My drive home from Mount St. Helens after a Guided Adventure always provides me with the sweet space to reflect on the day, the adventure, and the people who choose to explore with us. Returning from MSHI’s first trip of 2021, a Winter Adventure to June Lake, I was filled with joy and ambition for the seasons ahead. The trip was full of laughter and camaraderie, with sunny skies and snowy slopes. After such a tumultuous 2020, we are tip-toeing into this year with the hope that it can only be better than the last, and offering a place for individuals and families to find a safe, social, and welcoming environment on our programs.
I look forward to climbing to the summit with those who seek a challenge, who want to scramble over the boulder fields and peer into the walls of the crater below. Those who have dreamed, planned and trained to reach the top of the PNW’s most intriguing volcano.
I desire to walk the fields of prairie lupine, scarlet paintbrush, and pearly everlasting that is a piece of the recovery story on our Glacier Overlook Hike. This trip through the Blast Zone remains a staff favorite, traveling across lava beds to see eye to eye with Crater Glacier, the only growing glacier in the lower 48.
Traveling further towards the glacier and its namesake crater, it is the Into the Crater Hike that attracts visitors from all over the country. This three-day experience allows me the opportunity to really get to know the people of the trip, and learn more from the expert geologists who assist. To sleep at our remote field camp under the stars, being fed gourmet meals beside the silver fir trees, are some of the great joys of the summer.
I love to share the human stories from the 1980 eruption, in particular, that of Harry Truman, whom the viewpoint at the end of the Eruption Hike is named. The hike straddles the Blast Zone and the scorched forest of the Standing Dead zone, and witnessing the difference between the two is astounding.
I wish for clear skies and bold colors for our Sunset Photography Hike, hiking alongside a professional photographer to assist others in their artistic journey. As a photographer myself, I am so excited for this program, and know others will share my enthusiasm for the beauty this landscape offers.
Looking beyond the summer and into the fall, when the rain returns also returns my favorite trip - Mushroom Foraging! In the four years, I have been leading this trip I have learned an incalculable amount from the mushroom specialists who join and teach about the magical world of fungi.
No matter which trip I lead, it is the people I remember. Those who have been influenced by Mount St. Helens their entire lives and those who are experiencing it for the first time. It is the sense of wonder and awe that strikes me most, and it inspires me to lead trip after trip with good faith that the next trip will be better than the last.
By Taylor Feldman