The Cascade Mountain Range

One of the things I like most about the Pacific Northwest is the Cascade Mountain Range. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which comprises all the volcanic Pacific Mountain Ranges.

Mt St Helen’s south face viewed from home (Vancouver, WA) Before: 9,677ft After: 8,363ft

Our neighboring Mount St Helen’s, is the only active (erupted in the last 200 years) volcano in the lower 48 states. It’s last eruption lasted from 2004-2008, but is most famous for the cataclysmic eruption of 1980 which measured 5.1 on the Richter scale and leveled a 150 square mile blast zone. Before the 1980 blast, Mount St Helen’s stood 9,677 feet. It is now 8,363 ft. 1,314ft were blown from the top and north face. It is now a National Volcanic Monument.

Mt Hood is the ski mountain closest to us in Vancouver, WA, near Portland, OR.

North face view of Mt Hood, SE of Vancouver, WA, ESE of Portland. North face view. 11,249ft Oregon’s largest mountain.

Mt Adams is north east of Vancouver, WA just north of the Columbia River Gorge, a national scenic area, home of the iconic Multnomah Falls. Further south of Mt Adams and Mt Hood, lies the 3 Sisters in central Oregon. (these are the mountains displayed on my background and title page) Originally named Faith, Hope and Charity by homesteaders, they are now known simply as: North, Middle and South Sister. Nearly half of all the glaciers in Oregon lie in this wilderness area.

Mt Adams, WA

Mt Adams, WA north of the Columbia River Gorge 12,281ft  South face view

North of Vancouver/Tacoma and SE of Seattle, the ultra-prominent grandaddy of them all can be awed, Mt Rainier. It’s grandeur and prominence (largest base-to-summit mountain in the lower 48 states) is home to its own national park. Its native Pullyup name is Tahoma or Tacoma which means “mouth of waters”. It’s my favorite American mountain, along with Alaska’s Denali (Mt McKinley).

Mt Rainier is the only mountain grand enough for its own National Park! Denali Park, AK., shares it’s park with several peaks. Rainier is the most prominent peak in the lower 48 – 14,417ft

This summer we drove by Mt Baker 10,786 ft, near the Canadian border, on our trip to the Olympic Mountains, Victoria, B.C., and “the other Vancouver, Vancouver B.C.” The Canadian Pacific Range includes Whistler, B.C., home of the 2010 Olympics. The Pacific Range is formed by subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate under the North American Plate. This is the reason the nonvolcanic Olympic Mountains on the Puget Peninsula are so spectacular, affectionately known as the “home of the gods”.


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