Mythology Of Mt. St. Helens -- Part 2C Picture



All Souls Eve At The Lake Of Spirits

--Bruer, DJ


Since 2007, strange happening occurring at Mount St. Helens isn’t anything new to me. My visit to Mount St. Helens on October 30th 2012, was a rare trip, for I tend to visit only in the summer, but I couldn’t help to set aside a chance to help the institute, work with Charlie and visit the southeast shore of Spirit Lake.

Spirit Lake is a place that few are not allow to visit for it is restricted area, preserved for science, but also the area is dangerous. Much of the south shore is marsh land, but the danger lies in the lake. The shoreline extends out 20 feet in places that is about 3 feet deep then drops off to around 70 feet instantly. The northeast cove is deep and impossible to get out unless you know the old YMCA trail. The northwest cove, like the northeast cove can only been traverse from the ridge then a tricky hike down the Bear Creek to Bear Cove. The lake is only 35 degrees years round and the weather surrounding the lake can change immediately from sunny to foggy.

According to Native Americans, Spirit Lake is a spiritual place that should not be disturbed for odd paranormal activity may occur. Heading to Spirit Lake, Justin, Bob, Katherine, Charlie and my-self headed down to the end of the 25 road. The trip was scary as we drove on a road that was covered in snow, mud, and flowing earth.

When we arrived, we hiked 25 miles to Spirit Lake and as I arrived to the lakes shoreline, I pulled out my camera an d the battery was drained. I pulled out my IPOD to take photos was dead also. I was sadden…how was I to document this trip…well it certainly wasn’t by photo. I noticed that others camera worked, but they only had phones to take those photos. As we jumped into the lake, we dragged the boat to a hummock and dragged it up the hummock.

Walking in Spirit Lake was surreal as the volcanic ash clouded the water with each footstep. Most of the lake was about a foot deep, but there were areas where it would drop off to about five feet deep. The water was freezing cold and smelled putrid. The water flowed into my boots and soaked my pants.

Walking back to the vehicle, we all carried supplies to the vehicle, weighing us down to about 70 pounds each. Carrying the supplies uphill, the wind became stronger the further we walked away from Spirit Lake. The wind beat us back with every step, strange sounds echoed throughout the Spirit Lake basin. This day became strange and the events were about to become stranger.

Falling behind, Katherine walked with me as we walked up the basin…the wind beat us back…every step was torture…one step up, two steps back. Katherine asked a question that I was not quite expecting, “What would happen if you were to take a piece of wood from the lake?”

I looked back, “The spirit of the lake is known to guard it.”

“What are the warning signs of the spirit of the lake?” she asks as she looks around.

“The spirit, also known as See’atco is known to give early warning signs of its arrival with wind, noises like chirps, whistles, growls, and voices.” I say.

“Voices?” she asks.

I nod my head, “Correct…voices…people voices.” I say as Katherine and I walk upward towards the headwaters of an unnamed creek.

Katharine pulls out a few pieces of wood from her pocket, “What if I put them back?”

I look at the pieces of wood and wonder about the question. There is no information on how to appease the ancient elemental See’atco also known to some as Seatco…depending on where you’re at. “Guess it wouldn’t hurt.” I say.

Katharine drops the wood as we walk onward, battling wind and weird noises. The weather does not improve until we reach the vehicle then it downpours with rain and ice. All of us enter the vehicle knowing that the weather here isn’t natural. The voices cease and the weather improves as we reach Windy Ridge…far above the lake and the Spirit Lake Basin.

The Face In The Fire

--Bruer, D.J. -- 2010

Usually I do not talk much about the paranormal activity that surrounds Mount St. Helens when I am with others, but after leading a group of visitors up Mount St. Helens, through a restricted area to study geomorphic processes, we all came back to the group campsite on the South Side of the volcano, about 1 mile west of Butte Camp where we set up tents on a site that had its shares of ghost-stories. This location is one of my favorite places to camp because the energy here is so high, that when in the right frame of mind, I can usually drift into a meditative state and it increases my senses in ways that I cannot explain too well.

