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Blast: A Return to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

By Jeffrey Ryan
In 1987, just seven years after the mountain’s devastating eruption, climbers were allowed to ascend Mount St. Helens. I was one of those lucky climbers who ascended through the ash to experience an ecosystem in the early stages of recovery. The landscape was raw. Steam rose from the growing lava cone below me while rock slides poured down from the sides of the crater. The swath of gray moonscape below inundated everything for miles. In the center of the frame, Spirit Lake, doubled in size by the immense lateral blast of 1980, sparkled.
Photo: Jeffrey H. Ryan
Last September, 30 years after my climb, I went back. I wanted to climb Mount St. Helens again, but I also wanted to see how the ecosystem responded to the amazing blow it was dealt in the minutes, hours and days following the eruption. It was such an astounding and thoroughly uplifting experience that I went home and wrote a book about it.
Blast: My Return to Mount Saint Helens is an account of my visits to the mountain and how nature is rescripting the story of the eruption. Blast also includes a look back in time at the size and scale of the blast and a chapter on trip planning for those wanting to visit the mountain to climb, hike or sightsee the volcanic mounument.
Blast: My Return to Mount Saint Helens is available in Kindle, ePub fand iBooks formats. Learn more at www.JeffRyanAuthor.com.
Jeffrey Ryan is a Maine-based author, speaker and photographer. His books include Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail and Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s Trail.
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