Sunday, July 18, 2021
Mt. St. Helens is a great place to take an out-of-town visitor, so we headed up that way today.
Johnston Ridge Observatory is still closed because of the pandemic so we weren’t able to go in, but the mountain was on full display for the hike to Harry’s Ridge.
Looking back at the visitor center (far right):
Even after 41 years the trees have not grown back, so the views are far-reaching on this hike:
Looking towards Coldwater Peak:
We thought the wildflowers would have been toasted by the heat wave a few weeks ago, so we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few in bloom along the trail:
We started encountering a lot of trail runners heading in the other direction. There was a trail race happening that day, unfortunately, and our progress was greatly slowed by having to step aside every 30 seconds for another trail runner
We finally reached the junction with the spur to Harry’s Ridge and left the trail runners behind:
We were pleasantly surprised to find hundreds of ripe wild strawberries along the trail. Yum!
We reached the top where there is some kind of weather station or volcanic monitoring station (not sure):
Coldwater Peak on the left:
Then we continued further towards the trail’s end on the ridge:
We picked a spot to sit and take a break with a view of the mountain:
It was clear enough to see Mt. Hood:
Behind us was Spirit Lake and Mt. Adams:
The landscape is dotted with stumps whose tops are ragged from the trees being blasted away during the eruption:
Looking up towards the top of Harry’s Ridge:
Johnston Ridge Observatory and the entirety of our route was visible:
We headed back to the trailhead along a trail now free of trail runners. One last look back to Harry’s Ridge:
Gaia stats: 7.8 miles, 1,240′ elevation gain