We all talked into the evening hours and after a well-deserved meal, a group of us decided that it would be a great time to talk about the unknown, about the ‘spooky’ side of Mount St. Helens that visitors usually don’t see. It was a great honor to speak to these people who have been coming to the same location for 30 years! When I asked them what brings them to this exact location to camp, they could not quite explain it, but say that they feel a connection to the mountain, greater here than anywhere else. They mentioned that this area (referring to about 2 square miles) seems to be a hotspot for a vibe that is so powerful that it can entrance you and ease your mind.

I could easily agree with their opinion and just as the sun set, we built a fire and sat in view of the mountain, talking about special hikes, about the past and about the mountain before the 1980 eruption. We talked about how we felt about the logging and mining and how we thought that it seem to ruin the tranquility of the landscape. With three individual families, I asked the other family there opinion of the mountain and they could not give an answer right off the bat. The father (as I guess), blankly stated that it was more of an obligation to come here, that it seem reasonable and in my terms, cheap. It was obvious that this family did not share in the same experience that I and the other family were experiencing. I would stare at the mountain in full daze, wondering how it would look like up there, but I was easily distracted by the obligated family’s son who brought some type of spring-loaded knife and metal throwing stars and was throwing it at a white fir. I’d look at the father and then at the other male of the family who shared my viewpoint and sighed.

I remembering chuckling and murmuring how disrespectful this boy was being, but not wanting to offend my guest, I ask them if they have seen or experienced anything out-of-the-ordinary up here. The two families stared at one another and the family who shared my views mentioned that they have seen a few odd events up here. He mentioned that the first time they came here; they had set up camp and sat down to eat dinner in the dark of the night. He said that as they were concluding dinner and enjoying the warmth of the fire, they saw a bright ball of light off in the woods. They were confused and stood there staring at it. He then said that the ball would move slowly then would climb up into the canopy of the forest. No sounds, no wind…just as still as it could be. As the light faded away, they shrugged it off and cleaned up camp and called it a night. All in their tents, they all fell asleep and remained that way until a bright light filled their camp. He said it was like daytime outside, he remembers checking his watch and it said it was only 4am. Thinking that someone was vandalizing their camp, he climbed out of his tent and to his astonishment and surprise, the whole treetop seemed ablaze with a brilliant white light. As he called out to his wife to see, it immediately went pitch black. They were so frighten that they packed up their belongings and left Mount St. Helens in the middle of the night.

I looked at him and in my mind, I thought it as a good story, but hard to believe. I mentioned that even I have seen strange flashes of light in the forest, but usually dismissed it as late-night hikers…well except for that one time on the north side of the mountain when I was decided to hike up to Johnston’s Ridge in the middle of December to see if I could find the Spirit Lake Tunnel. I said that after an exhausting hike, I finally found it and as I went off trail, I could swear that I was being watched and a wave of nausea overcame me like a flood. I became so tense that my hair on my arms as standing on end and I decided to leave immediately. I mentioned that as I left quickly, I would look behind me because I heard voices and as I looked behind, two yellowish-orange orbs seem to be flying right at me, I was sure I was going to be hit, but they flew right pass me and as they did so, it felt as if I was shoved almost to the ground.

I was so disturbed by what had just happen that I ran, but after a few yards I slowed down and looked back to the hidden location of the black tunnel that drained Spirit Lake like an open wound. As I gazed I felt sick with terror, a feeling I have not felt since my poltergeist experience when I lived in Port Orchard. Since then, I have never returned and probably never will.

The two gentlemen and their wives looked at me, but held there judgment. I have been stupid before and mentioned about my families’ sensitivity to energy, and my ability to sense things that others usually cannot, but I did not receive the same ridicule from these folks. We talked about Spirit Lake and the weird things that happen there when the public was allowed to camp there. This conversation then escalated into a talk about the paranormal and mainly about the spirit named Seatco.

