Mt. St. Helens
The loop trail was on the west side of Mt. St. Helens. Starting at Blue Lake, I hiked by Butte Camp Dome to the Loowit Trail, then five miles on the Loowit Trail (about 20% of the way around Mt. St. Helens), down to the South Fork of the Toutle River, and back to the trailhead.
The hike was 13 1/2 miles long with about 2,800 feet of cumulative elevation gain.
It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine. The wildflowers were out in force, especially the beargrass, purple heather and phlox. The impacts of the last big eruption in 1980 were very evident, including standing dead trees and the deep canyon gorges caused by the volcanic mud flows. Although, it’s amazing how much vegetation has returned over the last quarter of a century.
Monkeyflower and Avalanche Lily
Snow fields were in every canyon above 4,500 feet. They act like miniature glaciers, but usually disappear by the end of summer. And yes, the volcano remains active and was venting steam off and on the entire day.
And last but not least, I spotted a hoary marmot, a family member of groundhogs.