A longtime resident of Cottage Grove, Oregon, Phillip Elden is intimately familiar with the region. Elden regularly visits the Cascade Range and climb its famous peaks. Here, Phillip Elden explains why the volatile nature of the Cascade Range is so attractive and inspiring.
Interviewing Experts: What about the Cascade Range draws you towards it?
Phillip Elden: The Cascade Range is one of the most beautiful and interesting locations in the entire world. In my life, I’ve reached the peak of six of its volcanic mountains, with many more in the future.
Interviewing Experts: What’s the most special aspect of this region?
Phillip Elden: The main attraction for me is the sheer fragility of the surroundings.
Interviewing Experts: Interesting. Why is that?
Phillip Elden: The Cascade Range still contains a series of active volcanoes such as Glacier Peak, Mt. Hood and Crater Lake.
Interviewing Experts: Are any of these volcanoes a significant threat?
Phillip Elden: Each of these volcanoes would be defined as having extremely high potential for eruption. After all, it was just over three decades ago that Mt. Saint Helens erupted.
Interviewing Experts: I was in grade school at the time; I remember my teacher telling us all about this. What are your memories of the eruption?
Phillip Elden: I was pretty young myself. Even though the explosion was pretty scary at the time, it was also such a rush to see such a massive collapse.
Interviewing Experts: Where were you when the eruption occurred?
Phillip Elden: I sat utterly transfixed right in front of the television. The most powerful memory was the footage of one side of Mt. St. Helens simply falling off.
Interviewing Experts: How much of the region was affected by this eruption?
Phillip Elden: The ash that shot out from the eruption spread as far as Oklahoma. I think I’ve been addicted to this whole region ever since. I could definitely not live anywhere else.
Interviewing Experts: Are all the mountains volcanic?
Phillip Elden: No, there are both volcanic and non-volcanic mountains. The Cascades are included in the Pacific Ring of Fire, which consists of mountains and volcanoes positioned in the vicinity of the Pacific Ocean.
Interviewing Experts: What eruptions were those?
Phillip Elden: Lassen Peak experienced a major eruption during the 1910s, while Mount St. Helen went through its famous explosion in 1980.
Interviewing Experts: What is the most prominent feature of the Cascade Range?
Phillip Elden: The Cascade Range is perhaps best known for its series of tall volcanoes and lush evergreen forests.
Interviewing Experts: Are there noticeable differences depending on your location within the Cascade Range?
Phillip Elden: The North Cascades are notable for a large cluster of jagged and incredibly prominent peaks.
Interviewing Experts: As opposed to the South Cascades?
Phillip Elden: The snowy and rounded peaks of the various mountains dominate this part of the range for much of its length.
Interviewing Experts: What bodies of water are nearby?
Phillip Elden: Perhaps no mountain range in the entire world is split completely by a major river like the Cascade Range is by the Columbia River.
Interviewing Experts: This has been fascinating. Thanks for the info!
Phillip Elden: It’s my pleasure!
As president of the environmental organization Native Oregon, Phillip Elden is particularly interested in how mountainous regions will be protected by governmental agencies.