I live about 75 miles east of St. Helen's. Will always remember that day. Was planting corn, elderly neighbor came out to the field and said"the mountain blew ", told him thanks and got back on the tractor. He made two more trips, getting more upset with me each time. About the last time, something started falling out of the sky. I headed to the barn, and thankfully put the equipped inside. Within a few minutes the ash really started falling. I guess within a hour or so it was completely dark. You could hold your hand , six inches in front of a flashlight and not see your hand. Got about 3 to 4 inches of ash when it was all over. No one knew what to do with it or what it would do to anything. Had all that ash on my roofs, made the mistake of trying to wash it off, the wrong thing to do. Ended up getting up there and shoveling it off. Had a low spot so dumped it in there, filling a big hole.
Did not drive my personal vehicles for over a week. Being in law enforcement, had to drive my patrol vehicle, starting the next day. Had to change the air filter about every two hours. Took out two sets of front wheel bearings. Car never was the same, ending up getting issued a new vehicle within two months.
All the business building had to have the roofs shoveled off. There were several large fruit warehouses that fell in from the weight of the ash.
Had to replant my corn, but because of the nutritional value of the ash, had a bumper crop. To this day under the right circumstances you can still see some ash.
Yes, it was quite an experience, but once was enough.
Went up to the mountain the next winter and could snowmobile on top of all the downed timber. A miracle how that country side has regrown.