30th Anniversary: Mount St. Helens

30 years ago, Mount St. Helens erupted, creating one of the largest domestic natural disasters and remaking an ecosystem
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30 years ago, Mount St. Helens erupted, creating one of the largest domestic natural disasters and remaking an ecosystem



30 years ago, Mount St. Helens blew up, and BACKPACKER Design Director Matthew Bates lived just around the corner in Portland, Ore.

"I remember everything just being completely covered in ash, and my dad and all the other dads shoveling it like it was snow. Everyone collected the ash in little glass jars. And a new neighbor who thought he bought a mountain view looked up and said, 'hey—I remember seeing a mountain there.' My dad said, 'well, there was a mountain there.'"

Mount St. Helens lost over 1,000 feet of elevation to the eruption, 57 people died, and it caused millions of dollars of damage. But what was once a devastated wilderness has returned, and scientists have been able to gain new insights into how resilient ecosystems can be.

It's recovered so well that it could become the next national park. To celebrate the historic monument's renewal, check out our favorite trips and stories on Mount St. Helens.

—Ted Alvarez

via Cold Splinters

Image Credit: USGS/Robert Krimmel