Stephenís Camping Trip
As Stephen loaded gear in to the school bus, he thought about what the upcoming camping trip would be like. He and his classmates were going camping at Portola Redwoods State Park. Stephen wondered if they could fit all of their luggage into the school buses.
On the way there, Stephen and his friend, Robert, talked about how much fun camping for three days would be. They could go hiking, hang out by the creek, and if they wanted, they could go to the presentations at the amphitheater every night. Stephen was a little worried that three days was a bit long for his whole class to be together, but maybe it would be just fine. Robert was looking forward to seeing all the wildlife since usually he didn't get to get out that much.
After they pulled in to the campground, some kids jumped out of the school bus and started exploring. The teachers yelled as them to come back because they needed to help unload gear. Stephen and Robert, being responsible, had already started unloading gear. Stephen and Robert were also the first to get their tent up. It took them five minutes while some kids were still struggling after 20 minutes.
Later, Stephen went down to the creek while Robert stayed in the tent. While he was at the creek, Stephen thought about his now-dead great-grandfather. Stephen had seen him only once and that was when he was very young. The only thing he had to remind him of his great-grandfather was a pocketknife that had been passed down for generations. Stephen had brought the pocketknife on the camping trip even though it was against the rules. He wished that he had gotten to see his great-grandfather more and maybe even gone camping with him. He sounded like a great guy.
Their first dinner was macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, the cooks had not done a very good job and much of it was burnt. Stephen mostly talked with people besides Robert since he had been around him most of the day. There was a rumor floating around that Juan and Sarah had spent the whole day together, away from everybody else. While Stephen talked, Robert ate and watched. After dinner, Stephen and Robert went back to their tent and played some card games.
After it got dark, Stephen suggested the class play flashlight tag. Nobody else wanted to, so he gave that idea up. He went back to his tent, which he shared with Robert, and read for another hour before going to sleep.
The next morning, Stephen got up very late and almost missed breakfast. He couldnít find Robert anywhere but assumed he was nearby. Breakfast was pancakes. This time, the cooks did a pretty good job and the pancakes were only a little brown. When Stephen was done with breakfast, everybody else had already been done for 10 minutes. He went back to his tent and organized his stuff. While he was organizing, Robert came in. "Where have you been, Robert?" asked Stephen.
"Exploring!" replied Robert.
"And?Ö" said Stephen.
"I found this really cool place down by the creek!" exclaimed Robert.
"Whatís it like?" inquired Stephen.
"Well, there's a little waterfall that's about 2 ft. high, there's a pool below it which is big enough and deep enough to swim in, and there's a little mossy shelf next to it," explained Robert.
"Letís go!" Said Stephen.
The two got their bathing suits on but put their pants over them so nobody could see that they were going swimming. They asked the teachers if they could go. The teachers said they couldn't go swimming but they could go down to the creek. Stephen suggested they go and just hang out rather than swim. Robert agreed and led Stephen to the spot. There were some bushes blocking the trail so it was hard to find, but Robert knew the way. When they got there, Stephen was amazed. It looked like somebody had built the pool and shelf there. Stephen and Robert spent around two hours there just talking and looking at the scenery. Then they went back to camp.
When they got back to camp, they had about half an hour before lunch. They decided to do some exploring around the campground. At lunch, there was some kind of secret that everybody but Robert and Stephen knew about. People kept staring at Stephen like he was dangerous or something. Stephen considered asking somebody about it but decided not to. After lunch everybody went back to their tents for a little while. As Stephen was rummaging through his stuff, he felt something was wrong. Then, it hit him. Somebody had stolen his grandfather's pocketknife! Stephen was furious; that pocketknife meant a lot to him and he couldn't believe somebody would have come into his tent and taken it! After he calmed down, Stephen decided he wouldn't let anybody but Robert know he knew his pocketknife had been stolen. He would play dumb and see if anybody cracked. He told Robert about the stolen pocketknife but told him to not tell anybody.
That afternoon, things were a little weird; everybody knew somebody had stolen Stephenís pocketknife, but Stephen acted like he didn't know. He tried to figure out who did it, but everyone was just as conspicuous. Eventually he narrowed it down to three candidates, John, Zack, and Nate. He and Robert went to the secret waterfall and discussed how they would decide among the three. They came up with a plan that would hopefully work. Since nobody was allowed to have a pocketknife anyway, the plan was that they would threaten to tell the teachers that one of them had the pocketknife. Hopefully, the one who did have the pocketknife would fess up at the possibility of being punished for having a knife.
The first person they threatened was Zack. Zack basically said he didn't care since he didn't have the knife. Next, they threatened Nate. His response was pretty much the same. Robert and Stephen concluded it was John but threatened him just to make sure. He surprised them by giving the same response as Nate and Zack. By now it was getting late and Robert and Stephen were fresh out of ideas. Since it was too close to dinner, they couldnít go back to their waterfall so they went back to their tent instead. The decided somebody could be eavesdropping so they didn't talk about the stolen pocketknife.
At dinner, Stephen and Robert tried to act normal. People weren't so conspicuous this time. As he was eating, Stephen was hit by a great idea! What if he asked somebody else who hopefully knew about the pocketknife. Maybe they would be willing to tell him where it was. The only problem was who to ask.
After dinner, Stephen and Robert went back down to the waterfall. Stephen told Robert about this great idea and asked him who they should ask. Robert had no idea. They went through every kid in the class, wondering if he or she would tell them. They settled on Juan since they were on reasonable terms with him. They decided that night would not be a good time to ask so they would wait until tomorrow.
As they walked into camp, Zack came over and said to Stephen, "Stephen, we need to talk, I know who took the pocketknife."
Stephen agreed, and Zack said that he would prefer Robert didn't come. Robert was okay with that since it wasn't really his problem. Zack led Stephen a little ways away from the campground. "Stephen, I saw John looking very suspicious by your tent today while you guys were gone." whispered Zack.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?" demanded Stephen.
"I thought it was funnyÖ Until you threatened me like that. You were really serious," said Zack.
"So now what are you going to do?" asked Stephen accusingly.
"Well, I'm really sorry I didn't tell you earlier, and Iíd like to make up for it," replied Zack apologetically.
"OK, do you know where the pocketknife is?" asked Stephen
"No, I just saw him by your tent," said Zack.
"Then I guess you can't help us out at all," said Stephen
Back in the tent, Stephen and Robert agreed to confront John in the morning.
The next morning, Stephen and Robert got up early and went over to John's tent. Since he wasn't awake, they banged on it. A very sleepy John answered. "Huh, who is it? What do you want?" he said,
"I know you took my pocketknife!" said Stephen,
"What? I didn't take it," replied John,
"I know you did," Stephen accused,
"Oh yeah, I did," John said groggily,
"Yes! Where is it?" Stephen said impatiently,
"I dunno. Nate has it. I think he hid it," replied John.
Stephen and Robert decided that was all they were going to get out of John and left.
They then decided they werenít going to get anything out of Nate said they started looking for the pocketknife. They were looking around the bottom of Nate's tent when Zack ran over. He said, "I know where Nate hid the pocketknife. I saw him hiding it last night,"
"Where?" asked Stephen,
"In a knot in a tree behind your tent." Zack said.
They all three went over and looked all over the tree. Then, Robert exclaimed
"I found it!"
He handed it to Stephen. Stephen thanked Zack for all the help he had given him. Robert and Stephen went over to their tent and packed up.
"Iím sure glad we found it!" said Stephen on the way home.