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By : Annalise Erwin and Emily Whaley

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1 By : Annalise Erwin and Emily Whaley
A Trip To The Tiaga By : Annalise Erwin and Emily Whaley

2 Annalise’s Poem The windy breeze Sends the prickly pine trees Flying in the wind. The squirrels scamper Round’ the trees Like big and furry angry bees. In hope of food, A snowshoe rabbit Hops my way, But turns around In great dismay. The sun was light Now the stars are bright. My eyes are weepy. I’m very sleepy. I pull a branch over my head, I close my eyes. Now I’m a human… In disguise.

3 Emily’s Poem Taiga A thicket of trees Animals make noises A very mysterious place Woodland

4 Day 1 – Emily’s Journal Today we fell about 20 feet from a helicopter and crashed into the waiting arms of a prickly pine tree. Annalise landed hard on her pinky finger and couldn’t move it because of the pain. I helped her bandage it up with an oak leaf, and tied it with some string we brought. I climbed down the tree and stepped onto the soft, spongy ground, littered with decaying pine needles. Under the needles was a thick layer of dark green moss. I called to Annalise, telling her to come down. We were both tired and hungry, but we had yet to make shelter and set up camp. Later: we wandered through endless pine trees, oaks, and birches for what seemed like hours. When we finally came across a winding stream, Annalise and I both sighed with relief. As we walked closer, Annalise’s stomach growled. I jumped with surprise as we heard an answering growl. We had disturbed a mama black bear and her cubs, drinking cool, clear water from the stream. “ Grrrrr…” we heard. Back away slowly. Make no sudden sound, or movement, I thought. Annalise followed my example, and 5 minutes later we collapsed at the foot of an oak tree, shaking with fear. I heard another “grrr”. This time it was my stomach growling. We had to find food, and fast.

5 Day 1- Annalise’s Journal
My finger swelled up with pain, my stomach ached with hunger, and my heart was racing a marathon. I looked around and all I saw were eighty-foot pine trees and squirrels nibbling on acorns. I heard what sounded like a small hammer banging at a log. I looked up and saw a woodpecker pecking a hole into a tall birch tree. The tree had few branches with many small, green leaves swirling in the wind. I, too felt the chilling breeze down my back and up my sleeves. Just then, I realized that tree would soon become my toilet…after all , there were no bathrooms in the Taiga, and I could tell from the way Emily squeezed her legs together that we desperately needed a place to stop and go, literally!

6 Day 1- Emily’s Journal It certainly wasn’t the most high-class toilet paper, or the most comforting feeling knowing that everything down to the last leaf could see me quite clearly, but it was a HUGE relief. With bathroom stops out of the way, it was definitely time to fill our stomachs back up. Only one problem… what to eat ?!

7 Day 1- Annalise’s Journal
After passing what seemed like a million scratchy pine trees, and obtaining about eight throbbing scars(from tripping and falling and simply brushing past this, that and the other), we came across a short bush with beautiful golden-yellow cloud berries. We carefully picked the sweet berries off the delicate bush, splattered with dew from the racing river waves near by. We cradled the berries in our shirts, not caring about the golden-yellow stains accumulating on the bottoms of our tops. We walked a couple of feet towards a slim jack- pine tree, and plopped our fannies on a long, narrow rock. I took a berry from it’s nesting place, and examined it, while Emily didn’t seem to care what she was eating, as long as it was edible, and she gulped them down quickly. I popped a berry into my mouth and started chewing. They tasted sweet with a pinch of sour…mmmm, like candy! De-licious! We were hungry, and I did know of a golden-yellow berry called a cloud berry. I also knew of a berry called a lingon berry, and obviously pine-cone sap, but almost clueless as to what a lingon berry looked like. Needing something a bit more filling than sugary sap, we decided to play it safe, especially on our first day. I knew that we would need two brains to survive, and if we were to eat something poisonous, or not healthy, we might become ill, and not quite in our right minds. As Emily and I set off on our journey to fill our stomachs, we passed a few red squirrels and a couple shy, young chipmunks. One squirrel was apparently not happy with our presence, and dropped a great big pine-cone on Emily’s head.

8 Day 1- Emily's Journal With satisfied stomachs, we needed to make shelter, that much I knew, but Annalise and I were so tired and weary that we both dropped down onto a soft pile of sweet-smelling pine needles and lay there, exhausted. Annalise breathed heavily… obviously she was sleeping already. Suddenly, a Gray wolf ran by, chasing a deer. I gulped. Gray wolves, I had read, were the biggest wild canines living in the taiga. OH NO! I remembered I had read that Gray wolves traveled in packs! I woke Annalise. She understood the second she saw them. I also recalled that wolves fed on weak animals. I began to panic as I realized we were weak. We each grabbed an old fallen oak branch lying on the ground nearby. The ground seemed to shake as the wolf pack ran past. The noise they made as they ran sounded like distant thunder and rain. Luckily, they didn’t even acknowledge the fact that we were even there. They were too focused on other prey. Our 2nd brush with death! I dropped my stick and curled back up on my pile. A long-eared owl hooted close by as I drifted off to sleep, covered by a slim Jack pine branch.

