Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Lava Canyon Revealed

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Thousands of years ago when this volcanic mountain erupted, lava poured down through a narrow gorge.  Water followed, eroding the hardening lava.  But all was covered up by a beautiful forest of trees and ferns.  No one knew what lay beneath.  Until . . .

she blew again in May of 1980.
The eruption was so violent, it loosened mud and boulders and uplifted trees, sending them all down the canyon lying beneath.  Once the ash settled and the mountain silenced, the locals were stunned by the magical landscape that was suddenly revealed:  Lava Canyon.

Over the next three decades, the river and the rain washed away all the mud.  Moss started to form and trees took up new roots.  Clear, icy water now roars down the narrow path, forming rapids and waterfalls.  The water tumbles over and around ancient lava islands.  It is a masterpiece of nature.  Mother Earth's way of apologizing for the havoc she can create.
The l.4 mile loop around this spectacular area is called the Lava Canyon trail and is located to the southeast of Mount St. Helens in Washington.  There are boardwalks, ladder steps and a pedestrian swing bridge that crosses the canyon, making it a very fun hike.  A longer one-way trail goes further up, but it is more difficult.

But please, please, stay on the trail.  Like I said, Mother Nature may be apologetic, but she does not suffer fools gladly.  

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