I felt like Mt. St Helens came to life March 27, 1980. In fact, St. Helens experienced earthquakes since March 16, 1980. I lived in the Portland, OR area when St. Helens demonstrated the first visible effect of the earthquakes. Geologists and volcanologists had been monitoring the mountain’s activity for months, however, due to cloud cover it had not been visible. From that point on, there was visible daily activity.
On March 29th, a pilot friend called and said, “I think we can actually see the mountain if we get up there before daylight.” Mark, my pilot friend, Ben, and I left Portland, OR before dawn March 29, 1980. This is how the mountain appeared as we arrived about 1/2 hour before sunrise:
Shortly thereafter an eruption began and lasted for about 20 minutes. There were no other planes in the air while we photographed. On our way home, we noticed at least three other planes heading toward the eruption. Due to heavy cloud cover, no one had been able to get in the air to photograph Mt. St. Helens early eruption activity. To the best of my knowledge these might be the earliest photos of early eruption activity.
Ironically, I had been camping near St. Helens the week before. My girlfriend had a bad feeling on Saturday, May 17th, 1980. Since she didn’t want to go back, I attempted to return to alone. After packing, I started my truck. Nothing. I tried again. Nothing. I changed the battery, the starter, everything I could think of before finally giving up. God was watching out for me as our makeshift camp spot disappeared in the eruption the next day. The May 18th eruption lasted 2-3 days
*My truck started just fine Monday morning when I attempted to start it before work. I had no problems with it after.