I was curious if they have ever heard about Seatco and they shook their heads. They never heard of the name, so I decided to tell the story of Paul Kane and his adventures at Spirit Lake. I mentioned how Seatco was the collection of all the negative energy and how it was entrapped in the cold waters of Spirit Lake.

I was asked a lot of questions about how to know when Seatco is present, and to my knowledge, I stated that there were usually warning signs. I said that there are three kinds of Seatco’s…lake, forest and mountain. I said that the less vicious would be the forest Seatco for it seems less interested in humans, but will throw stones at you and if it really has it out for you, it is known to take you away when you are asleep and leave you in the forest where you are lost. I later mentioned that they usually have a calling card…a noise that sounds like a hu-hu or the whistles of birds followed by a foul stench.

I then moved onto the mountain Seatco. I said that the mountain Seatco is mildly aggressive and seems to be easily agitated when we go underground in a man-made tunnel like a mine. Some say that Seatco murdered a whole company of miners from the Sweden mines back in the 1920 thus ending the mining here at Mount St. Helens, while others claim that the core ran ‘dry’. I then concluded that we here probably have no worry of the mountain Seatco, for we are not underground and not on the volcano itself.

I concluded that the worse of the worse is the water Seatco…this is the Seatco that seems to plague all Native American tribes. Not totally bound to a lake or a body of water, the lake Seatco is one of the hardest to escape and one of the most aggressive. Native American’s tell stories when they came to Spirit Lake and there braves were snatched off the land and dragged under the water by a hand, made of mist. I added my experience above Spirit Lake and how voices in the mist tried to send me over a cliff into Spirit Lake, but as I was about to tell of the warning signs of the lake Seatco, the boy who was playing with the knife let loose a scream that made me jump so high and made the rest jump higher.

The first image of the three was the last image I took before the boy injured himself. I have been taking night shots of Mount St. Helens for nearly 5 years, so tonight was nothing unusual. The family I had been entertaining now surrounded the boy and I too was on my feet. Being part of the monument staff, I was required to treat the boys’ injuries and luckily for him, the knife had only nicked him. Bandaged up, the boy joined him parents and we all settled down. I was so rattled up by the event that my nerves were tense, but as I sat down, I was unable to calm down, like watching a movie that you know is going to get scary, I seemed to jump at every rustle in the bushes. I felt that same feeling when I was lost in the fog and the time I ventured to the Spirit Lake tunnel. I did not say anything, for I at the time did not make the connection.

As the family gathered around once more, I was asked to resume with the story, but I was distracted, I felt as if I wanted to get away. I apparently wasn’t the only who felt this odd sensation, the mother of the family that shared my views seemed fidgety and unease and later, after the event, the rest mentioned that the atmosphere seemed to have changed. I decided to pick up where I left off with the warning signs, but as I was about to mention the signs, my camera began to beep…telling me that my battery to almost dead. I was asked what was wrong; I was not sure myself for I knew that this battery was fully charged for tomorrow. As I look at the batteries life, it was correct, about 5 minutes left if I had to guess. Figuring that this would be my last picture, I took the second image you see. As the image displays itself on the camera, I must have looked puzzled, for I have taken hundreds of fire pictures and never had I seen this.

Now what you don’t know about this image is that I was sitting in the middle of the frame, the family who shared my viewpoint was sitting at my left hand side, that the other family with that boy was sitting on the right. As I look at the picture, the face was looking right at the boy. About at that same time as the image a taken, an icy cold wind blew through our camp. If you look at the first image, it was still, and it was mildly warm, but in the second frame, the smoke was shifted towards the right and the area became fidget cold!

I wasn’t sure what I caught, so I handed my camera to the family on the left to have a look and the language I received was not fit for this citation. Immediately my camera was passed to the other family and they looked at the picture. The father said that it looked like a lens-flare, but the only problem with that theory…no flash. The mother apparently had enough and stood up. The was a lot of conversations going on at the time, some debating that it is nothing to get worked over, others debating that we do nothing, and others debating if it was really Seatco. In my mind, it did not make sense, Seatco usually makes a horrid scream like you’ve never heard…a type of scream that vibrates inside your head, then it gets cold, and then a horrid smell usually of sulfur…only the cold was a factor. I don’t know how long we argued, but it all was about to transform into a chaotic mess.

