Our little mystery guest has left. From all accounts the Gnome phoned home. Or perhaps he clicked his heels three times and said, "There's no place like Gnome Home. There's no place like Gnome Home." In any event all we can offer are pristine images from Mount St. Helens in all their glorious shades of gray, even with color cameras. The heavy clouds and snowdrifts have truly made this the Winter of our Discontent(ment). We thank the VolcanoCamGnome for a bright spot and hope it's a sign that Spring is just around the corner. Just as the First of May is tomorrow!!
A big thanks to all of your for the kind words about our mysterious guest who showed up yesterday in front of the VolcanoCam Classic camera. He is still there today and appears to be in need of hot chocolate. We've done some investigative work and identified the story behind our visitor. He apparently hitched a ride with a Forest Service maintenance crew as they are now begin to prepare the Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) for reopening sometime this spring (summer?). Current snow depths at the JRO are more than 20-30 feet so the work to clear snow is difficult, dangerous, and arduous. Washington State DOT is doing their best to clear the road to the JRO. However, the snowpack in many areas covering the road has compacted into solid ice, or what is better known around these parts as Cascade Concrete. It will take some time for DOT to clear ice that is 15 feet thick (and more) along the roadway.
The VolcanoCam Classic Camera has captured a view never before scene with any VolcanoCam. It appears a VolcanoCamGnome is responsible for clearing the snow in front of the VolcanoCams. He is there now and we've captured the image for the Hall of Fame.
Woohoo! We have a view! Well, a great view of fog and clouds and another impending snowstorm about to hit Mount St. Helens! So why the woohoo? Well, the Mount St. Helens maintenance crew managed to get to the Johnston Ridge Observatory for what is believed to be only the second time all winter. They were there to check on the JRO and begin preparations for a spring reopening. While there, they took the time, braved the elements and cleared a big chunk of the snowdrift that's been blocking most of the VolcanoCam views all winter long. Barring a massive snowfall to thwart their efforts, and with fingers crossed, we should now have continuous views of Mount St. Helens from now on. Yes, even a great view of fog and low clouds looks good about now.
Blog entries have been far and few between of late. It has nothing to do with being busy behind the scenes, or just plain forgetting. But it has everything to do with snow, and snow, and snow, and snow, ... As stated in the previous entry, the Cascade Range continues to endure a very long and very snowy winter. Old timers tell us this heavy snowpack and long winter is reminiscent of what the Cascade Range used to experience. So is this more of what should be a normal winter?
Both VolcanoCams have weathered this winter very well. Other than the regular 20-foot snowdrift blocking the views, and along with the occasional icicles and snowflakes on the camera windows, it's been a successful winter.
The Vernal Equinox has come and gone. The calendar says Spring has arrived. Well, human calendars don't have any meaning in the Cascade Range this season as we continue to experience winter weather, as best experienced and shared through the Mount St. Helens VolcanoCams. Views of the volcano have been obscured by clouds, bad weather, and most recently, a huge snowdrift blocking all views.
Today's forecast calls for clear and sunny weather with temperatures above freezing. All we can do is wait until Mother Nature takes its course with melting and sublimating the snow so we again can view Mount St. Helens.