Oh, hai, it's getting to be that time of year when you've got a greater than 10% chance to actually see Mount St. Helens when you visit! Were you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest? Wanting to swing by and visit our most explosive attraction? June-October is the time to do it!

You'll want guides, too! I've got some for ye. Best part is, they're totally free! Download them before you go, and make sure you give yourself some time to read up before you arrive. There's so very much to see and do, even if you end up visiting on a day when the volcano itself is hiding behind clouds.

Mount St. Helens in May of 2014.
Mount St. Helens in May of 2014.
 

Do you only have a single day? My very own guide to the west-side approach to Mount St. Helens may be just the ticket. Yeah, it looks like a lot, but you can easily do it all in a single bound, even if you're traveling from Seattle or Portland.

I'm afraid I can't guide you around the rest of the mountain yet, but Barbara and Robert Decker's slender but eminently useful guide can steer you right. You can view an online copy here, but be sure to pick up a paper copy while you're visiting. It's available in all the gift shops and has an abundance of lovely color photos.

For those who are looking for more in-depth geology, make sure you do not forget to download Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity by Patrick T. Pringle. This guide is the most recent I've found, and contains details on numerous approaches to the volcano. It's packed with delicious geology.

Then download a copy of Road guide to volcanic deposits of Mount St. Helens and vicinity, Washington by Michael P. Doukas. This one's got you covered for both east and west-side approaches.

I know. Those last two are a bit technical, and none of them except the first include Dana's super-awesome snark. But they'll steer you to some great stuff. And next year, possibly sooner, fates willing, thee shall have a wonderfully modern, snarky, photo-filled guide to the west side written by your very own Dana Hunter. Soon after that, thee shall have your very own Dana-authored book about the May 18, 1980 eruption, which will be a revised and expanded version of the series we have going on here at this very blog. I am working on both as we speak! Look, I even have a handy meme for you to print out and keep posted somewhere prominent so you can reassure yourself that it's really really happening.

Image is a slightly expanded crop of me with Mount St. Helens from May 2007. Caption reads, "Yes, I am indeed writing a Mount St. Helens book!"
For serious, folks, I am.
 

I made it because bunches of you have been hounding me about authoring a Mount St. Helens book, and I figured a little visual confirmation would help. Besides, this is a special photo, because it's from the only time I've ever been to Mount St. Helens when it's erupting. Seriously, it's erupting, right behind me! You can read all about that right here.

That should get you started. Please do let me know if you have any specific requests for the future guide - input definitely welcome! And have an awesome visit. I know I'm partial, but I sincerely believe this is one of the best active volcanoes to play around in the world.