The next thing I remember is a powerful cold gust of air and the fire we had going was nearly extinguished. We all stopped yelling at one another and looked at one another. I remember looking at the fire…the embers seemed dead and it was darker than I expected. We stood there, I was in shock of what happen…it was quiet for what seemed a long time and I decided to take one more picture to see if I could reduplicate the face, but all I got was a dark image…and it was about right, it was dark over the land, but light in the sky. Very strange…with that last photograph, my camera goes completely dead and a look over to the family that still remains uncertain of what just happen. I mutter that it must be the wind and the father actually laughs and pokes fun at his wife. I walk over to the dead fire to see if it can be salvaged, but it is pretty well dead…cold actually. I can remember still feeling that tense sensation inside me, but it seems to weaken a bit. As we scrounged for our flashlights to get off this rock we were on, off in the distance, comes a sound that I cannot easily explain. The closest I can explain it sounding like would be if you mixed together a high pitch scream, with a high pitch scream that is metallic; with the deepest roar you can imagine, with the echo of liquid to vibrated deep in your chest.

As the wind blew off the mountain, the sound seemed to cascade off the volcano and right down for us. I turned and ran as fast as I could, that horrific sound closing in on me. The sound of screams from the guest that accompanied me mixed with the sound and soon seemed drowned out as they ran right behind me. Running to my car, I blitz through that forest being smacked in the face by silver fir branches and poked by fragrant noble fir. I was sure if I turned around, I would see that horrific hand descending down upon us, so I faced only forward, beeped my car to open my doors and like precision, I jumped into my vehicle and locked my doors, which occurred to me would do no good if Seatco was really out there for it would just come through the vehicle to finish me off.

I see the other family jump into their vehicles and they immediately crank their gearshift in drive and almost colliding, scurry out of the campsite. I too join them as we blazed down the mountain, I would guess around 70 miles per hour. It is a miracle that no one got killed in the process. I drove all the way into Amboy, Washington, which is about 20 miles away and called a friend to shelter me for the night.

I was shaking pretty bad when I arrived and was unable to get out of my car. In my mind, I could still hear that blood curdling scream and that image so raw in my mind, I was afraid to even blink. In my mind, I ask myself what the hell just happen. They get me inside and they are wondering also what had just happen. They think the worse, was it an attacked by a cougar or bear? But I finally come to terms and say that I am sure that I just met Seatco. The look at one another and soon we have this long talk about Seatco. They say that someone had to provoke it; someone had to have challenged it. I must have sank deep for I was sure it was me…twice had to tried to unravel its mysteries, twice had I got away, but this time it attacked, but it was not me…

That night, I oddly slept well, but getting asleep was a task that brought painful memories back from my childhood. With the mornings light, I ate breakfast and we talked about yesterday and after a great debate, I had no intentions to return, even if my gear was still up there. I asked if they would go pick it up, but they said no. I needed to go and face Loo-wit one more time. The drive up there was a long one. Flashbacks of my terrifying ride down the mountain seemed eased with the suns warming light. When I arrived, the family was there; they were packing up and did not speak much. I walk over to them to see if they are alright, but I later find that their son was badly injured. They say that he had cuts on his back…what looked like an outstretched hand with cuts on his hands which they were sure was from the basalt when we ran down.

My stomach fell deep and I was lost for words, I wanted so badly to comfort them, but they only wanted to get out of here. As the boys’ family left, the other family approached me. They were not certain what happen last night, but they did not leave with the resentment as the child’s family, they just looked off into the woods and then back at the mountain and they left me with some advice that I still take at heart: “Disrespect the mountain and you will get hurt…history proves it” They told me to take care and they too were gone.

