Point and Shoot!

There are a lot of terms I will use if someone asks me to describe myself.  Husband, dad, goofball, reader, cold and callous, hiker, cyclist, WSU COUG, Seahawk Fan and now, I will even call myself a blogger. 

However, there are two terms I won’t use.  The first is a writer.  I have been lucky enough to get two articles published in the Washington Trails Association (WTA) magazine.  It’s a small magazine sponsored by a local nonprofit organization dedicated to hiking in Washington State.  To me, though,  a writer is someone has either published a book that is available for sale, or regularly publishes articles (or both!).  That ain’t me.

And even though I like taking pictures, I am sure as hell NOT a photographer.  However, there was one time, I was in the right place at the right time!

In 2006, I was climbed Mt. St Helens.  Yep, for those of you old enough to remember, that is the mountain that blew its top on May 18, 1980.  I was in the 10th grade and lived here.  I wasn’t personally affected by the big blast, but we did get dusted with ash from time to time in the weeks that followed.

Fast forward to a new century, and they open the mountain to climbers.  What’s nice, is it is not a technical climb.  But it is interesting.  That will be a post for the future…

This story takes place on top.  The whole way up, I was seeing big billowing dust clouds come over the rim of the crater.  I couldn’t tell, on the way up, what was going on.

The crater is HUGE.  In the middle is the lava dome which is continuing to grow, though slowly.  In fact, the mountain had been closed for a few years, as it had been growing faster and rumbling more for a while.  They had reopened it the year this took place.

There I was, admiring the view, when the dome let go with one hell of a rock slide.

Lava Dome Rock fall in the Crater
Lava Dome Rock fall in the Crater

I just sat there spellbound and amazed, watching nature in action.  Suddenly I heard someone say “Take a picture!”  It hit me, I have a camera!  So I started snapping a few.  Then I heard someone say “Wish I could film this” (WAY before smartphones were common).  Then it hit me, my new digital camera took video to!  Here’s youtube I uploaded.


Later that year, the WTA sent out an email about their annual photo contest.  “What the hell!”  I sent in the one you saw on here.  It was awarded honorable mention!  That meant it was not only published in the magazine, it was also framed, and on display at the National Park headquarters in downtown Seattle.  Afterwards, they gave me the framed picture itself as my prize.  It’s hanging in our living room now.

I’ve entered quite a few times since then, but no luck at all.  But, whenever I see this, (Like this weekend when I was cleaning out the old laptop) I not only remember the actual event, but also how proud, surprised and happy to hear it was selected. 

So nope, I am not a photographer, but damn, sometimes you just get lucky!

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