Summer wildflowers and sunset alpenglow at Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument.
On May 18th, 1980, Mt St Helens erupted violently and shot ash 80,000 feet into the air and flattened 230 square miles of forest. Today this area is undergoing a remarkable recovery. The wildflowers are now blooming every summer and small trees are starting to take root once again. All of the vegetation that is seen in this image is natural, since no replanting has occurred within the National Volcanic Monument. Experts believe that in 200-500 years, in the absence of another massive eruption, the area will return to the pre-1980 old growth forest. I doubt this view of the mountain will exist in a few hundred years, since an old growth forest would likely block the view of the mountain. When thinking about it in those terms, I guess this image is somewhat unique!