Standing alone in the forest, I turn and walk back to the rock outcrop where it all happened. My heart thumping hard in my chest, as the mountain comes back into view, I look at the torn up ground and the abandoned camp. I must have stood there for 10 minutes, and as my heart calmed down, I smiled and nodded… “Good job Loo-wit…you know I respect you, I am at your mercy.”

With my camp torn down, I look over to where we were sitting and notice something laying on the ground…a rock, lying where the boy would have been; I pick the stone up and look at it. I recognize the stone immediately…hydrated dacite…very rare. It can only be founded in the restricted zone in the area where I took both families. I stated that this deposit was very rare and that it cannot be removed, for hydrated dacite in all the years I have taken people up there has always boded ill to those who take it.

To this day, I am sure that this flare up of activity was due to that rock. Since I discovered that unit of rock, everyone who has taken a sample of it has had great misfortune. I of course promptly placed the rock back in the deposit, but if the nightmare will continue for the boy, I may never know.

Voices In The Fog

--Bruer, D.J. -- 2007

Many people who visit Mount St. Helens tend to go for the attraction and not the mystery. I have hiked many trails at Mount St. Helens; know them so well that I don’t even need a map. Pure instinct I guess you can say. Most of the time I go to the volcano to conduct field study or to give tours to those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, but as for the other times…I simply go because I love the serenity this place casts upon my soul.

I was visiting Mount St. Helens with my family and to say the least, they aren’t the type to go hiking, so I’ve learned to trust my instincts and knowledge, for hiking alone should never be done unless you are completely sure about your skills as a hiker. There are many forms of hiking, from backpacking to day hiking. On average, a day hike should go no longer than eight to ten miles to and fro, but in my books, this isn’t hiking, a true day hike is about twelve to twenty miles. This is the reason why most can’t compete with me, for I tend to blaze my own trails which should never be done by the average Joe, but I do so because most of the time I am conducting alpine geology where there are no trails.

When my family was heading up to Johnston Ridge, I made a split decision that I would walk the rest of the eighteen miles to the observatory. So my family let me out at the trailhead title, ‘The Lake’s Trail’, and from that trail I would take the “Boundary Trail” over to Johnston Ridge Observatory, a simple sixteen mile hike, and I said I’ll do it in three hours.

My family thought that I must have lost it finally, but my insurance had never failed. If I said that I was going to be at a place by a certain time, usually I am, so I immediately packed light, just a light windbreaker jacket and that was it. The hike up to Coldwater Mountain was a tough hike, but as I switched backed through the forest at a dead sprint, it was a race to beat the clock.

About halfway up Coldwater Ridge, I took a moment to rest in the shade of the returning forest which was obliterated in the 1980 eruption. As I looked down at the ground to make sure my shoes were still tied, hundreds of little frogs were jumping on down to Coldwater Lake for the night. There were so many that the ground looked like it was a moving greenish-black mat. I did my best not to walk on them, but with how many there were, that was certainly impossible so I was forced to take the lives of innocent frogs as I left the shelter of the forest.

When I came to the ridgeline, the elevation gain was minable, so I jogged the ridge, trying to gain a few minutes so I’ll have time to take photographs when I reach Coldwater Mountain. About three fourth ways across the ridge I came upon the ruins of the Weyerhaeuser Company logging skyline crane and big tractors. The logging skyline crane’s main crane shaft was toppled over, its metal was twisted and all the plastic was melted off. The crane itself was almost completely buried.

About two yards away. A 20 ton tractor was completely flipped over, and in the valley, a water truck lays in ruin. About half a mile from the skyline crane laid another piece of heavy machinery that was completely blown off the ridge and tumbled to where I am observing it now. Seeing all this heavy equipment thrown around like child’s toys gives me a sure idea that I would not want to have been standing here back in May 18 1980.

As I descended down into a circular valley, I’ve reached the base camp for Coldwater Peak, but I kept on going for I have over two thousand feet to climb to reach the Coldwater Saddle. As I began to climb up to Coldwater Peak, the weather began to dramatically change as a heavy layer of fog began to pour out of the Spirit Lake Basin.

