Mt. Saint Helens has become a 4th of July tradition. In 2019, we hiked the Boundary Trail #1 to the Mount Margaret Wilderness overlooking the Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. We set out to camp at Dome Camp in between Coldwater Peak and Mount Margaret. Permits are required and limited to 4 per night. At the time, they cost $6ea.
Upon our arrival after a ginger 6 hour hike in, we were greeted with expansive views in all directions. There are 2 campsites, one low in the saddle and one up top, with a latrine in between the two. We chose the higher ground one to have an incredible view of Mount St. Helens to the South, The Dome to the East, and Mount Whittier to the NE. The site is nearly perfectly flat with soft sand gravel mix. There wasn't any debris to clear and plenty of room for 2 two person tents. We staked down the tents as it tends to get a bit windy, but guests never got above 10mph. No camp fires, ever!
We arrived around 2pm, just enough time to settle in, set up, eat and then enjoy the landscape's shifting shadows as Sun lowered toward the horizon behind us. The mountains glowed in the summer evening sun as the clouds sunk lower and lower, down into the valleys below us.
Low cloud fronts built strength at the Whittier Ridge and slowly crept over and down into the valley. The fog rolled up over us and The Dome, creating rivers of clouds flowing down into Spirit Lake and the valley. The clouds came in waves drastically changing the environment every 30mins, giving us something new to see everytime.
In the morning, there was a herd of mountain goats along the ridge to the south west looking down over us, playfully dancing along the steep walls. Woodpeckers and coyotes could be heard in the distance truly expanding the environment.