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From the Northern Kids story “The Raft Trip”

Alex pushed the raft out into the current, and we climbed aboard. We waved to our older brothers and sister, and we waved to our little brothers and sisters, and we waved to Dad and Ma. “See you in the spring!” we shouted. “We’ll be back!” As the raft moved downstream, our big log house on the riverbank began to look smaller and smaller. Soon we couldn’t see our family back home—only our family on the raft.

“We’re all on our own now,” said Helen. Kathleen looked like the happiest eight-year-old in the Yukon Territory.
Alex gave his first order. “Okay, J.J. and Pat, listen. You two paddle, okay? I’ll steer from back here.”

We hardly needed to paddle on the first day. Our good raft just floated along the Pelly River like a bit of driftwood, bobbing up and down, and taking us with it. We watched little foxes play on the riverbank, and saw a bear pushing her cub toward the woods.

Lying flat on our backs on the raft, we looked up at blue sky. The summer sun shone down on our shoulders all afternoon. “Oh, it’s hot today,” said Helen, after awhile. “I sure would like a little splash of that cool water on my face. I sure would like a swim.”

Each one of us was thinking about the same swim. We could hear Ma’s voice, even though we knew she was back at home at Mica Creek, probably rocking our baby brother Dode to sleep right now. “Don’t push each other off that raft into the river,” she had warned us, over and over. “If you do it, I’ll know.”

Why do mothers always know what you’re going to do—before you do it?

We looked at each other and smiled at our secret.

Nobody pushed anybody off the raft. Instead, we jumped.

Links to more excerpts:


Rocky Mountain Kids

Island Kids

Vancouver Kids

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