Mount Saint Helens Trip - Mount Margaret Hike

After our cave and canyon adventures, Jamie and I drove along the east side of the volcano looking for a place to camp. Not finding a camp site, we headed to our destination--the trailhead to Mount Margaret. On our way we passed The Edge, which is the beginning of the devastation resulting from the 1980 erruption. Though the volcano was covered in clouds we clearly knew we had entered it's domain. The area was bare except for dead trees stripped of their branches, but still standing. Some greenery could be found on the ground showing that life is slowly returing to this area of destruction.

It was getting dark and starting to rain when we reached the trailhead. We quickly packed our gear up and headed to the trail with hopes of finding a camp site along the way. Our hopes were dashed when we found a sign saying we needed a permit to camp, which we didn't have. We had only one option left which was to car camp, literally. With several adjustments the trusty Saturn was made into a somewhat comforatable camp site.

The next day we got up early and were the first on the trail. We hiked through a forest of dead, stripped trees with new, green life emerging from their bases. After a couple miles of hiking, we reached a viewpoint of the volocano only to find it completly covered in clouds. We hiked further up and got our first view of Mount Margaret. It was close except for a valley far below separating us and the summit.

A couple more miles of hiking along a ridge brought us above the base of the mountain. We could see the summit above us, but Jamie was starting to feel sick. I urged her on until we only had about 200 feet of elevation gain to the summit. At that point Jamie was showing signs of altitude sickness which was strange since were were only at around 5600 feet. Determined to make the summit I let her rest and jogged up the trail to finish the climb. The trail spiraled around the mountain and the top ended at a rocky point. I scrambled to the top and looked over to see Jamie in the distance. Jamie was able to take a rare picture of me on a summit, but not from the summit itself. Check out the picture below. From the summit I had a wide open view of Mt. St. Helens, but clouds were clinging to it and obscuring the view of the volcano.

After summiting I rushed down to Jamie and we headed down the mountain. The further down we went down the better Jamie felt. Also, the clouds were releasing their grip on the volcano and the view got better and better as we hiked down. Near the end of the trail we met up with other hikers for the first time. For almost ten miles of hiking we had this unique world all to ourselves.

By the time we returned to the car Jamie was feeling much better and the sun was finally shining. It was the most interesting hike I had ever done.

Mount Margaret and the trail we took

the summit of Mount Margaret

me waving from the summit

Mount Saint Helens from Mount Margaret

hiking down from Mount Margaret

Jamie and the volcano

Spirit Lake with Mount Margaret in the distance

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July 23, 2000