“Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!”

Yesterday I went to visit Mount St Helens in Washington. I left there truly impressed by the power of nature.

Mount St Helens in Washington

From Wikipedia – “David Alexander Johnston (December 18, 1949 – May 18, 1980) was an American vulcanologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) who was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. One of the principal scientists on the monitoring team, Johnston died while manning an observation post about 6 miles (10 km) from the volcano on the morning of May 18, 1980. He was the first to report the eruption, transmitting the message “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” before being swept away by the lateral blast created by the collapse of the mountain’s north flank. Though Johnston’s remains have never been found, remnants of his USGS trailer were found by state highway workers in 1993.”

At Johnson Ridge Observatory they show a short film, and in part of it they play the recording of his last words.  It made my hair stand on end.  There was a tinge of fear, but mostly I heard excitement and awe.  He was thrilled to be there at that moment in time.  More than 30 years later I was standing near the same spot 6 miles away viewing aftermath.  The destruction is impressive.  After seeing the film of the explosion, I realize that his last moments on earth were an adventure quickly ended.  He had seconds if that, but I don’t think he had any regrets.  He lived his life doing what he truly loved.

We should all be able to say that at the end of our lives.


In an instant millions of trees were gone.

Mount St Helens in Washington

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Mount St Helens in Washington - The mountain has so many interesting features from erosion.

The mountain has so many interesting features from erosion.

Johnson Ridge Observatory

Before and After - Mt St Helens


David Johnston hours before he died

David A. Johnston, 13 hours before his death at the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Look how happy he is here.  His life was interesting, fulfilling and wonderful.


Marsh’s Free Museum

Back in 2009 I went to a weird and wonderful place called Marsh’s Free Museum.  It is located in Long Beach, Washington.  This place is full of all kinds ephemera, dead animals, and mechanical weirdness.  I can’t really explain this place.  You would have to look at it for yourself.   http://www.marshsfreemuseum.com/  This is a postcard I created from a photo I took.

Marsh's Free Museum
Marsh's Free Museum