The Stark Beauty of the Plains of Abraham


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Plains of Abraham

A southern Utah desert? The home of the elusive Sasquatch? A lunar landscape? No, it was the Plains of Abraham on the eastern flanks of Mt. St. Helens, a truly unique environment.

The 2 1/2 square-mile relatively flat area lies at around 4,000 feet. As the crow flies, it’s only two miles from the summit of the mountain with front-row seat views of the Ape and Velson Glaciers.

Volcanic ash, basalt boulders and pumice cover the landscape.

On a cool and mostly overcast day I hiked the 4 1/2 mile Ape Canyon Trail to the Loowit Trail where I headed north. Soon I was on the Plains of Abraham. What an impressive scene.

After passing a wonderful camping site near a natural springs, I continued to the northern end of the Plains and stopped for a mid-day lunch. Returning slowly across the Plains, I marveled at the unworldly appearance of the stark scenery. The only sad part of this trip was that the clouds covered the summit of the mountain for my entire hike.

Still, it was an enjoyable outing. All in all the hike was 14.5 miles in length with 2,700 feet of elevation gain.

Looking down Ape Canyon

Pumice Butte

On the Plains of Abraham

Black-capped Chickadee

An example of the blast zone from the 1980 eruption

Huckleberry leaves turning their autumn colors

Trail alongside upper Ape Canyon

Chipmunk

Bare tree trunks remaining from the 1980 eruption

View from the north end of the Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham (taken on a hike in a previous year on a much nicer day)

 

 

Categories: Bucket List of Apine Hikes, Washington Cascades HikesTags: , , ,

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