Mystery Rangers – Journey into Danger: The Trap – Part 4

Fall-Leaves-beautiful smallWild and Wonderful Field Trip Series!  Part 4

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

The Adventures!Image (2) small

  •       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.

 Click here to see part 3.

danger croppedWelcome to part four, the final adventure of Journey into Danger on this Wild and Wonderful field trip!  You have been a great detective on this trip! However, you are probably a little tired from hiking.  The Toutle River runs through this valley.  It would be a great place to take a break!

Warning!  There is danger here…

Toutle River - small


Take a Break:  You can rest in the shade by the river – but be very careful!

You decide to go wading:  The river is beautiful, and you are hot from the journey, so you decide to go wading in the edge of the river.  The water is only about five inches deep, so it should be safe — right?

Trapped in Danger!  You take a couple of steps into the river. The cool water feels wonderful! On your next step, you suddenly plunge knee deep into the mud!  As you are pulled down into the mud, you realize this is not ordinary mud! You are trapped in QUICKSAND!

How do you get out of Quicksand?  What do you do?

Mystery Clue from the Author:  Read this true story about how my husband and I got trapped in quicksand in the Toutle River to help you discover how to get out of quicksand.


Peeking through - smallTrapped and sinking fast!   We were going to die right below the mountain that I loved and had even written a book about!    “The Case of the Missing Mountain”  

No!  This shouldn’t be happening!  My mind whirled through articles and books I had read, grasping for information on how to get out of QUICKSAND

Earlier in the day we had set out for a hiking adventure in the Toutle River Valley, below Mt. St. Helens, in Washington.  Hiking toward the valley on the lush forested trails, we could hardly see any signs of the violent eruption of Mt. St. Helens that occurred May 18, 1980.  However, the devastation was clear once we reached the valley floor.  Standing dead trees decorated the valley floor as far as the eye could see.   Sections of the valley were dry as a desert and covered with ash and pumice, yet other sections were covered with shallow water, mud, and small streams.

Feeling almost like the explorers Lewis and Clark, my husband and I continued our expedition into the devastation.   Skirting the muck and mire of the swampy area, we spotted the tip of a roof sticking out of the mud – a reminder of the mud flow from Mt. St. Helens that surged at super speed down through the Toutle River Valley.

Glancing down at the ash covered earth, I was surprised to see LOTS of animal tracks of elk, coyote, raccoon, and birds!  After Mt. St. Helens erupted, scientists thought it could be a very LONG time before life returned to the devastated area – yet – life returned very quickly!   In fact, elk returned to the area in the astounding time of just two years!

As we continued exploring the valley, evidence of the return of life was everywhere.   Flowers, plants and trees were pushing their way up through the mud and ash and were making a HUGE come back.  However, life in the shadow of a volcano can be very dangerous.  The constant erosion from Mt. St. Helens has created a challenging environment for these plants and trees to survive.

This constant erosion also created another menace that we discovered the hard way – QUICKSAND! Near the end of the day, hot and tired, we hiked to the Toutle River to cool off. I waded in water about five inches deep to sit on a large log.  I dangled my feet in the water and called for my husband to come join me.

The bright and beautiful adventure quickly turned deadly when I heard him yell for help.  I turned and saw him buried knee deep and sinking in quicksand!  He needed help!  Maybe I could reach his hand!  I took a couple of steps off the log over the area I had just walked on and I sank into the quicksand too! Now we were both in trouble!

Realizing quickly that I needed to create more surface area on the fluid sand/ash, I fell forward.  My husband did too.  It worked! The added surface area allowed us to pull our legs out of the quicksand and crawl flat on our stomachs over to the bank and get out!  Whew!  We were very glad to be alive!  I know that God preserved our lives that day.

The rest of our explorations around Mt. St. Helens were fun-filled and also action packed!  I highly recommend a trip to this awe-inspiring mountain.  I would even recommend exploring the Toutle River Valley – just don’t go too close to the river

Quicksand - small

This is where we got trapped in quicksand. Notice how the bank of the river caved off too – lower right corner.

Middle of picture – Water filled in this hole quickly where my husband had been trapped in quicksand.

Middle of picture – Water filled in this hole quickly where my husband had been trapped in quicksand.

Our backpacks and cell phones could have been the only things found if we had not escaped the quicksand.

Our backpacks and cell phones would have been the only things found if we had not escaped the quicksand.

Mystery Answer:  Reading our story can give you a clue on how to get out of quicksand.  However, it could save your life one day to also read this article on:

How to get out of Quicksand

Field Trip Verse:   He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. “ Psalms 40:2. 

ImageRockin’ Ranger Kid’s activity:   Create your own QUICKSAND!     Experiment With Quicksand!


** To learn more about Mt. St. Helens and discover more AMAZING Creation Mysteries uncovered when the mountain blew, check out:

The Case of the Missing Mountain

written by Kim Jones

Thanks for joining this “Journey into Danger” field trip!  I would love to hear from you about adventures that you have experienced!  Send your adventures to me.  I would love to share them on this blog!








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, Mysteries, Mystery Rangers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mystery Rangers – Journey into Danger: The Trap – Part 4

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Edition “Mystery Rangers – Journey into Danger: Robbers & Howlers” | The Nature Tour

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