VRRRMM ... VRRRMMM ... VVVRRRRMMMM ... went the jeep as Jen and Jim drove up and down and along the curbs, hills, and bumps on the winding road.
“All I see are trees! Trees to my left, trees to my right, trees behind me, and trees in front of me!” Jen said with a smile.
“Camping is so much fun!” Jim cheered.
“You know Jim, I have never ever been camping before. I grew up in the city and have only travelled to other cities,” Jen relayed.
“Buildings to your left, buildings to your right, buildings behind you, and buildings in front of you?” Jim mused.
Jen laughed. “Exactly!” Jen straightened her hat as the rough ride had moved it off to the side and a bit off her head. “The roads are a little straighter in the city.” Jen tucked her wind-blown hair behind her ears. “And we keep the windows closed in our vehicles and run the air-conditioning to keep cool. I get so cold in the car because other people in the car turn it up way too high. It is no fun being cold in the summer. I spend the whole winter being cold – why would I want to be cold in the summer? I like this warm air much better!” She closed her eyes and felt the wind of the warm, fresh air. She was about to straighten her hat again, then changed her mind and took it off. Her long hair blew every which way. “AAAHHHHH....this feels REALLY GOOD! I mean REALLY GOOD! I feel SO FREE!”
Up the hills, down the hills, and around the hills they travelled.
“How long have we been driving?” Jen asked.
“Almost two hours!” Jim replied.
“Wow! Time flies when you are having fun!”
The jeep pulled up to a clearing by the lake. The water was sparkling blue. Canoes, paddleboats, and kayaks were stacked neatly one over the other on a padlock rack by the lake.
“This is so exciting!” Jen exclaimed. “I can't wait to get into the boat!”
“Let’s eat and then set up the tent!” Jim suggested.
“GREAT! What restaurant are we going to eat at?”
“UUUUHHH the closest restaurant from here is about a two hour drive away!” Jim answered.
“OHHH...” Jen's faced looked surprised.
“I packed all kinds of food in the cooler; we'll have lunch here. I guarantee it will be delicious,” Jim planned.
Jim handed Jen the picnic basket and he lifted out one of the coolers. Jen laid down the blanket on the grass. Jim handed her the cheese, crackers, grapes, and walnuts.
Jen noticed a squirrel was watching her. She rolled a walnut over toward the squirrel. The squirrel picked up the nut with its hands and examined it.
“So cute! I love their large, bushy tails! I remember learning in school that their tails can keep them warm in the winter, help them balance when climbing trees, and they can use it to communicate with other squirrels. They flick their tail quickly to warn other squirrels when there is danger ahead.”
“Awesome Jen!” Jim nodded impressively. “Sometimes their tail can act as a parachute should they fall from a tree. With all the climbing and running around in the trees they do, it does happen.”
“Wow! That would be neat to see, but then again I don't want to see it because it would mean a squirrel had fallen, then again it would be interesting to see him save himself, then again...” Jen paused and took a deep breath. “Okay....I'm finished rambling...you know what I mean.”
Jim smiled at Jen. Jen blushed.
Jen and Jim stopped talking and watched the squirrel go up and down the tree, along the branches, back down the tree and back up another tree. They were amused by its agility.
“Squirrels can climb up and down trees so well because of their sharp claws and flexible ankle joints,” Jim shared.
“That would give them great flexibility. What kind of homes do squirrels live in?” asked Jen.
“Squirrels build nests of dry leaves and twigs in the forks of trees called DREYS. Dreys are easy to see in the late fall when the leaves have fallen off the tree,” Jim said.
“Oh ya! I always wondered what those nests were. I didn't know who lived in them.”
“Squirrels can also make nests in the hollow of trees too!”
“So squirrels have tree houses!” Jen concluded. “I had a treehouse growing up. I spent most of my summer days playing up there.” Jen daydreamed of her own treehouse growing up...
“Imagine if a squirrel built a drey beside the treehouse,” Jen smiled in awe. “I would have had a neighbour.”
“The squirrel probably would have picked a more quiet tree!” Jim teased.
Jim and Jen laughed. Just then a chipmunk sprinted past them.
“Speaking of houses...” Jim continued. “Chipmunks make their homes underground with tunnels and separate chambers. Chipmunks have an area where they sleep, another area where they eat and another area where they go, you know what?”
“What?” Jen asked. “Ohhhh....that! Wow, I'm impressed that they keep that separate because that STINKS!”
Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen Go Camping is the third in a series of children's illustrated chapter books. Join Jim, a biologist and Jen, a city slicker, on this comical adventure in the great outdoors. Laugh and learn as they encounter many animals and discover how wild the wilderness is.