The top had a spring and… there it was five treasure chests full of 5,000,000 pieces of gold. There was only one thing that startled the girls… a skeleton staring straight at them. *This is my master, the ghost* the dragon thought to Mellisa. “Oooooooooooh” The skeleton moaned. Suddenly, a faded man was lying in the skeleton. I’m the ghost of Badlands Mountain, my name is not important but I will tell you anyway. I am Charles Goff the 3rd.” A jolt of energy ran through Mellisa’s body. Why did she recognize that name! “Wait, are you Charles Henry Goff?” asked Mellisa. “So, you’ve heard of me.” “You’re… Ana’s dad!” “Yes, I am. I came searching for this treasure right after she was born . I’ve wanted to see my little darling since but have been unable to. I’ve only seen her once.” “What if we bring her to you instead?” asked Mellisa “would you!? You can use the dragon to get there and back!” replied the ghost. “Yes we will. See you in a little while with your wife and your daughter.” said Kristiana. The girls climbed back on the dragon to go to Wall in search of Ana and her mother.
It took about twenty minutes to fly from the Mountain. The whole town was alarmed at the sight of the blue dragon. “Wait! We’ve come in safety” shouted Mellisa. “We’re looking for Ana and her Mom.” Ana and her mom made it to the front. “What do you want?” “We have a surprise. Get on!” answered Kristiana. Ana and her mom climbed on and they immediately took off. “I can see the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation! It’s much bigger than I thought it was!” exclaimed Ana. “Wow!” said Ana when they got to the top. “What is that!?” she exclaimed as she noticed the skeleton. “That’s what we needed to show you” said Mellisa. “Just wait and watch it” Ana and her mom’s eyes widened when they saw Charles. “Charles!?” asked her Mom. “It’s me Sandy.” “Daddy!” yelled Ana when she saw him. Both Ana and her mom ran over to hug him. “Thank you girls!” Charles told Mellisa and Kristiana. When Ana and her mom were finished talking with Charles, they returned home to Wall. Mellisa had just one last thing to say: “So that’s the whole secret of Badlands Mountain. The mystery is solved!” An adventure of a lifetime for Kristiana and Mellisa.
The next morning, Kristiana couldn’t wait to begin their adventure up Badlands Moutain. Finally it was 6:00 a.m. the agreed upon meeting time so she went to meet Mellisa at the Yellow Mounds. Mellisa was already there. “Well, Good Morning. Are you ready?” “As ready as I’ll ever be!” Kristiana said excitedly. “Well let’s start our journey then. I hope we live to tell about this someday, even if we don’t make it to the top. We would have at least tried.”
Mellisa lead them on their way on the trail to the top of Badlands Mountain. The first boulder came crashing down just five minutes after they started climbing. “That was fast! I wasn’t prepared for boulders this soon. Oww! I caught a bone in my foot. Give me a few minutes to get up… Ok let’s go!” “That was faster than I had predicted.” commented Kristiana. “It must have not been to bad an injury.” “I brought some herbal medicine from Ancient Hunters overlook that we collected yesterday” replied Mellisa. “The Ancient hunters used this same remedy when they were wounded. Now let’s move a little faster to try and avoid some of these boulders. Just let me know if you get tired!” “Ok.” Kristiana said.
Shortly after the first boulders they saw the first trap.”Watch out!” screamed Mellisa. “That’s the first trap. It’s a very small pit though so I think we can just jump over it. I’ll go first.” Mellisa jumped and got to the other side easily. “Now you jump over it.” Kristiana jumped but this time, a giant plant leaped out of the pit and ate her. “No! I will kill you plant!” Using her strength, Mellisa snapped the plant at the base and raised the head up so she could get Kristiana back. She pried opened the mouth and pulled Kristiana out. Fortunately Kristiana was fine, just a little slimy. “That’s just the first trap, and the easiest. So try to be a little more careful next time” said Mellisa. The girls continued on with their journey.
Finally, after hours of avoiding traps and boulders, the girls got to the middle of the mountain. Mellisa was the first to sense the dragon was coming and wasn’t very far away. “Here comes the hardest part, making friends with a dragon…”Sure enough, a blue dragon came zipping around the corner. Using her powers of persuasion, Mellisa started to communicate with the dragon. *We are not your enemies, we just want to become friends* The dragon slowed to a stop in front of them. *You can communicate with me!? Very well then, I may like you, and we can be friends* *Can you take us to the top please, we just want to see it, even if there is a treasure we don’t care about it. We just want to see what the top looks like* *Well, you could be trying to trick me, but you seem like very nice girls I could trust. I guess I could fly you up to the top. Climb up on to my back* *Oh, Thank you sooo much!* The girls got onto the dragons back and took off for the top. They felt the nice breeze in their faces as the dragon gliding up the mountain. ”I can see the White River Valley from here!” Shouted Kristiana “And I can see Castle trail, that’s the trail we took to the mountain!” They zipped around corners, into tunnels, and then finally they flew towards the top of the mountain. The dragon made a jolt upward towards the top.
