Mystery Rangers – Journey into Danger: Monster in the Valley

fall_leavesWild and Wonderful FIELD TRIP Series -  Part 2!

Discover amazing and dangerous secrets about Mt. St. Helens as you journey with Mystery Rangers into danger on this FREE virtual field trip!

Click here to see part 1….

The Adventures!Ran Jen flip

  •          Explore the dangerous Toutle River Valley below Mt. St. Helens – a volcano!
  •          Follow tracks and signs of wildlife.
  •         Get trapped in quicksand and learn how to survive!
  •        Discover “Rockin’ Ranger” activities for kids

Ranger jackWelcome to part two of Journey into Danger!  I’m glad you have chosen to continue this Wild and Wonderful field trip! As you travel down the trail toward the North Fork Toutle River Valley, be sure to take some pictures!

A Mossy Mystery!

Wow! Look at the moss on those trees!   Why do you think there is so much moss in this forest?  Check picture caption for clue

Forest - small

Mystery Clue: Trees along the trail to Toutle River Valley.   Average annual rainfall 140 inches…A LOT OF RAIN!

danger cropped

Danger Ahead!  Watch out!

Don’t get too close to that tree!  What is that gray blob on the tree? Why is it dangerous?

They buzz and they swarm.  They could do you harm! Don't make this fall.  This nest is 1 1/2 feet tall.

They buzz and they swarm. They could do you harm! Don’t make this fall. This nest is one and a half feet tall.

Did you Solve the Mystery? Good thing you had a zoom lens for taking this picture, because this is a hornet’s nest!  Let’s “buzz” on down the trail and not disturb this nest! There could be thousands of hornets inside!

Toutle River Valley!

Whew! We finally made it down to the Toutle River Valley floor!  (You did a great job! That was a two mile hike!)

Mystery Object! What is that object sticking up out of the water? It has boards and it is pointed. Do you see it? 

House in mud - small

Solve the mystery — Look and see — what is buried behind the tree?

foot printsMystery Clue:  When Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, there was a SUPER HUGE landslide!  The heat from the eruption melted TONS of snow on top of the mountain.   The melted snow and landslide rushed down the mountain and through the Toutle River Valley in the form of a MONSTER MUDFLOW!

Did you Solve the Mystery?  If you guessed the object was a roof top – then you are a “top notch” detective!  This house was partially buried in the Monster Mudflow that swept down the Toutle River!

Keep Hiking!  Let’s walk further down the valley to dry ground.

Valley floor - small

Mystery Forest of Dead Trees:

A phantom forest!  Wow!  Why are all these trees dead?  Are you “stumped?”

Mystery Clues:   The blast from Mt. St. Helens reached up to 17 miles on the North side of the volcano! The damage to trees could be divided into three zones:

  • Tree Removal Zone (No Trees Left)
  • Blow Down Zone (Trees blown over)
  • Scorch Zone (Trees were standing but scorched)

*Which zone do these trees fit?

Bonus Mystery Clue:  Mud is still coming down from Mt. St. Helens – causing additional trees to die.

Did you Solve the Mystery? If you guessed these trees are dead because they are in the “Scorch Zone,” – Excellent detective work — you are “barking up the right tree!”  Another reason some of these trees are dead is because they were buried in the mudflow.  Excellent detective work!

Elk eats plant - small

Mystery Muncher! Who has been munching on this plant?

Mystery Clue:  When Mt. St. Helens erupted, many animals and plants were destroyed! Scientists predicted animal and plant communities would NOT come back quickly. However, life returned to Mt. St. Helens quickly!

Take a closer look!  The mystery muncher left its tracks near the plant! This track looks like a deer track, but it is much bigger!

Elk track - small

Did you Solve the Mystery? If you guessed – Elk – you are an excellent track-tective!  Way to go!  Scientists thought elk would take many years to return to Mt. St. Helens. Surprise! Elk returned in just two years!

Field Trip Verse:      7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? Job 12:7-9

ImageRockin’ Ranger Kid’s Activity:  

Create your own Monster Mudflow T-shirt!  Check out this cool and super muddy activity on the link below… Scroll down to the Mudflow Activity and click on it.  (It may take a minute to load.)

Monster Mudflow T-Shirt

* If you make a Monster Mudflow T-shirt, send in a picture of it, and I will put it in the “4 Kidz by Kidz section!

To be continued…Check out the next post to continue this field trip into danger —

  Click here to continue the adventure in part 3 — Robbers & Howlers…

              IF YOU DARE!



About Kimberly Guthrie

Kimberly Guthrie loves adventures in the outdoors. National Park Ranger, Outdoor instructor, curriculum writer, teacher and guide at Mount St. Helens’ Seven Wonders Museum are some of her life adventures. Kim continues to write and teach about the outdoors. Currently, she serves as outdoor education consultant for Allaso Ranch near Hawkins, Texas. Kim holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from University of Central Arkansas and a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Case of the Missing Mountain, Creation, Education, Exploring Nature, Mount St. Helen's, Mystery Rangers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mystery Rangers – Journey into Danger: Monster in the Valley

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Edition “Mystery Rangers – Journey Into Danger!” | The Nature Tour

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