The night I received a group text from my father-in-law, gauging interest in a Mount St. Helens hike, I was a definite yes. I was already training for Tough Mudder in August so a September 5th hike would align nicely. I’m an outdoors enthusiast who is excited by adventure and new experiences so I was all in. My brother-in-laws and some of their friends were in too.
We rented a cabin at the Lone Fir Resort the night before and all eight of us hit the trailhead (Climbers’ Bivouac) at day break. Our hike would be approximately 10 miles round trip to a peak elevation of 8,365 feet. The first two miles were relatively flat and heavily wooded. After exiting the forest we began our ascent to Monitor Ridge. The next 2,500 vertical feet were through a boulder field and then we climbed the last 1,000 vertical feet on ash and small rocks (“St. Helens Summit,” n.d., para 2-4). This last stretch was the most difficult part of the climb. I could see the top but it didn’t seem like I would ever make it. I remember digging my trekking poles in the ground and pulling myself up all while being blasted by the wind.
The view from the top and the sense of accomplishment made it all worth it. Being able to look inside the crater as well as view Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount Ranier was incredible. We ate lunch at the top and snapped some photos before starting our descent. The trip down became mentally challenging. It felt like it took forever and I was beyond ready to sit down and peel off my boots. After reaching the parking lot we headed to a restaurant for a celebratory meal and a brew.
Mount St. Helens is definitely one you should add to your bucket list if you haven’t already. I can’t wait to start planning my next big adventure!
Mount St. Helens Summt – Monitor Ridge. (n.d.). In Washington Trails Association online. Retrieved from http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/seasonal-hikes/go-hiking/hikes/mount-saint-helens