When I began to scale the base of Coldwater Peak, which contains brittle metamorphic rock, I did my best to go on, for I had no choice, I must get to Johnston Ridge. When I entered the Coldwater Hidden Valley, the fog came in like an animal and it lingered on the saddle like a spider in the web, waiting for me to come. As I hike upward towards the fog, I observe it as it just lingers there, not really moving, it just hugs the saddle and as I ponder to myself I wonder just how easy will it be to navigate in fog when I depend on landmarks to tell where I am?

Higher and higher into the fog until I reach the saddle all out of breath, and as the Uruk-hai in Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers said, “We’re not going any further till we’ve had a breather!” With that all said and done, I look a seat on a rotting log to catch my breath for my asthma had begun to act up, but with a few puffs on my actuator, I was able to restore my breathing and continue.

When I got up, I looked around the saddle and I could not see a thing…no trees, no mountain, no lakes…and all these I should have been able to see from here, but all I saw was endless fog. As I turned due south to go to Johnston Ridge, I walked until I could not even see the ground I was walking on.

In my life I have never experienced fog being this dense. As I kept walking I began to notice that I was walking down a slope of slippery white pumice and as I took another step without thinking too much about it, the pumice slid under my feet, and as I slid and fell down, I must have descended no more than ten feet which was when I crashed into a wooden sign. As I used the sign to get back up to my feet, I was able to read it and it said: Monument Boundary. Do Not Cross!

Above these words was a little picture of a stick figure falling over a cliff and as I pick up a rock, I toss it about five feet in front of me and I expect to hear it plop on the ground, but to my horror, no sound which means two things, a eagle swooped down and caught it or it went over the cliff. With this bit of knowledge, I backed away from the sign slowly and torn up the slope like a mad hatter. When I felt like I was safe enough to act normal, I calmed down and began to relax, but just as I began to relax, the ground begins to shake and then the sound of a stampede is getting louder.

As I looked around for where the sound is coming from, all I saw was fog. Now I don’t know what I was thinking at the time. Was I thinking about the mercy of God? I don’t really recall. I do however know that I began to run, out of the fear of being trampled and almost ran into a tree which appeared right in front of me. As I hid on the prevailing side of this tree, I had an ingenious idea pop into my head. ‘What if I scream and shout like a wild idiot, wouldn’t that scare away the creatures?’ I had no time to consider this option as I began to scream and yell nonsense into the fog and without a moment’s hesitation; the herd of creatures called elk stopped and then began running down the slope towards Spirit Lake.

As I clung onto the dead tree, I listened like a frighten child as the herd of elk dissipated off in the distance. As I shook of that last part of fear, I began to look for the trail, but after the elk incident, I couldn’t tell you which way north was from south. I pulled out my compass to take a reading, but the effect of volcanic ash made the needle spin around so this left my compass useless. As I looked for foot prints, I could not find any due to the ground being high alpine, so I looked for landmarks, but since I ran, I could find none. So I decided to go in the direction of where the elk were coming from. About four yards heading in that direction, I’d find the slope becoming too steep, and I would be forced to go back. I did this countless number of times with no success, so as I lingered on the ridge in the fog it finally dawned upon me…I’m lost!

As panic begins to set in I walk back and forward trying to find the missing trail, but every attempt is met with disastrous results so I make a decision that I don’t want to make. If I am going to go to Johnston’s Ridge, I have to go another route…this means I have to hike sixteen miles back to the parking lot then sixteen miles all uphill to Johnston Ridge before 6PM for the monument closes at six at night.

While I walk back to where I believe the Coldwater Saddle might begin, I begin to panic and for a moment I believe I hear someone call out to me. The voice sounds feminine as it shouts in a panic voice, “David!”

