Mt. St. Helens

Saturday, May 13th, was the first day that the Johnston Ridge Center would be open. Even though Saturday was predicted to be the day of heaviest rain, which would mean snow higher up, Saturday was the day for me to go through rain below, mixed with sleet and hail, into snow near the top. It was a beautiful drive up to the Center, where visibility of the Mount was limited by clouds coming lower, bringing snow with them. I drove down through clouds, alternating between rain and snow, until I reached the Elk Viewpoint, after which rain persisted.

One stretch of the road up resembled a snow globe, the snow splashed across the pine trees up a hillside, followed by a soft, wet snow as if the snow globe had been shaken.

The Johnston Center is a very nice facility, with good exhibits and explanations and two wonderful movies, with a surprise ending, well worth the time to watch.

Traffic was light and two cars decided to stop on the narrow two-lane highway to take pictures. Not pulling off, but stopping on a 40-55 mph highway with no shoulder. One woman was standing next to her car. Thankfully, I could see them in time to go around. I read once that every year there are more pictures being taken than the total number of pictures taken in previous years, whether this is creating competition to capture a greater picture, I don’t know, but some pictures just aren’t worth the risk.

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