Caught in a volcano-watcher traffic jam




May 18, 1980, was a nice Sunday morning. My husband and I were sitting at our dining table having coffee in our Orchards home. My girlfriend, from Beaverton, Ore., called: “Have you heard the news? The mountain has blown!”

We ran out to our backyard and there it was, Mount St. Helens exploding into the air! We were trying to figure out why we didn’t hear or feel anything.

We could see the mountain very well. But of course, we wanted to get a closer view. We ran to the car and headed out toward Lewisville Park. We found out a lot of other people had the same idea.

When we got up there, it was eerie. We could see the lighting, and the mountain was so much bigger just being a few miles closer. It was darker now — the plume covered the sun. We sat there in silence watching.

Looking behind us, we realized we were stuck with a lot of traffic. If the wind would have changed directions, there would have been an extreme panic and we, along with everyone else on that highway, would have been added to the deadly statistics.