Posts Tagged ‘Mt. St. Helens’


I love the colors in this sunset photo of East Lake. Yes, I took the picture (using a camera with, gasp, FILM!) and no, I have not “shopped” it with any software program. In fact, the colors were even more vivid and breathtaking standing there on the lake’s beach. The freezing windy weather was ruffling the lake’s surface pretty hard that evening, causing the waves to lap loud against the stone-strewn sandy shoreline. The cold quickly amplified with the sun’s departure,  signaling the time was right to head back to camp in nearby La Pine State Park. Traveling to this very area a few days before found me squinting at the landscape engulfed by a foggy snowstorm. So glad I returned.

Back to East Lake. She and her  larger sister, Paulina Lake, reside inside the five-mile diameter  collapsed oval caldera of the Newberry Volcano,  southeast-ish of Bend, Oregon.  The lakes are reminiscent of another more famous Oregon caldera lake, Crater Lake, as they are also crystal clear and not fed by any streams or rivers. Some speculate the girls were once one larger lake that split during one of the many eruptions that separated the two with lava flows, pumice, and ash.  For those not familiar with the geography of the west coast, Oregon holds a front row seat in the notorious Ring of Fire. Not the circus act. Not the flaming hurricane cocktail. Not the hair metal band. A real 25,000 mile horseshoe-shaped area around the Pacific Ocean rife with earthquakes, volcanoes, and volcanic eruptions (remember Mt. St. Helens in Washington State? She is a charter member). Because my purpose is to entertain, enlighten, enthuse, or similar, I will not turn this into a huge mind-numbing geology lesson about subduction zones, plates, magma, shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, oceanic trenches and the like. Not that I find geology mind-numbing. I just know many are not of the same opinion. Suffice it to say 19 volcanoes dot Oregon and not all of them broken … just sleeping. Portland’s iconic Mt. Hood last erupted only 200 years ago.  You can see Mt St. Helens from downtown and that beauty was having minor eruptions in 1898, 1903, and 1932 until she decided to take her act to the big times and magnificently erupted May 18, 1980. Not to be quieted, she erupted four more times that year and is still active. Guess we should have paid more attention to the Native American’s name for her –  “Louwala-Clough” (smoking mountain). The majestic mountains we gawk over, take pictures of and from, ski or snowboard on, hike, climb, water ski, boat, and camp on are all bloody volcanoes. Every single one of them.  Oregon actually has an emergency operations plan (EOP) addressing each of them including those in Washington and California. Ooopssss I think I just slid into the snooze zone. My apology.

Returning to life un-retouched…Growing up hearing place names like Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Portland, Astoria, and Newberry Volcano must have desensitized me as I have found I took it all for granted. Not once questioning the origins or history – besides the obvious Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson. I have visited the Newberry  National Volcanic Monument many times since childhood. Although it was not designated as such until 1990. Did I know why Newberry? No. Did I ask? No.

Time out for a quick History for History Haters segment: Dr. John Strong Newberry (1822-1892) was assistant surgeon, geologist, and botanist to the 1855 topographic  Williamson Abbott Pacific Railroad Survey expedition to explore the area between San Francisco, California, and the Columbia River for future railroads. This means he was at some time that year exploring the volcano area. He was also one of those mega-beard guys. I don’t understand the fashion at all. Huge, long untrimmed beards on men in very dapper dark suits. Cannot tell if there is a tie of any sort under there, though.  In spite of his fashion sense (lack thereof), this man has a laundry list of achievements too long for this segment (*yawn*) but here is a good sketch for those interested. He was apparently a vastly talented, intelligent, friendly, and kind man who worked equally well in many fields. Why was the once Mt. Newberry come volcano named after him in 1902? The closest I can find is someone thought it was a good idea to name it after that geologist guy on the famous survey team. After looking for a good amount of time I have grown bored with the search so if anyone knows why he was chosen and by who, I would love to know.

I believe no matter where you live there is beauty in the world to see. So much to explore and learn. Seriously, it is all around us. So often our view is filtered through a software program or special adjustments. I prefer life without the fancy filters. East Lake speaks for herself, don’t you think?