Miriam on Ancestories has her story on what she remembers about Mount St. Helens blast. Go check that out if you have not already read her story.
I was in North Idaho just about 35 miles northeast of Spokane at Twin Lakes. I was pushing the dock into the lake when I noticed a black cloud coming over the hill on the west and I assumed it was a thunderstorm, but a few minutes later our neighbor came by and said Mount St. Helens blew its top and the ash was heading our way. We only got a slight dusting there at the lake, most of the ash went further south so we continued on with what we were doing and went in to watch TV, and Spokane was closing down from all the ash. Soon we got a phone call from my sister, she had went to a lodge meeting in Wenatchee and after leaving the meeting went south to I90 and they had I90 closed there as there was about 3 inches of ash there and some still coming. Most of the others from that meeting came across US 2 to Spokane and they did not get any ash till they came into Spokane. My sister stayed the night in her car at George, Washington in the parking lot of Martha Inn, but the next morning they opened I90 and she wrapped toilet paper around her air cleaner and headed for Spokane. She stopped at every town and had the air cleaner blown out and put on new layers of toilet paper, so her car came through with out any engine problems, but the air conditioner spit out ash for a couple of years after that and the heater stopped working also. The dealer fixed the heater, but then the air conditioner would not work, so they fixed the air conditioner and the the heater stopped working again. Note to anyone that encounters a similar ash clouds, turn the Air Conditioner off and put the heater in recycle setting. It does not bring in air from outside that way and so the ash will not plug up the heater or air conditioner.
She had also been to a meeting the week before at Pasco, Washington and at that time Mount St. Helens had been burping steam and a lot of earthquakes but no big eruptions. They were selling Mount St. Helens T-shirts that had animals and people running from an eruption, so I have that T-Shirt today.
I have been to the lookouts at Mount St. Helens about six times, and these pictures were taken in 2005 from the Johnston Ridge Observatory. This is the ridge the geologist named Johnston was watching the mountain the day it blew and he was killed there. The first picture is looking into the crater,
This one is looking to the west down the valley. The eruption filled the valley with 100-150 feet of mud and ash.
This is looking at the ash in the valley, look close and you will see trees and bushes growing in places now. It is coming back much faster than anyone predicted. They are letting nature renew the area without any help from man and studying how it is coming back to what it was like before the eruption.
Notice no large trees in these pictures, they were all blown down in this area, back a little they look like match sticks blown over with all the limbs missing and all laying away from the mountain.