Mount Saint Helen’s erupted on May 18, 1980 approximately two weeks before I got married. It was a cosmic event and ash and debris actually blew around the earth a total of three times. The destruction was massive and many lives were lost… The bleached and charred trunks of pine trees still lay where they were blown down and you can see the evidence of how powerful the force of the blast must have been. The eruption was the only significant volcanic eruption to occur in the United States since Lassen Peak erupted in 1915. Spirit Lake was nestled at the base of the volcano and was a beautiful place to visit. Boy Scouts and travelers from all around the world would camp and enjoy the wonders of this pristine wilderness. Harry R. Truman was the owner and caretaker of the lodge at Spirit Lake and refused to leave when he was warned that the mountain was becoming active again. He chose to stay and his remains are buried under many feet of ash in the middle of the lake and the lake has filled in again with water. When Mount Saint Helen’s exploded, the entire side of the mountain and all the charred remains of the forest poured into the lake. When viewing it even now, you get a sense of the power of the explosion and it leaves you feeling in awe of mother nature. Spirit Lake is making a comeback now as well as the neighboring hillside. Lupines were the first flowers to grow and within two years, elk were returning to graze the tender young grasses and geologists were surprised at how quickly life returned to the hillside. Hemlocks have taken hold recently and the hillside is healing. I have always wanted to visit this place because I felt a connection to it with my marriage. I have been married now for 36 years, the same amount of time as Mount Saint Helen’s has healed and I too, am a survivor of the ups and downs of life. Viewing the destruction of Mount Saint Helen’s eruption and the life that has returned to the forest is a once in a life time opportunity. To visit this sacred place with my husband and Callie has made it even more special for me. I feel a kinship to this magnificent mountain and felt so inspired after I finally got to see it in person. Photos do not give it justice. You can hike the formidable stairway up to a lookout that provides a panoramic view of both the mountain and the remains of the lake and you will not be disappointed…Take a moment to breathe in the air and look all around you because you will need some time to still your pounding heart and slow your rapid breathing down. The stairway is a workout and I wish I had counted how many stairs I had climbed, but the view is like no other and you will not be disappointed.