I whip around thinking it might be someone I know, but as I look into the fog, I see no one. I turn and begin to search for the Lakes Trail and as I search over and over I can’t find it. I become so desperate that I sit on a log and bury my head in my hands in total frustration. I turn to a theological source of assistance as I pray to Jesus Christ to give me a sign of how to get out of this living hell. And as I wait…nothing, not a word…I am alone in this grey doldrums. As I wipe the sweat off my forehead just to keep my lips moist, for dehydration is beginning to set in, I hear that same voice in the wind, “David! Over here.”

I look up, I believe that I am losing it, but just as my eyes look off into the fog, I can see a ray of light from the sun and as I spring to my feet I literally praise the lord and walk confidently to the voice that called to me. And as I begin to descend downhill I notice the same sign warming of the fall off into Spirit Lake and immediately I make a sharp turn and scramble back up the hill until the pumice makes me trip, and I fall hard onto my chest.

As I catch my breath I swear I can hear mocking laughter in the fog…ghostly laughter of a being not of this world and as I return back to my feet, I turn and yell once again out into the fog, “Not this like Lake of Spirits!” I straighten my backpack and as I look forward, I see foot tracks in the ash.

Like finding a 100 dollar bill on the ground, I hurry over to the footsteps that descend over the saddle back into the Coldwater Valley, and as I begin my descent, the voice in the fog calls out one more time, “Not that way!” it says harshly. But this time I pay no attention, and then this weirdest noise erupts from the Spirit Lake Basin and this sound caused me to run for about a half a mile until I reach Coldwater Peak.

As I circle around Coldwater Peak’s base, I can see Coldwater Lake and the further away from Spirit Lake I drawl, the fog begins to dissipate until it’s just clear sunny sky.

By the time I reach the logging equipment, my feet are blistered, I am dehydrated, and I don’t really understand what type of psychological event had just occurred back there on the slopes of Spirit Lake. I really had no time to think, or ponder about it, for the sun was setting and I don’t have the proper equipment to set up camp. By the time I reached the parking lot, it was already 5:30PM and the cause of panic and coldness has made me quite fatigued. I elect to sit at the parking lot and wait for someone to come and rescue me…but no one ever came.

Seeing that I was on the verge of shock, I know I have only one option to do…I must hike up to Johnston Ridge and find my family and then get help. Step by step, foot by foot, every inch of land I cover is a struggle. I hear a car coming and I’d stop to wave them down, but they just race on by probably wondering what this world is coming to. By the time I reached the South Fork Coldwater Creek bridge that drains Spirit Lake, I look up at the wilderness I just came out of to see the thick layer of fog lingering up there. By the time I reach the middle of the bridge, I collapse on the deck of the bridge.

I don’t know how long I must have been out, but I do remember a van pulling up to me and two park rangers jumping out to check up on my condition. They were part of the search and rescue team assembled to find me and was just heading to the South Coldwater trailhead where I began my hike to start sweeping the terrain for any sign of me. When I finally arrived at Johnston Ridge I was given plenty of fluids and besides being cold and unable to walk after completing 24 miles on foot in less than eight hours, I was grateful just to be alive.

As my family asked exactly what happened up there on the ridge, I was too traumatic to say a word for a while, but as I calmed down and let time wear on, I finally came to realize that the events that occurred up there on the ridge was the lake’s doing. I had just entered the Spirit Lake Basin and throughout history, man has recorded odd phenomena occurring in that area from apparitions to ghostly voices to even the land itself being cursed.

The lake has many tricks that it uses from ghost elk that drowned it the lake, to specter fog the drives people insane, and of course, voices in the wind…a feature many have heard from the local tribes to even Harry Truman…voices calling you to kill yourself so your soul can be consumed by Loowit’s mirror. Many times have the Spirits of the Lake called to me, once when I was a few months old, once when I was nine, again when I was 15 and now…but I will not go…I must remain always one step ahead, and I’d advise all of you to do the same…DO NOT FOLLOW THE VOICES!

Link To: Mythology Of Mount St. Helens -- Part 3A (Modern Age Stories)

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