The Hiking Adventure

Michelle awoke very early one Saturday morning and, although she usually slept in on Saturday mornings, she sprang from her bed and rushed to look out the window. The sun was already shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. She almost shouted with joy, because she knew that she and Karen would be able to go on the hike that they had been planning all week.

Michelle didn't really shout for joy because she didn't want to wake up anyone else in the house. Everyone in her family liked to sleep in on Saturday mornings and everyone would yell at her if she woke them up. But she did want to make sure that she and Karen got an early start on their hike, so she crept down stairs and phoned Karen's house.

The phone rang three times before a very sleepy voice said: "Hello." As soon as she heard Karen's dad's sleepy voice, Michelle realized that, although she may not have wakened any of her family, she had probably wakened all of Karen's family. Fortunately, Karen's dad didn't yell at Michelle. He probably felt like yelling at her, but was far too polite. When Michelle said that she wanted to talk to Karen about getting an early start on their hike, Karen's dad didn't seem to mind calling her to the phone.

Karen popped right out of bed when her dad told her who was on the phone. She didn't want to miss a minute of the day that she had been dreaming about all week.

Michelle and Karen agreed to meet at Winks store in one hour. They also agreed on how they would dress and what each would bring to eat and drink.

When they met at Winks, both girls looked like experienced hikers. They wore peaked caps and sun-glasses, and carried backpacks filled with things that they might need. They had rain ponchos, sun-screen, matches, and lots of snacks and drinks. Since they had each decided to bring three loonies, they decided that would Karen would buy a roll of mints and that Michelle would buy a package of bubble-gum to add to their supplies.

Each girl's dad had given his daughter two quarters. One was to be used to call home at noon to let the parents know how they were doing, and the other was to be used only in case of an emergency.

Their parents had told the girls that they must stay on the trails, and that they were to be home no later than 5:00 P.M. Since it was only 8:30 A.M. when they headed down towards the river valley, on a well-marked trail, they knew that they had lots of time.

It was a perfect day. The girls enjoyed the exercise, the scenery and, most of all, each other's company. They collected little wild flowers, pretty leaves and unusual pebbles. They chased butterflies, and each other. They stopped often to admire the view and to enjoy some of their "munchies."

By noon the girls had reached Emily Murphy Park. They both phoned home to let their families know that they were fine. Then they made a fire in one of the fireplaces, and roasted the best hot-dogs they'd ever tasted. After lunch they did a little exploring around the park. They ended up in the playground.

Even though the girls felt that they were a little old for the playground, there were no kids using it sooo. . . . . they had a wonderful time. They giggled, laughed and shouted like little kids as they played on the slides, swings and climbing equipment. They had a ball.

By the time they were played out, it was almost three o'clock, so they packed up quickly and started heading back down the trail that would take them home.

Michelle and Karen walked quickly and were half-way home well before four o'clock. That's when both girls heard some funny, sad, "snuffly" sounds coming from under a little bridge over a small ravine. They thought that someone may have fallen down the hill and been injured, so Michelle called: "Is anyone down there?" There was no answer, but the pathetic sounds continued

Both girls were frightened about what they might find, but decided that one of them would have to climb down the steep hill to have a look. The other would stay at the top to get help if it was needed. They both wanted to climb down, so they had to toss a coin to see who would make the descent. Karen won the toss and started carefully down a little path on the side of the gully.

When she reached the bottom, it didn't take her long to find what was making the sad sounds. It was a tiny deer whining beside her mother. The mother did not move as Karen picked up the tiny deer and tried to make it feel safe. Karen could see an arrow sticking out of the mother's neck and a trail of blood running down into the creek. Karen knew the mother had been shot and left to die.

Although the baby deer wasn't very heavy, Karen knew that she would not be able to get up the hill without being able to use both arms. What was she to do?

Fortunately Karen was still wearing her back-pack, so she emptied it out while she worked out a plan. First, she called up to Michelle to let her know that she was alright and would soon be back up with a surprise.

Karen took her Swiss Army knife and opened up the seams at the bottom corners of her pack. Next, she carefully fit the little deer's hind legs through the holes so that her little rump was on the bottom of the pack and her head and front legs were sticking out the top. Very carefully, Karen sat down and backed up to her pack so the the deer's front legs were around her neck, and her hind legs were around Karen's waist.

It took Karen a while to get the straps hooked up securely, but she was soon ready to start up the hill with her strange burden. She tied her poncho around her waist and stuffed her knife, sunscreen, and remaining food, in her pockets, before starting her difficult climb.

It really was a hard climb, but Karen knew that it was important to get the deer to a veterinarian soon. The little faun seemed very weak. She may have been lying by her dead mother for days without milk or water. Even though every muscle in Karen's body complained, she climbed steadily until she reached Michelle.

Michelle could hardly believe what she saw. She was thrilled that they had heard the little deer's cries, but was very sad about the mother.

Then it was Michelle's turn to carry the deer. The girls met several other hikers on the trail and, of course, they had to hear all about the sad story. That slowed the girls down a bit, so they were a few minutes late getting home.

They didn't have to worry about being scolded for being late. Their parents were very proud of them for following up on the pitiful sounds from the deer and working out a rescue plan. Even though Karen went off the trail without permission she knew that her parents would approve of her actions.

Karen's dad drove the girls and the deer straight to a veterinary clinic, The little deer, who the girls had named "MIKA," (guess how they got that name? That's right, the first two letters of each girl's name.) was soon sucking noisily on a bottle of warm milk. Mika was hungry, but healthy.

The veterinarian phoned the Children's Zoo and they told her that they would be glad to look after the little deer until she could be released back into the wild. The veterinarian also phoned the police station and reported the death of the mother deer. The officer said that they had recently questioned a young man carrying a bow and arrow near that area and had taken his name. They promised to get right on the case.

The police did find out who killed the mother deer and the young man was fined five hundred dollars and ordered to work every week-end, for a year, at the SPCA Animal Shelter.

Karen and Michelle were given a pass so that they could get into the Children's Zoo anytime it was open so they could visit Mika. They visited her often, and Mika always came running over to greet them.

When Mika was released, the girls missed her very much, but they knew that they had given her a chance to live the life that she was born to live. Without Michelle and Karen this would not likely have happened.

Good times and good deeds often go together.
 
 

Copyright  Bill Rollans 1994   All rights reserved.
illustration by Tom Lore (age 16)
 
 

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