The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

New book chronicles Mt. St. Helens eruption


April 16, 2020

In the spring of 1980, Mount St. Helens awoke from a century-long slumber with a series of dramatic changes.

Most threatening was a bulge on the side of the snowy peak, pushing steadily outward. Near Spirit Lake, local resident Harry Truman refused to leave his lodge, even as scientists like David Johnston warned about potential destruction. On May 18, the mountain finally blew, enveloping whole communities in ash and smoke.

Mudflows destroyed bridges, houses and highways, and 57 people, including Truman and Johnston, lost their lives.

Today, the mountain is quiet. Plants and animals have returned, hiking trails have been rebuilt, but the scars remain.

In In the Blink of an Eye, journalist and author Jim Erickson recounts the saga of the eruption.

Erickson has been a writer all his life, mostly with newspapers, particularly the Tacoma News Tribune, and with two Washington government agencies. His work helped the Tacoma newspaper win a first-place award for its Mount St. Helens coverage. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education.

The past ten years, he has focused on poetry, much of it detailing road trips with his sons across the western United States. He calls Tacoma his home.


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