Loowit 360 - Aug 26th, 1995

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Don Nelsen
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Loowit 360 - Aug 26th, 1995

Post by Don Nelsen » August 28th, 2015, 5:07 pm

Saturday, Aug. 26th, 1995 was forecast to be in the high 70's in town which meant 60's at the most on the mountain. Perfect for a run/hike around Mt. St. Helens. I got up late, as usual and didn't get started on the trail from June Lake until almost 1:00 - a bad habit, but one I find really hard to break!

I had hoped to repeat this hike on the anniversary of the 1995 event but I'm still recovering from everything I've done so far this month and decided it was too hot anyway. Boy, can I make excuses!? - another bad habit.

I'll get it done again, though, and I'll take these photos along to try to match them up to current views of the same spots.

Looking up at the mountain with Monitor Ridge in the distance:
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I remember thinking - this is a lot of ups and downs to contend with - I better pick up the pace if I'm to make it around before dark!
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Looking back across the Plains of Abraham:
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The view north from Windy Pass:
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Rounding the corner on the north side I now had to contend with an increasingly strong headwind. I decided to warm up a little by hiking up the side trail to Loowit falls.
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Once there, I was still a bit chilled and it was even spitting short bursts of rain. I sat down on a rock to take a drink and saw a nearly new pair of fleece gloves! Just what I needed to stay just warm enough. Needless to say, I was doing this trip with my usual: t-shirt, shorts, running shoes, small fanny pack with some cookies and a liter or so of Gatorade so the gloves were a very good find.
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With warmed fingers, I was much happier and made good headway across the main blast zone.
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I was now at the point of no return - at least return before it got dark - Looking down into the Toutle River Canyon and knowing I had to climb over 1,500 vertical to get back out, kept me going at full speed ahead.
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Back out of the canyon and a couple miles south the trail starts to turn to the SE. I'd done some re-con and knew this was about 8 miles to go. Sundown was about an hour and a half away:
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This section slowed me down but I managed to run most of it without falling - unlike a hike last winter when I fell and lost my car keys! - but that is another story.
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Just before the sun set, I spotted this herd of elk at the edge of the forest in the distance. They scattered into the forest and I literally ran into them a few minutes later. I don't know who was the more surprised!
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I got back to the car about 20 minutes after sundown and the bitter end of enough light to see. 7 1/2 hours, 31 miles or so.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Splintercat
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Re: Loowit 360 - Aug 26th, 1995

Post by Splintercat » August 28th, 2015, 9:50 pm

Excellent time warp, Don! The blast zone looked much more raw the (to me), and of course the lava dome and Crater Glacier hadn't formed yet. Very cool!
I got up late, as usual and didn't get started on the trail from June Lake until almost 1:00 - a bad habit, but one I find really hard to break!
I'm glad I'm not the only one.... ;-)

Thanks for posting, Don!

Tom :-)

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sgyoung
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Re: Loowit 360 - Aug 26th, 1995

Post by sgyoung » August 29th, 2015, 7:55 am

Splintercat wrote:Excellent time warp, Don! The blast zone looked much more raw the (to me), and of course the lava dome and Crater Glacier hadn't formed yet. Very cool!
I had the same thought. My first and only trip to the north side of MSH was last summer so I can't make direct comparisons, however it seems to have greened up and regrown considerably since these 1995 pictures.

Very cool stuff. Thanks for posting.

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Peder
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Re: Loowit 360 - Aug 26th, 1995

Post by Peder » August 29th, 2015, 8:05 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:I got up late, as usual and didn't get started on the trail from June Lake until almost 1:00 - a bad habit, but one I find really hard to break!
This year I did the loop starting before dawn and getting in after dark... and that was in June when the days are the longest! Obviously I am doing something very wrong! :?

Great TR and it is fun to see how the landscape has changed over the past 20 years.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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