My ex-wife, whom I met while she was working as an aide for the Trade Minister at the Phillipine Consulate in Los Angeles, is quite familiar with volcanic activity being close to Mt. Pinatubo. On May 18th, 1980, we were both at the Catholic sanctuary in Portland called “The Grotto” on their observation deck. She knew exactly what it was. But to my eyes, it looked like someone and dropped a nuclear bomb in Central Washington. The mushroom cloud rising from Mt. St. Helens was awe-inspiring.
Earlier in April, my cousin and I decided to see how close we could get to the mountain after a series of ash and steam eruptions. We drove up SR504 until we were stopped by a police barricade – the police telling us we could go no further. So, we turned around and started driving back.
However, a mile or so away from the barricade, we noticed a logging road off to our left and decided to give it a try. We went up the logging road which paralleled SR504. And, when we passed the point of the barricade, we could see the police officers shaking their fists at us (grin). When we got to the end of the road, we stopped for a moment. And I can remember hearing a low rumbling sound. And though some snow was on the ground, I could feel that the ground was (ahem) warm. So, we decided to go back.
When we got back to SR504, we headed back toward Interstate 5 and noticed that the police had “moved” their barricade to take the logging road into consideration (grin). They gave us dirty looks as we drove past them heading west. We just smiled and waved.