It was a wonderful day in Badlands National Park. Two girls, Mellisa and Kristiana were racing to Ben Reifel Visiter Center when Mellisa spotted the eerie peaks of Badlands Mountain! Sliding to a stop Mellisa said “Hey! Kristiana, have you ever seen that big mountain before?” “No!” she exclaimed, “It’s called Badlands Mountain. Have you heard the stories about that place?” asked Mellisa. “No, should I know about them?” responded Kristiana. “Are you kidding me?! I’ve talked about the tales of Badlands Mountain with some of my friends! Ok, I have to explain the rumors of this place.” “How many stories are there?” asked Kristiana. “There are four stories in all but I’ll just tell you the main one for now” Replied Mellisa. “Ok” Kristiana said.
Mellisa started: “So, there are rumored to be 5,000,000 pieces of gold at the top put there by ancient mammoth hunters who mysteriously disappeared on top of Badlands Mountain. Many have attempted to climb to the top in search of this gold but only one is said to have made it – Charles Goff the 3rd.” “You mean Ana’s dad?” Kristiana asked. Ana was one of their friends back in the little town of Wall. Mellisa continued “Yes, that’s the one and he has never returned. Many people believe he found the gold and headed for California. Others believe he was killed by a ghost that watches over this treasure waiting for the mammoth hunters to return. Do you want to know why it’s called Badlands Mountain?” asked Mellisa. “Of Course!” Responded Kristiana with a puzzled look. “Boulders fall suddenly on top of anyone who even tries to climb the mountain. People say the ghost pushes them. If the boulders are not successful in keeping away an intruder, he summons the big dragon to help guard his treasure. Anyone who gets even close to the middle is said to be carried off by the dragon and never seen again.” “Wait, what dragon?” asked Kristiana.
“Have you heard any growling at night or even a flash of golden light?” Mellisa responded. “Yes but I was always told it’s just my imagination?” said Kristiana. “It’s not your imagination!” exclaimed Mellisa. “It’s the dragon warning people during the night.” “Well that dragon did a good job, it sure scared me!” replied Kristiana. Mellisa continued, “Yes, anyway every year at least one person attempts to find that treasure and never returns. It is assumed they die because they are never seen again. There is another person that almost made it to the top but just as he reached the peak the dragon swooped down and knocked him down all the way to the bottom. The poor man lost most of his memory so we still don’t know what it looks like up there! I just wish I could see it. Anyway, besides the boulders and dragon, there are secret traps such as poisonous snake pits, and hidden caves. So it’s impossible to get to the top alive!” announced Mellisa. So, do you get the main point, if you even try to do it, you’ll fail and never be heard from again. So don’t get any ideas!”
“But you’re not a normal person” said Kristiana “you have abilities that I have not seen in anyone else. What if you use your powers to protect us, and to become friends with the dragon and the ghost, you could use the dragon to fly up…” “NO! My powers are limited. We could die trying!” replied Mellisa. “But if anybody has a chance to get to the top you do” said Kristiana. Mellisa responded “You do have a good point… If we spend the rest of this day gather the necessary items we could climb Badlands Mountain tomorrow. Fine we’ll leave in the morning. But if I need help you have to do exactly what I tell you, do you understand?” asked Mellisa “Yes I do! Thank you sooooooooo much! I’ve wanted to go on an adventure my whole life, especially a dangerous one!” Kristiana replied “You want to die!?” Mellisa asked. “No! I just want a really cool adventure!” said Kristiana “Oh, I see. Well we better get started on packing our supplies” Said Mellisa and off they went.
It was an awesome trip! We did so much when we were gone and in so little time. We had a chance to swim each day which was a lot of fun! I personally love to swim. The weather was nice too. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze so we weren’t too hot in the sun! Although when I got back everyone was telling me I was really tan! Of all of the islands Nassau, Bahamas was my favorite because we went swimming with the dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island through Dolphin Encounters.
We took a taxi to the Dolphin Encounters check-in and got our wrist bands/ tickets. From there we took a boat ride to Blue Lagoon Island where the dolphins are. The staff taught us a little about dolphin anatomy and dangers to wild dolphins. They don’t like to be scratched or patted, just rubbed on their back and stomach. Don’t go past the bellybutton though! One of the trainers talked about their bones in their pectoral fins which resemble a human hand. We also learned about how to tell if a dolphin is a boy or a girl. A boy dolphin has two slits and a girl has four slits below their bellybutton. Then, after all the information, we put on wet suits because the water was really cold! We also put on life jackets so we could float. It was also easier to swim without having to stay at the surface.
We climbed down a ladder to a platform and stuck our feet in the water. The trainers introduced the dolphins we swam with, Shawn and Goombay. We rubbed their bellies and backs. They have hard skin but it’s so smooth! Then the trainers said “get in the water” which was freezing cold at first! We got used to it though and had fun. The trainers called the first part a Date with a Dolphin because first we would hug one of the dolphins. Then we kissed the same one and they kiss us on the cheek. Then Shawn and Goombay would get a fish which they would give to us. We would give it back if we didn’t want it and the dolphins would eat it. Then we danced with our dolphin. We held the fins and the dolphin starts dancing with us! Then it’s one last hug goodbye. I got to go on my date with Goombay.
