Jeff Ryan, Author & Speaker

Photo of Mount Saint Helens (c) 2017

Exploring the blast zone of Mount Saint Helens

Mount Saint Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. Over the 37 plus years since, an incredible regeneration story is being told – one that surprised a number of wildlife professionals. Yet, the signs of devastation are still remarkable in their scale.

Yesterday, my friend Ed Cardali and I spent the day exploring the blast zone. Spirit Lake, now twice the size of the original, hosts a floating mat of trees that were destroyed in the blast. Nearby ridges are dotted with “dead soldiers”, trees that died in the blast but have yet refused to topple. And the shoulders of the mountain, where remnants of the cubic mile of snow and rock that blew off the mountain have been folded into the ash, rock and sediment below. It’s an incredible feeling to walk among the formations and feel the power of the mountain first hand.

See also  Risk and Reward in the Mountains

Jeffrey H Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America's trail was hailed by the former Executive Editor of National Geographic as "a classic of nature and travel writing" and set off a national tour (in a 1985 VW camper, no less). His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Jeff isn't trekking, chasing down a great story or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. He spends much of his time in his beloved native state of Maine.


  • November 7, 2017

    Hi, Jeff! This is another great article I really enjoyed reading. Photos are beautiful. It`s amazing to witness nature power to recover after damage this big. Well, damage may not be a proper word. The event, perhaps. It`s a great circle of life in nature. Thanks for bringing this place to us, I hope more people will be inspired to go and experience this place themselves.


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