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Swim for It!

The canyon walls on both sides had closed in. The creek rushed forward into a waterfall. It plunged about four feet down into a pool and then re-formed into the creek again. Then the creek bank widened out a little on their side. But right here, there was no place for them to go. They were trapped.

“What now?” Rob asked.

"We’ve gotta jump down the waterfall,” Calvin said.

”What?” Rob squawked. “With my ankle?”

“We don’t have a choice,” Calvin said. “We don’t have the time to go back before it gets dark. There’s no place to climb up out of the canyon. We have to jump it.”

Calvin walked closer to the edge of the rocks. He looked down the waterfall. “Look,” he said. “It’s not that far. We can nump and land on our feet. We don’t have to worry about hitting our heads on any rocks or anything,” he added.

“But we don’t know how deep it is,” Rob said.

“I bet it’s not very deep,” Calvin said. “Besides, so what if it is? You can just swim up to the top. This is just a mountain stream, not the high dive, you know.”

Rob sighed. “All right,” he said. He knelt next to Calvin. Calvin was already taking off his shoes.

Calvin teetered on the edge. Rob watched him.

Calvin bent his knees. He held his breath.

“Yahoo!” he hollered. Then he jumped into the pool. He bounced back up through the foaming water. The water was only to his waist.

“Come on, you chicken!” he called to Rob. “Bawk-bawk-bawk!” he cried, flapping his arms.

Rob held his breath and jumped.

“Aah!” he yelled, coming back up in a spray of water. “That didn’t feel too good on my ankle,” he said.

“Come on, let’s get over to the bank,” Calvin said. The boys waded slowly through the water. They climbed onto the bank. Water ran in streams from their jeans and their shoes. They took a few moments to untie their shoes and empty the water out.

“Sick,” Rob said. “It feels like I have sea slugs inside my shoes.”

“Yeah, well that’s what mine have felt like fo the last half hour,” Calvin reminded him. “Get up. We gotta go.”

In the next few minutes, they came to a second small waterfall. Calvin and Rob groaned. They sat down and went through the routine. Tie shoes onto belts. Jump in. Wade back to shore.

Then, around the next bend, another waterfall plunged down into a pool.

“This is gettin’ old, man,” Calvin complained.

“No kidding,” Rob agreed.

“At least we’re getting down off the mountain,” Calvin said. The shadows had lengthened. They were no longer in sunlight. The cliffs cast dark shadows through the canyon.

They finished their usual routine and trudged on.

“Boy, the creek is sure getting louder,” Rob said.

“Yeah, we must be getting down to the bottom,” Calvin guessed.

“That would be great,” Rob said with a smile.

They rounded the next bend.

Calvin saw it first. Then his heart sank to his shoes. This is bad, he thought. This is really bad.

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