A Trip to Mount St. Helens

Last Friday I braved a field trip to Mount St. Helens with 300 8th graders! I have been finishing the year by filling in for an 8th grade teacher who went on medical leave. One of her projects (that she adores) is an all grade field trip up the volcano. I’ll have to admit, it was a tiring project, but was a good experience. Luckily the teacher was still able to do a bunch of the work (like make the packets and decide on group), but taking care of everything at the school was quite involved. It is nice to be over with it. That being said, it really was an awesome field trip. I definitely hope the kids learned a bunch, I know I did!

We first went to Coldwater Lake Recreation area and walked their interpretive trail. Coldwater Lake was created after the 1980 eruption and all the debris it ejected.

After that we walked the Hummocks Trail (2.5 miles). The Hummocks Trail walks through the 1980 eruption avalanche area (a 5.1 magnitude earth quake triggered an avalanche that traveled 13 miles down the Toutle River). The hike is fairly easy (even for 8th graders) and is filled with gorgeous views, giant (and numerous) hummocks, and extremely interesting information about that fateful day. Yes, learning can be fun! :) The view of the Toutle River Valley is quite interesting because the river has been slowly eroding all the deposited material left by the eruption.

Finally we made it up to Johnston Ridge Observatory. Let me tell you, the day was perfect. You never know what will happen at JRO. Johnston Ridge looks directly into the north wall opening into the crater but on cloudy days (of which there are plenty) you can’t see too much. But Friday was completely clear and offered absolutely gorgeous views! Their video presentation opened up to a perfectly clear view of the growing volcano! I was amazed how much the crater has grown in the last few years. The south wall, the whaleback, has especially had some tremendous growth.

You should read the Wikipedia article on the 1980 eruption, it is pretty informative and offers links to other good sites.

See below for a few more images or check out my Flickr set for more pictures from our day: A Trip to Mount St. Helens.

A group of kids at one of the stops on Coldwater Lake overlooking Mount St. Helens.

Hiking the Hummocks Trail.

Still hiking the trial.

The North face of Mount St. Helens from Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Categories: Blogging
  1. Nancy
    June 5th, 2008 at 19:53 | #1

    Wow, it looks like you had a beautiful day for the trip. Still hard for me to go back there after living at the base of it for 4 summers - and remembering the eruption right after celebrating your first birthday!!
    Aren’t field tips fun??!!

  1. June 1st, 2008 at 23:28 | #1
  2. June 15th, 2008 at 05:35 | #2
  3. September 9th, 2009 at 10:14 | #3
  4. February 15th, 2010 at 19:53 | #4

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