Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Birth of a Lake

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

As I continue to write about this fascinating park, I realize how lucky I am to live within close proximity to it.  It means I can explore this area thoroughly.  A weekend here.  A weekend there.  Which brings me to another topic:  When time is limited, how do we decide where to go?  I've read many articles written by fellow travel writers and we all suffer from the same quandary.  How many times have I read:   I went to Peru to see Machu Picchu but I enjoyed Sacsahuamon more.

 Does that mean we should skip Machu Picchu?

The answer, of course, is "No".  How can you go to Peru and not see Machu Picchu?  And how can you go to Mount St. Helens and not go up to the Blast Zone?

I tend to see the highlights first, and if time allows, visit the more off-the-radar places.   But I'm starting to think that I should reverse this strategy.  While the blast zone trails were overrun by tourists, we had this trail along the shore of Coldwater Lake completely to ourselves.  And I enjoyed it so much more.
Mount St. Helens can be seen in the distance.  It was the volcano's eruption in 1980 that caused this lake to form.  A mixture of water, ash, dirt, trees and rock tumbled down the South Coldwater Creek and ended up here.  Although at first, the lake was a soupy, smelly mixture of brown crud, oxygen-gulping bacteria immediately went to work.  Within three years, these microorganisms had created this pristine gem of a lake.

Along the Birth of a Lake Trail, interpretive signs explain this scientific process in detail.  But it was the quiet beauty of the place that stunned me.  To think I almost drove by without stopping!


It's the detours where magic is found!

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