondly on the memories captured. Though we may never see Mount St. Helens or the Pacific Northwest again, I have these photos to always remember these special moments and beautiful places, and to feel lucky that as a simple girl from Missouri, I was able to visit them. Mount St. Helens, you are truly divine.