Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Fabulous Lupine at Mount St. Helens

Fields of lupine at Mount St. Helelns
Many people flock to Mount St. Helens to witness the aftermath of the devastating eruption of  35 years ago.  This is becoming harder and harder to do with each passing year.  Sure, the obvious signs are there - the "toppless" mountain, logs floating in Spirit Lake, downed trees on opposing hillsides, and scattered galleries of scorched and abandoned machinery.  But this is a much different landscape now than it was twenty years ago.

When I first started visiting Mount St.. Helens in the aftermath of the eruption, it was a stark, gray landscape that offered little more than the somber remembrance of that fatal day.  It was a depressing scene, seeing how all of nature's vibrant life had been destroyed.

Well, guess what?  The vibrance is back and people are taking notice.  One would be hard pressed to even notice the once charred landscape during a summer visit.  Why?  Because the park is alive again with flower meadows rivaling many others in our state.

The obvious place to visit is Johnston Ridge in early July.  Each year I visit this area I see more and more people, as well as photographers.  And for good reason.  This area is easy to get to and offers the parks best showing as seen from the road, in my opinion.

Windy Ridge is a little more difficult for the average tourist to get to due to the length of drive, but hikers and flower enthusiasts know it well.  While flowers can be seen from the road, some of the best displays require a little bit of hiking.

The above image is such a location.  While returning from a hike to the Plains of Abraham, I made a loop trip out of it by way of the Truman Trail.  What I descended to was one of the most intense and aromatic fields of lupine I have ever seen.  The view of the mountain is very unique here.

This image is appearing in a German book, and serves as another example of international interest in our beloved Pacific Northwest.

To view more images of this wonderful area, feel free to visit my South Cascades Gallery.

As always, thanks for looking.  See you on the trail!

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