Today is the 40th anniversay of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. That day, a portion of this beautiful volcano blasted off into the atmosphere. Two months later, my husband and I were driving into Washington State to check it out as our possible future home. Before we left, my mom questioned me, “You aren’t going to go see that mountain are you”? I assured her that no one was going to travel up and try to see Mt. St. Helens at that point in time. She was not surprised however, when I told her our family would be hiking up to the crater in the summer of 2013, 33 years after our first trip to the PNW.
This was not a hike, it was a climb! The first section of the trail is through the forest, beautiful and not too challenging. Then you come to the boulders… this portion of the trail would be perfect for mountain goats. Finally, you get to the last section which is a climb for a few miles, sloshing through ash. I had my hiking poles and I had been training on steep trails…but the boulders almost took me out. Ahhhh, the view at the top was pure awe, worth it, at least I thought it was, until I realized that the gigantic boulders were easier to climb up, than descend.
I think I should have read this description more carefully, “the route gains 4,500 feet in five miles to the crater rim at 8,365 feet elevation. Although strenuous, this non-technical climb is suitable for people in good physical condition who are comfortable scrambling on steep, rugged terrain. Most climbers complete the round trip in seven to twelve hours”.
Hiking in the beautiful outdoors is one of my favorite forms of exercise, however I learned many years ago that I could never do enough cardiovascular exercise to burn off the number of calories I devoured the day we got down from that mountain. As I mentioned in my post last week, trying to outexercise significant extra calories you eat is very difficult, at least if you eat a substantial number of extra calories on a daily basis. Find those forms of exercise you love and will participate in regularly.