Saturday, August 20, 2011

From the pages of my sketchbook: Mt St Helens

There is a saying around where I grew up. If the weather is beautifully clear and sunny, it's a Five-Mountain Day. It's meaning? You can see five wonderous mountain peaks within the Casade range all at one time- Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Mt Adams, Mr Rainer and Mt St Helens. Mountains have always meant comfort and home to me, a powerful symbol of the Pacific Northwest. Whenever we fly back, I'm always a little weepy when the pilot points out these magestic giants from our 35,000 feet vista above.

Mt St Helens blew when I was in High School and I'll never forget this dramatic event. This summer, we drove to the visitor's center to show Lucy part of the story. The Johnston Ridge Observatory, a look-out point named for a volcanologist who perished that day on the mountain, offers a fabulous vantage of the crater. The alpine view is spectacular, and professionals climbers tell me the route to an even closer view is only a rigorous hike away. Even as Mt St Helens continues to rumble on and off, the flora and fauna have slowly returned. I sketched a few images to remind me of this renewal.

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