Sunday, August 7, 2016

Natalie's Adventure

Natalie was a Harbor Explorer at Piers Park last week, and she is easily the most imaginative person that we've met all summer. When she wasn't playing games or catching crabs, she was creating her own adventures, and I had a great time accompanying her on some of her incredible and dangerous quests, where we were constantly met with nearly impossible obstacles.

Our first quest landed us in the middle of the Amazonian Rainforest in pursuit of the invaluable treasure that is the Golden Chocolate Gateau. Some considered this prize a myth, purely tall tales, but we persisted. After our helicopter dropped us off and we trekked many miles into the jungle, we were faced with our first challenge: a long area of bark mulch and trees that Natalie called Leech River. We found a suitable craft to float over on, but in the middle of the waterway, I dropped my paddle, leaving us in terrible danger. Now, the only way to cross was to wade through the monster filled waters, which we did fairly easily, but when we stepped out of the muck, Natalie noticed that we were covered in leeches! They were gigantic, and covered us from head to toe. We brushed those suckers off and got out of there as fast as we could. 

After only a few yards when we stopped to catch our breath, everything was totally calm...too calm. The silence around us was impenetrable. No birds sang or squawked, no creatures lurked nearby, and the leaves above us were motionless. All that we could hear were our own hard breaths as we bent over in exhaustion. We thought that we had escaped all danger, but then Natalie looked up and over at me, and noticed that half of my body was under ground, and so was hers. It was quicksand! I panicked, climbing and clawing in an attempt to escape, but Natalie was more knowledgeable than I. She informed me that the more that a person moves in quicksand, the faster they sink. I was now up to my neck in trouble, but Natalie stayed calm. She reached up, grabbed a branch above her, and slowly pulled herself from the mud. She then found a vine and tossed it to me. My hands were completely consumed in the sand, so she again, used her intelligence and attempted to throw the plant near my mouth so that I could hold on with my teeth. The first throw was aimed with precision and landed in reach of my bite. Then, her strength was no match for the quicksand, and in just a few minutes I was pulled to safety. It was a traumatizing experience, and I was shaken up. The sun was almost down now, so we decided to pitch our tents and spend the night next to the sinking death trap, where no predators dare go near. 

 photo IMG9505421_zpskn4nd5yl.jpgThe next morning was hot and muggy, and as we ventured on, it only got hotter. We had to walk very carefully because the nearby volcano was spewing thin stream of lava towards us. We were constantly looking below us at the ground to avoid any injury, but as we maintained our single focus, more trouble appeared. Suddenly, from behind us came a loud and fierce ROAR. We quickly turned around and saw a number of other Harbor Explorers acting as lions, and tigers, and panthers, and zebras, and cobras, and any other animal that they wanted to be. Natalie and I ran, but the creatures were faster than us and had us cornered. Luckily for me, Natalie was a master at Kung-Fu, and I had my trusty squirt gun by my side. There was an epic battle between predators and prey. Natalie scared most of them off with her jumps and flips and kicks, but not before I was bitten! We had to wait two weeks before I was fully healed and could continue our journey. 

Natalie pinpointed on the map that we were very close to the Golden Chocolate Gateau. We crept through the forest, more wearily now, and eventually made it to the Cave of Doom, which was filled with booby traps.  The ground was solid, but we still stepped lightly, trying to hinder any trouble. I was a bit in front of Natalie now, and as I stepped again, my foot opened a trap door, which caused a chain reaction and made the rest of the floor in front of us crumble. I fell and grabbed the cliffs edge, holding on for dear life. Again, Natalie saved me, pulling me up to safety. After some observation and thought, Natalie decided that we could climb our way across the huge gap, using divots in the wall as our support. It was tiring work, but we both made it across to the other side. 

And there it was, the Golden Chocolate Gateau right before our eyes, shimmering with diamonds and rubies and other valuable gems. We had done it. We spent the night in that cave, basking in our glory, but after the night's stay, we realized that we had to make the venture back to the helipad and our joy was quickly diminished. More danger was in our futures. 

We again climbed across the Cave of Doom, battled vicious animals, crept over lava, avoided quicksand, and floated over Leech River to our destiny, where the helicopter and pilot were waiting. Natalie decided that we would take a few trillion dollars each and donate the other quadrabatillions of dollars to charities. Now, we are world famous and everyone loves us. No big deal. 

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