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Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Skamania County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

More Than He Bargained For

 

—Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument —

 
More Than He Bargained For Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 17, 2015
1. More Than He Bargained For Marker
Click on image to zoom in to inspect the photographs.
Inscription. Gary Rosenquist wanted eruption pictures. On May 17, 1980, he and friends Joel and Linda Harvey, their 10-year-old son Jo-Jo, and William Dilley drove down from Tacoma. They camped here, at Bear Meadow, 11 miles northeast of Mount St. Helens.

The next morning, the group witnessed the colossal landslide and unprecendented lateral blast, and nearly lost their lives. Rosenquist managed to capture 22 photographs of the eruption before fleeing to safety. His pictures help us understand the dynamics of this astonishing event.

Gary Rosenquist wanted pictures. He got more than he bargained for . . .

(Photo captions, left to right, top row first)
8:27 am. Gary Rosenquist’s account of the eruption: “Shortly before 8:40 a.m. my friend Willy peered through his binoculars and said the mountain looked ‘fuzzy,’ so I took a picture.”

8:32 am 33 seconds. “Minutes later, while I was standing with my back towards the mountain, Willy yelled, ‘The mountain is going!’ I dashed to my camera and accidentally bumped it as I reached out. Luck was with me, and the camera aimed perfectly.”

8:32 am 59 seconds. “All my energy was focused through the lens of my camera as I watched a scene unfold like a silent movie before my eyes. I never heard the
Marker with Mount St. Helens Below the Clouds in the Distance image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 17, 2015
2. Marker with Mount St. Helens Below the Clouds in the Distance
blast. Somehow I managed to take 22 pictures is about 30 seconds.”

“I grabbed my camera and ran for the car. The turbulent cloud loomed behind us as we sped down Road 99. We raced towards Randle as marble-sized mudballs flattened against the windshield. Minutes later, it was completely dark. We groped through the choking ash cloud to safety, taking with us a moment in time.” Photos courtesy of Joel Harvey and the 8 Miles Hi group.
 
Erected by Gifford Pinchot National Forest, US Department of Agriculture.
 
Location. 46° 18.815′ N, 122° 2.198′ W. Marker is in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington, in Skamania County. Marker is on Forest Road NF-99 4.7 miles west of Forest Road NF-25. Touch for map. It is at Bear Meadow Interpretative Site. This road and Forest Road 25 is open as snow allows. Check current conditions before setting out. Marker is in this post office area: Randle WA 98377, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Working with Nature to Rebuild an Ecosystem (approx. 1.2 miles away); The Earth’s Monumental Power (approx. 1.2 miles away).
 
More about this marker. A number of scenic pull-offs
View of Mount St. Helens Today from Bear Meadow image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, May 17, 2015
3. View of Mount St. Helens Today from Bear Meadow
with paved parking lots, some with toilet facilities, are found on Forest Road 99 en route to Windy Ridge. This is the first one, the Bear Meadow Interpretative Site. The National Parks access fee is applicable.

Directions from Randle: From U.S. 12 in Randle WA, take WA-131 south for 2.8 miles. It becomes Forest Road 25. Continue on Forest Road 25 for another 24.3 miles to the junction with Forest Road 99. Turn right onto Forest Road 99 towards Windy Ridge. Bear Meadows will on your left approximately 2.2 miles up Forest Road 99.

Directions from Cougar: Take Lewis River Road east for 2.8 miles. The road then changes to Forest Road 90. Continue on Forest Road 90 for 16 miles and stay to the left on Forest Road 25, pass the Pine Creek Information Center. Drive Forest Road 25 for 25 miles and turn left at the junction with Forest Road 99. Bear Meadows will be on your left approximately 2.2 miles up Forest Road 99.
 
Also see . . .  Photographing the Eruption of Mount St. Helens from 10 Miles Away. 2013 article by Michael Zhang. This page has a video of the initial explosion. (Submitted on June 17, 2015.) 
 
Categories. Disasters
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 17, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 235 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 17, 2015, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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