After everybody went on a date with either Shawn or Goombay we experienced the dolphin push. The trainers told one person at a time to swim to the starting point and lay flat on the surface with your feet bent down so the dolphins had a place to push us, and arms stretched out. Then a dolphin or two came and pushed us. You have to lift your arms for it to work. The dolphins would then push us through the water to the other side of the lagoon! It’s like water skiing without a boat because you start to lift up because of the speed! Our trainers told us the dolphins were pushing us 25 – 30 miles an hour. When we reached the end of the lagoon, the dolphins stopped pushing us and it’s like falling off a cliff because we stopped immediately and dropped back into the water. It goes so fast! It’s a one way trip though so we had to swim all the way back! I only had one dolphin which is harder because you have to balance on one leg instead of two! Once everyone went we got out of the water and took off the wetsuits and life jackets.
Then we went and looked around Blue Lagoon Island before we had to get on a boat to go back where we checked in. While looking around we saw an iguana, a cat, and shells and stuff in a touch table. Dolphin Encounters has a sea lion encounter too so we went to see the sea lions which was cool! I really liked that place, but then we had to go. So we took a boat back to Nassau and got back on the cruise ship. I miss Dolphin Encounters a lot; it’s something I’ll never forget! You can get more information about them at http://www.dolphinencounters.com/. I would go again! it’s a really cool experience! As they say “It’s a once in a life time experience!”
I am excited to go to Miami in this cold weather. Biscayne National Park looks and sounds really cool too. So it isn’t just to get away from the cold weather. Biscayne National park has a lot of things I would like to do and see. “It protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs.” according to their website. Now that sounds really interesting! It has 10,000 years of human history from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. I hope to see a lot of wildlife out there! I also would like to snorkel.
I like to look at the colors and designs of fish. I like blue fish the most though. I’ve never seen a manatee and would like to. There are many tiny creatures to look out for too. Boating would be fun too! I like to feel the breeze in the air. There would be a lot of breeze too according to the website. Camping would be cool but I don’t think we’ll be camping. Biscayne was established for its natural history! Almost every island at the park has evidence that the native people used it. As stated in the Biscayne National Park website: “underwater, shipwrecks lay as silent witnesses to one violent moment of time, having a promise of teaching us about our collective past.” I would like to see a shipwreck and see how I feel about the history. I like to learn about history whenever I get the chance. I’ve learned so much already. You could even hear the story of how the park got established from one of the people who actually made it happen! I would love to hear that story!
I will become a Junior Ranger for this park. You do a little booklet at your level and to complete it you have to venture around the park for the answers and use your knowledge. After completing it you get a badge with the parks name on it and if you’re a Girl Scout, or Boy Scout you can add patches to your vest or you can just get them for fun too if you aren’t! It is a really fun activity for kids and family. A glass bottom boat over Biscayne’s coral reef would be a great experience, but to see the reef well you would have to swim from the boat to the reef. It would not only be fun for me but a very good sight and experience. I don’t think anything could replace a trip to this park! You can learn so much from traveling in a fun and an exciting way, especially if you go as a family. That’s how I like to travel at least. Like I said, I am so excited for the trip and to see even more National Parks!
I am excited to tell you about my adventures, but first I would like to tell you about the National Park we’re going to. The Everglades must be a cool place because I’ve heard so many things about them. First of all, I’m traveling with my family so I’m not alone. Traveling is more fun for me if there is someone to travel with. I’m very excited to explore the Everglades and learn more. I love to learn about other places.
Everglades National Park is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states! Only Death Valley and Yellowstone National Park are larger. I am not surprised because it covers much of the southern tip of peninsular, Florida. It is 1,506,000 acres! I’ve been to this area before but never to the Everglades. It does surprise me that it ranks with the planets most important natural areas. It must be a cool place to visit but that’s not all! There are all kinds of animals too! There are all kinds of birds, alligators, crocodiles, bald eagles (cool!), and endangered panthers hoping to track white-tailed deer! I never knew they had endangered animals there! I hope we see, if not all, many.
This park was established December 1947, when Harry S. Truman was president. That was About 63 years ago! That seems like a really long time to me.
I hope we go to The Ten Thousand Islands (that’s a lot of islands!), The Royal Palm, and The Shark valley. SHARK VALLEY! I wonder if it’s where you can see or feel the sharks. I bet it is because the National Park goes into the Atlantic Ocean, and The Gulf Of Mexico. There’s also the Florida Bay, and The Whitewater Bay. There’s even an Everglades city right next to the boarder of The National Park! That’s really cool! I hope we have a lot of fun! Of course we will! I hope you can travel there too. It sounds really cool!