9 Day 2- Annalise’s Journal
We slept out in the open last night. I realized we were lucky to have not been eaten by…SOMETHING last night, but I wasn’t going to take chances, tonight. I also realized we hadn’t had much water since we jumped off that helicopter. I decided to be prepared for the last bit of our wacky adventure. We split our ponchos with sharp rocks, cutting off the hoods and sleeves. One sleeve would be a bucket, one a filter (by putting layers of clean rocks and plastic with holes(plastic=part of poncho =D ) into the mostly-closed poncho sleeve, and scooping up water from the river). The hood would store water and be put over a fire (with the water in it) to semi-sterilize the drinking water(semi because the hood would melt if it got to hot, so we couldn’t boil the water). We finished the filter, and created a lean-to with long, sturdy logs we found near-by to a straight, sturdy, large boulder, which we leaned the logs on(we also used the body of one of the ponchos to put over the logs to prevent rain and wind from coming in). After we completed the lean-to, we immediately sped toward the river to test out our filter, passing lots of jack pine and birch trees, a cute couple of wood-peckers in a tree, side by side, and a scary rabid raccoon(I knew it was rabid because it was out in the day, and it had fuzzy white stuff oozing from its sticky mouth) who ran after us for a minute or two, then ran back to its nest( I was so thirsty, that I didn’t even care). When we reached the waterside I dunked the filter in the water, pulled it up, and hung it above my mouth... ahh. I hadn’t bothered to semi-sterilize the water, for I was so thirsty… and the chilled river water felt and tasted so good anyway, sterilized or not. I handed the filter to Emily, and she eagerly dunked it into the water as well. She was about to hang it over her mouth when we heard a rustle in the leaves… it seemed to be getting closer… and closer! We scanned the Taiga’s floor as far as our eyes could see… nothing. I froze. There was something on my feet. It was small… (OMG!) and furry! I didn’t know whether I was more scared or excited. I looked down. Emily looked down, as well. I almost screamed! I saw an ear… a long, fuzzy one… wait… four of them! Emily looked at me with wildly wide eyes and gave a mile-wide smile. I stared back with large, confused, but happy eyes, and chuckled with a little half-smile. I blinked my eyes a few times, and stared at my feet again. How lucky I was to have two fuzzy, adorable, baby snowshoe rabbits sitting on my feet! They reared up and sniffed my ankles. I silently bent down… I reached out both hands and slowly picked one of the bunnies. I cradled it in my arms. Emily picked up the other bunny and did as I did. At first they squirmed but we got to tickle their tummies, and kiss their noses, and tell them how cute they were until we saw their mother. We carefully set them down and watched them fade away in the distance. Maybe this trip wasn’t as bad as we thought!

10 Day 2- Emily’s Journal We headed back to camp, and took our bathroom stops. We ran through the forest again, seeing more trees and birds, and when we came across the cloudberry bush, we picked some more berries and ate them. We wandered a little longer and picked up some pine-cones. We sat on a large fallen log, and licked off the sap from the pine-cones. After that, we ran down to the river to take a bath while the water was calmer. When we got to the river, we hid behind separate bushes, and stripped off our clothes. We quickly ran to the water and almost tripped as we jumped in. We screamed so hard I thought we might have awoken China. It…was…freezing! The water felt like little pin pricks on our skin.

11 Day 2- Annalise’s Journal
The water may have been calmer, but It sure wasn’t warmer! I climbed out of the water as quickly as I had jumped in. It was colder than any shower I had ever taken. I wiped off my body with my sweatshirt sleeves and whipped my clothes back on. I turned to Emily and saw she had done the same, and was already running back to camp, yelling for me to follow. I ran after her, furious she had gone without me. By the time I reached the camp, Emily had already ran off. All she left was a note written with sticks on the ground. It said: FIREWOOD. She had been far enough ahead of me to right this message… I had never seen someone run so fast. More aggravated than ever, I flew around the campsite and picked up random rocks and stones, and began making a pit in the middle of the clearing, throwing the stones on the ground. I waited…and waited…and waited. Nothing happened. Nobody came. Nothing moved or barely even made a noise. I scanned the clearing one more time. Nothing. I stopped building the pit. I stood up straight. I was going to find Emily.

12 Day 2- Emily’s Journal When I started out, I wasn’t afraid. But after wandering around gathering sticks for the fire for quite a while, I started to worry. Which way had I come again? Uh- oh. I was lost, no doubt about it. Was Annalise worried, or mad? Oh, I’d give just about anything to see her face right now. I dropped my pile of sticks and plopped down beside it. And sat… and sat… and sat. Time ticked by. Suddenly, Annalise burst through the trees, screaming at the top of her lungs. I didn’t know what had gotten into her, the wolves' hearts, or the cold, angry, rushing water. She immediately stopped once I told her that I had gotten lost. She, however, seemed to know the way back to camp, so I shut my mouth and followed her. Back at camp, my ears were still ringing with Annalise’s scolding from on the way back. However, she became more agreeable as we lit the fire.

13 Day 2- Annalise’s Journal
The fire warmed me, and made me happy, but it also reminded me of how angry I still was at Emily’s lack of brains. “Always stick with a buddy”, was a major rule in camping. I guess I couldn't blame her for looking for the firewood, I was thinking of doing the same. But on the other hand, we hadn’t established doing so, and she didn’t even wait for me. But that move was done and over with. I was tired, and a bit hungry. I told Emily this, and reminded her this was one of the last moments we would be spending in the Taiga, and with that, I walked to our lean-to and ducked in. I lay down, gazing at the stars through a gap in the roof, and Emily joined me.

14 Day 3- Emily and Annalise’s entry
We woke to the sound of running river water, and it was as if the river splashed us on the face. Somehow, a woodpecker had managed to get wet, and was now flapping out it’s wings, sitting on a branch near our tent. We had somehow rolled out of the open campsite in the night. We sat up, stood up, cleaned up our tent, and went along our way to the river bank. Once there, we slapped our faces with the freezing water to get off the bird essences and wake us up. We picked up more pine cones and ate the sap on another giant log. Then we heard it. At first it was quiet, and dull. But as it approached closer and closer, the sound was clear. This was the end of our journey. No more rivers, no baby rabbits, no bears, or tents, or reusing clothes after jumping into freezing cold water, or eating cloud berries. A rope ladder dropped down from the helicopter, and we climbed up while saying one last goodbye.

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