Mount St. Helens erupts: The 40th anniversary!

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The cover of the May 17, 2020, PacificNW magazine of The Seattle Times

We are fortunate that the editors of PacificNW magazine of The Seattle Times asked us to prepare a cover-story package for the magazine’s print edition scheduled for Sunday, May 17, 2020, one day prior to the 40th anniversary of the mountain’s May 18, 1980, eruption.

Below are links to what we came up with. We hope you enjoy it all.

We also invite you to use the comment section to send us your own St. Helens stories and photos!

— Jean Sherrard and Clay Eals

1. The Cover Story
  • “Love, Loss & a Lodge: Rob Smith and Kathy Paulson continue to feel the aftershocks — and the awe — of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens”
2. The Sidebar
  • “The Grateful Dead song ‘Fire on the Mountain’ shakes Rob Smith — and Portland”
3. The Backstory
  • “Forty years later, the stories of St. Helens unearth the wonder and dread of a lifetime”
4. Forty stories for the 40th
  • Most of these stories originated via the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, thanks to interpretive specialist Alysa Adams. They are edited by us and  are presented in alphabetical order.

3 thoughts on “Mount St. Helens erupts: The 40th anniversary!”

  1. My family was camping at MiIlersylvania state park that weekend. We didn’t hear the blast but knew what had happened when the ash drifted down through the trees. We stayed, as did three or four other families, and kept the baby and toddler in our tent for a couple of days. I’ve been camping since about age 4 or 5 and had never seen a campground empty so fast, before I-5 was closed. Also, the ash we saw was gray and powdery; by the time it got to Yakima, the texture and color had changed to salt and pepper ash. One of my cousins there collected jars of it to give to all of us on this side of the Cascades.

  2. Jan and I stopped overnight at the Toutle River campground on Friday night and left Saturday morning. What a difference one day can make! We were at the Jones Creek camp along the Wilson River in Oregon Saturday night. Back then, it was an “unstructured” camping area, and there were probably a dozen tents scattered around. About daybreak Sunday morning, all the dogs in the area got into a “tizzy,” barking and howling. Us humans didn’t feel or hear anything. We didn’t know what happened until we got to Tillamook and saw it on TV at a fish stand. That was the end of our mini-vacation, took a shortcut across northwest Oregon (probably Vernonia and Clatskanie) and got back on I-5 at Longview. We were one of last vehicles across the Toutle River before I-5 was closed for logjams coming downstream. It was a weekend we’ll never forget.

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