The mountain's most famous eruption in 1980 occurred on my third birthday; I still recall thinking it was snowing (when it was actually ash). As a result of this connection between the eruption and my birthday, a dream of mine had always been to summit Mount Saint Helens.
On September 2, 2008, I had the day off work. I decided to use the day for climbing Mount Saint Helens, and I purchased the permit for that purpose. This was the rockiest and sandiest (or should I say "ashiest"?) route I had ever climbed up a mountain, until that point. I was fortunate enough to be hiking the mountain on a gorgeous day with spectacular scenery.
When I reached the crater rim, seeing the devastation of the 1980 eruption up-close, it made the entire trip worth it. To see the geological activity still occurring within the crater really makes an impression of just active the mountain still is/was. To see the middle and north sections of mountain missing from the 1980 eruption, from the vantage point of the crater rim, really makes an impression of just how powerful the eruption was. I continued following the crater rim to the true summit, which I reached shortly after 9:00 AM.