Half an hour after sunset and I still could not peel myself off of the awesome spectacle slowly unfolding before my eyes. With every passing minute, it seems, St helens’ stark presence got ever more enchanting, as its shadowy outline reflected on a becalmed Spirit lake and the floating debris still there since the eruption.

There she was, the notorious earth fissure silently resting before my eyes, dimly exposed in all her naked starkness and mystery. And I was still there…

The vanishing light finally convinced me to start for home. I was alone, a three mile hike to the trail head lay before me, the crescent moon was ready to dip behind the mountainous skyline, snuffing out its soft, almost imperceptible layer of luminosity, and… this was cougar country.

It still is.

Did I regret being there? Not for a moment. This was the right place and time for me…
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