The Stark Beauty of Mt. St. Helens

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Plains of Abraham

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 Nelson Glaciers.

Volcanic ash, basalt boulders and pumice cover the landscape.

On a beautiful mid-August 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 toward 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.

All in all the hike was 13.5 miles in length with 2,600 feet of elevation gain.

Mt. St. Helens from the Plains of Abraham (near a small springs)

The Plains of Abraham

A natural bouquet of Paintbrush and Pearly Everlastings

The Head of Ape Canyon (viewpoint in upper right)

The remains of trees caught in the volcanic blast

Salmonberry and Red Elderberry

Ape Canyon Trail near the Loowit Trail

Loowit Trail (goes around Mt. St. Helens at approximately 4,000′)

Mt. Rainier

Plains of Abraham

Summit of Mt. St. Helens ((Ape and Nelson Glaciers)

Mt. St. Helens from the Loowit Trail



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


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