Spring in the Hood River Valley means two things: orchards full of delicate blossoms and the inevitable frosts that threaten them. Weather monitoring allows fruit growers to keep a closer eye on the temperature during this time of year, and if at night it dips below freezing alarms will sound and people rush into the orchards to protect the sensitive blooms. For decades the main line of defense was diesel-fueled smudge pots that are placed amongst the trees and used to chase away the cold. In more recent years gigantic fans can also be used to push the rising warm air back to the earth and displace the cold drafts.
With the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, we take a look back at the event and remember it like we do every year: in awe. If you’ve seen photos or been to the mountain, you know that the eruption of 1980 was astonishing. In fact, it’s hard not to consider pieces of the eruption (photos taken mid-blast, the plume of smoke, the collapsing north face) beautiful.
We knew that as kids. Others called them volcanoes but really, they were always giants. We learned their parts: the magma, the rock, the pressure and release. We learned, to our disappointment, that most were dormant, or worse, inactive. And then we learned about the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption. It was the kind of thing we’d been waiting for, something even we couldn’t have made up.