The brave explorers continued walking deeper into the woods the trees seemed taller with massive branches reaching wide and high into the sky. The leaves of the trees were so high they appeared to form a canopy high above them. The upper levels were alive and the branches were full of birds flying around and squirrels chasing one another. Below along the trail chipmunks scurried along fallen trees and noisily ran through old dry leaves, it was like another world as if the children had been accepted and deemed safe.
Rounding a bend in the road it began to rise up a steep hill. The travelers had to work very hard as they climbed the steep hill. Large gnarled roots protruded above the soil and stretched across the lane, they reminded Mandy of ugly witch's fingers with the grotesque knots looking like knuckles, but all twisted. It made her feel as though at any moment a root would reach up and grab one of them. Fortunately, the roots did provide a natural step and hand holds to aid in the climbing, but Mandy still couldn't shake the chill that ran down her back every time she'd reach down to grab one of those ugly roots.
Sometimes the road was so steep the children used the roots to hold on to too keep from falling backwards. Austin the smallest and quickest was in the lead climbing and he looked back and yelled, "I don't think Dad's tractor could get up this hill." The girls too exhausted to try and talk just nodded their heads in reply. Austin reached the top of the hill first and began to dance around singing, "boys rule, girls drool." Mandy glared at her brother but was too tired to pursue any retribution. Suddenly, Austin pointed and yelled, "Look! Look it's the creek. We're almost there!" One at a time the girls reached the summit and there was no mistaking they had found the right creek for even as far down as it was the explorers could see the fast running water.
The creek was ten or fifteen feet wide and was shallow where the road crossed. Mr. Phile had told the children where the road crossed the creek it's called a ford, which means a shallow place to walk across.
"Race Ya!" Yelled Austin as he bounded down the hill towards the creek. "Wait!" Yelled the two girls as they tried to catch up to Austin. They had to be careful because there were still a lot of tree roots crossing the path, but none the less it was a lot easier going down than up. Austin reached the creek first and fell down in the cool grass shaded by a nearby tree. Mandy and Melissa made it to the creek at the same time and stopped, they were trying to catch their breath. "Let's take a break here," suggested Mandy. "Good idea Mandy I'm tired, thirsty and a little hungry," said Melissa.
The girls found a rock next to the creek that was flat on top and large enough that the two of them could sit and eat a snack. At the bottom of the hill the trees had thinned and they could finally see more sky than leaves. Far above the girls an eagle gently floated in a giant circle intrigued, but not fearful of the strange new visitors below. Without hesitation the eagle let out its mournful cry to the intruders far below, but its warning was lost to a sea of green meadows and trees. The three weary travelers far too busy chatting too ever hear the warning given by the sentinel far above.
Austin busy walking along the banks of the creek was intent on finding a crayfish or lizard, or for that matter anything slimy that might scare the girls. Suddenly, he spots an unusual small gray rock under the water in a calm section near the bank of the creek. He removes the rock to examine it and realized that if it is a rock, it's an odd shaped rock, because of its triangle and sharp edges.
"Hey Mandy, Melissa come here. Look what I found," called Austin. The two girls jumped down from their perch and ran to see what Austin had found. Austin opened his hand to reveal his treasure. Mandy gasped. "That's an Indian arrow head. Are you sure?" Asked Melissa. "I'm pretty sure, at least it looks like the one I saw in a picture in one of my Dads books," replied Mandy. "The Indian's chipped the arrow heads from stone that's why the surface is rough with dimples. The ideal stone they liked to use is flint because it chips easier and has a sharp edge," stated Mandy. "Dad explained how the Indians made the arrows and he said that Indians use to live around here hundreds of years ago.
"Do you suppose there's any Indians liven around here now?" Gulped Austin as he looked over his shoulder. "No silly," replied Melissa. "Ok, if you say so, but if it's all the same to you guys I'm going to keep a close eye out," warned Austin as he stuffed his new found treasure deep inside his pants pocket. "I can't wait to show Dad what I found. It is pretty cool," agreed Melissa. "Do you think there are any more?" Asked Melissa. "Probably, but we'll have to look some other time if we're going to find that Cabin today," replied Mandy.
The children followed the path along the creek, sometimes jumping from rock to rock to avoid stepping into mud. A large tree struck down by lighting or a windstorm lay across the path and they had to climb over the tree to continue down the path. All the while the water in the stream was unrelenting quickly flowing by cascading over rocks and logs looking cool and inviting to the weary explorers.
Not only was the look of the water flowing pristine. The sound of the water had a lulling effect and all three children were deep in their own thoughts, when all of sudden there came a load crashing noise from a thick grove of underbrush. "Indians!" Screamed Austin. Melissa and Mandy froze in place not knowing where to run, while Austin dove behind a tree just as a frightened deer dashed out of the brush and leaped over the creek bolting past the two paralyzed girls. Both girls snapped their head in the direction the deer ran and watched as the white underside of the deer's tail waved back and forth.
"Austin!" Yelled Mandy. "Are your all right?" SheepishlyAustin stepped out from behind his hiding place. "Are you all right," asked Mandy. "Yea I'm ok. Good night that scared me," stated Austin. Me too," sighed Melissa. "All I know, Austin you gotta stop thinking about Indians you nearly scared Melissa out of her pants," snapped Mandy as she tried to hide her own fear. Melissa looked up at Mandy and said, "I wasn't scared. Well, I wasn't either," agreed Mandy. "Me neither," chimed Austin. The three children looked at one another and broke out into a chorus of laughter quickly forgetting their fear. "Come on you guys we have to keep moving," chided Mandy.