River wild

a short story about streams and rivers for middle school students

Marcus could hardly contain his excitement as he loaded the canoe atop the car. This summer he and his dad would journey from their small stream to the mouth of the mighty Mississippi! 

The next morning they launched their canoe into the shallow creek near Marcus' house. Marcus took up his paddle, steering them along as the current picked up speed. Around the first bend, a small tributary joined in from the left. Marcus recalled from science class how streams get higher order numbers farther upstream. 

Soon more tributaries merged as the creek swelled in size. Marcus reveled in paddling past mossy banks and beneath cool forest shade. Fish jumped and turtles plopped into the water as they drifted by. After two days they reached the wide Wabash River. "We must be up to about a fourth order stream by now!" Marcus called out.

The next morning they continued their paddling downstream, the river growing ever mightier. Barges churned past carrying cargo towards the sea. Great blue herons stalked the muddy shores, and ospreys circled overhead. At night Marcus and his dad camped beneath dazzling starry skies.  

A week later they reached the mighty Mississippi itself. As massive riverboats sounded their horns, Marcus felt tiny paddling across the vast muddy waters. He waved at kids swimming off riverbank rope swings along the way. 

That evening a colorful sunset melted into the flowing river as they set up camp on a sandy beach. Gazing at his dad tending the crackling fire, Marcus was glad they were spending these days together before he went back to school.

The next morning, Marcus pulled out his tablet with map to explore where they had traveled - and what was left.

As the river narrowed, the landscape changed. Giant oaks dripping with Spanish moss lined the banks. "We must be getting close to the Gulf of Mexico!" Marcus said. Islands of water hyacinth choked quiet backwaters as they paddled on.

Rounding one final bend, Marcus' eyes widened. A vast emerald seascape dotted with oil rigs stretched to the horizon - the Gulf at last! Seagulls swooped over small waves lapping the shore. Marcus breathed deep the salty air, gazing back upstream one last time. He would never forget this grand adventure tracing a tiny creek all the way to the sea.

Educational resource reference: 

Tags: geocomic earth river water watershe freshwater river creek stream FK8