Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. I was 11 at the time, so no, I don’t remember where I was when it blew. But I have heard accounts since moving here to Oregon in 1991–the hot, tarry ash that ruined umbrellas people here in Portland used for the fallout, as well as any other thing the heated material landed on; the ominous, dark cloud people saw and then wondering, “Is this the end?”–and I remember all the “authentic Mt. St. Helens ash” blown glass holiday ornaments that were still being sold years after the 1980 eruption, I myself buying one in the late ’80s for my then step-mother at a little gift shop on Lark Street in Albany, New York, where I attended University.
I’ve been up and around Mt. St. Helens mountain biking, and the landscape is surreal, even today. Lunar, lunar, lunar. One day I’ll make it to the the top of the old gal, but for now I think about the tremendous energy hovering still in our back yard, not just in Mt. St. Helens, but in Mt. Hood, too.
Mt. Hood stands only 30-some miles as the crow flies to the WSW of our vineyard, and I have to admit, I worry. There are fumaroles pumping sulfuric gases out towards the summit of Mt. Hood, nauseating the hiker on the way to the top; not a lovely experience when you’ve been hiking all night, and then in the early dawn you get that up your nose. So Mt. Hood is another one that can go. It’s not the pyroclastic flows I’m worried about, it’s the ash and fallout — with the right wind, our vineyard, and 1000s of acres around it could become, well, toast. Or at least ruined. Which is still toast to me.
So for now, we’ll just enjoy that view from our hilltop, and hope for no wind that day. Right.
Peep my next video post for a peek at Mt. Hood in relation to our vineyard site, if you want.