LISTENING PROJECT: Experiencing the Force of Nature

Janet Holten came in with her sons Gabe Seaman and Christian Holten to talk about her experience during the Mt. St. Helens eruption thirty years ago this May.

Janet lived in Castle Rock, sixty miles away from the mountain. During the evacuation of the area, she went up to her parents’ home on high ground, on the road to Spirit Lake.

She remembers watching the Cowlitz River overflowing with ash and mud and trees, battering the same bridge she had to cross to fetch her brother home.

Janet and her friends drove to the ridgetops to watch the steam and ash pouring out of Mt. St. Helens to the west, and tells of the excitement and uncertainty of the times. She has taken her sons back to the area, and describes how even though the area has changed dramatically, there is beauty in the return of wildflowers and herds of Elk.  She brought in a beautiful vase made of volcanic ash, an example of something beautiful created from the devastation. Below are some photos of Mt. St. Helens before and then during the eruption.