Monday, May 28, 2007


Cynthia preparing for the hike. mmm...yogurt!

We were greeted by a Hairy woodpecker at the trailhead.

If you look closely you can see that this waterfall has cut down through first one layer of glacial till then an Andesite lava flow, and is now cutting into another till deposit.

Oregon's Mt. Hood in the distance

Mt. Adams


This was our first decent view of the crater rim, we were dealing with white-out conditions a good portion of the time on the summit.

Kevin discovered that if we walk slightly down from the summit we could see into the crater if only the clouds would clear. This is looking back at the summit from the area he found.

Just as we were about to give up on the weather there was a sudden clearing and Cynthia convinced us to move a little further yet down slope but still on the crater rim. This position proved be the sweet spot, from here we could see nearly the entire crater. This photo is of Gabe with the summit in the background.

Being the most active volcanoe in the Cascade range, and also a reletively easy hike, St. Helens draws many seasoned climbers and neophytes alike. We can see in this picture that the climber on the summit is reletively safe, but from were he is standing he has no way of knowing if he is on a cornice or not.

In these photos you can see the volcanic dome. After the eruption in 1980 this dome started to slowly grow until 1986 when it fell quiet for 18 years. Then in 2004 there was increased seismic activity and a new dome began to form. Since that time the growth rate has been as high as the equivalent of one dumptruck load per second. Currently it is closer to one dumptruck every six seconds and, if continued, the mountain will reach its' pre-1980 altitude in less than 100 years.

This is the eastern side of the crater rim.

This was some of the most colorful igneous rock that I have seen.

This panaramic didn't stitch together very well, but you get the idea.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Geology fieldtrip

In this photo you can see the fine-grained sediment of an outwash plain that was burried when the glacier advanced and deposited till on top.

This photo and the next two are very twisted examples of orthogneiss in the Skagit metamorphic suite.

The polished spot on this rock is known as slick-n-side, it is a result of rocks sliding past one another in a fault.

In this photo you can see the Columbia River Basalts. Basalt is a mafic rock and as such its' lava is particularly hot and fluid. This fact causes it to flow like water. Each layer in the rock represents a seperate flow. These flows covered most of south east Washington and the Columbia Gorge all the way to the Puget Sound in addition to parts of Oregon and Idaho.

This photo and the next are of Dry Falls. This is the largest waterfall on earth, albiet dry. When Glacial lake Missoula let loose the force of the water here was greater than the force of all the earth's rivers combined.

This is possibly the largest erratic I have ever seen. Unlike most erratics that are moved by glaciers, this one was rafted to its current possition on an ice raft during the Missoula floods.

This cave, and many others like it, were carved into the Columbia River Basalt by the Missoula floods.

These columnar joints are near Vantage. I can't wait to go back and climb.

These next three shots are petrified wood in the Ginko Petrified Forest.

Of course rocks weren't the only photographic subjects of the trip. This is a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Update and more birds

Climbing season is coming up quick. In two or three weeks Kevin, Gabe, Cynthia, and myself will be climbing Mt. St. Helens and I will be sure to post photos of the climb as early as possible. In addition to St. Helens we are planning on climbing Mt. Raineer this summer and there has been talk of one of the twins as well. Also, as some of you may already know, Kriss and I are planning on getting married this summer. As of right now the plan is to climb to the top of Mt. Lassen in Northern California on Friday, July 13 where Kriss' sister Jessica will be conducting the ceremony. This will be an incredibly informal event and all are welcome. The climb is merely 2000' of elevation gain over approximately 2.5 miles. To those of you who are unfamiliar with climbing, what that means, in a nutshell, is that this is the easiest climb of all the cascade volcanoes. For more information, check out climbing Mt. Lassen

In the mean time, I have decided to share some more bird pics, these where taken over the past week at my home.

This female Brown-Headed Cowbird will invade the nest of other species, eat it's eggs, and replace them with her own. The young will then be raised by their foster parents. Talk about lazy parenting.

As with most species of birds, the more colorful of these Evening Grossbeaks are the males.

American Goldfinch

Can't we all just get along?

White-Crowned Sparrow

Rufous Hummingbird

House Finch