I can't tell you how excited I am to share the grand prize winner of my children's writing contest, Sophie Brubaker! Nine-year-old Sophie wrote a charming, whimsical, and adventurous story about bike riding friends. Something that really caught my eye with Sophie's story was not only her hard work to build excitement and interest in her story, but she also included a full cover illustration with her story! That's a dedicated writer. So without further ado, please enjoy Sophie's short story, Ride in the Wild, in full! 



Ride in the Wild

By Sophie Brubaker

Hi! my name is Layla.  Today I am going to the park to ride my bike. At the park they have a bike trail that is really fun.  It has lots of turns and some jumps. I am good at biking. The park also has a really long slide.  To get to the top of it, you have to climb up a 38-foot-long ladder.  It is tiring, but by the time you get to the top it is so fun! The ladder is attached to a tree.  The slide wraps around the tree.  It is fast! 

The park also has gymnastics bars.  One is for doing flips and another is for stretching.  There is also one for flexibility testing. They are all so fun. I love to play on them.  The park has a large set of swings. The little kids play on them all the time.  

My mom lets me go to the park about once a week because I am almost eleven.  My birthday is on September 19th.  I was born in the year 2006.  I have three friends – Lily, Ciara, and Neara.  They are all very nice and have such cool personalities.  Lily is hilarious. She is always making up the best jokes.  Her jokes either cheer us up or make us laugh hard.  Ciera and Neara are both really good at gymnastics and ballet.  You can usually find them on the gymnastics bars at the park.

This Sunday I am going on a biking trip.  It is for my birthday.  Today is Tuesday, so I have five days to get ready.  My friends are coming on the trip too. We are planning to do the whole bike trail at the park even though we’ve never done that before.  The trail is known to have beautiful mountain peaks and bridges that go over lakes.  

Tonight, as I went to sleep, I dreamed of what our adventure on Sunday would be like.  The next day I biked the half loop at the park and read two books to my younger brother. I made grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch.  On Thursday and Friday, I went to school so excited that I told everyone about my birthday biking trip.  Finally, on Saturday I packed my bag for the biking trip.  My mom reminded me that it might be an overnight trip.  I went to a survival camp last summer so I knew what things would be important to bring.  I grabbed my sleeping bag, tent, and water bottle and put them in my backpack. I also packed my survival book.

I called my friends to make sure they were ready and knew what time to meet at the park.  I went to sleep knowing tomorrow was the big day.

That morning I woke up early. I was excited but still had in mind that there was one small problem… we had never done this before. We’ll have to stay on the trail and remember the trail map at the beginning. I was so excited that I gulped my milk and ate all my food in a flash. Although I could picture it in my mind, I wasn’t sure exactly what our “spectacular” adventure would be like.  I attached the basket to the back of my bike and rode it to the park. There I met my friends and set off! 

The trees were a pretty, bright green. It was surprisingly peaceful in the late morning.  We rode for a while until there was a split in the path. On one side there was a sign that read “Teenta loop” with an arrow.  We took the opposite path.  After a little bit, I did not recognize where we were.  We stopped.  I asked my friends if they knew.  Lily said she noticed the same thing.  

“Where are we and why are we stopped?” Neara wondered out loud.  

“Let’s keep going and find a good spot to stop,” suggested Ciara.  We kept going through the forest. Then Lily got cold and we found a little clearing, but it was still in the shade. I decided we could build a fire. I collected the material we needed and within 20 minutes, I started a fire.  We gathered around it to keep warm when all of the sudden, I heard a voice.  It was a gentle, soothing, girly voice. 

Poof! There was a lot of smoke from the fire and a little sparkle too.  Out came a bunny rabbit.  The first thing she asked was, “Do you need help?”  

“Who are you?” asked Neara shyly.  

“I am the magic bunny guide!” She announced.  

“Do you know how to find the trail?” wondered Lily.

“Yes. This way.” She started heading in the opposite direction. 

“Call me Smoke,” the bunny said.  “I am called that because I travel through smoke when I sense that someone needs me on the trail.”

We followed Smoke back to the trail and said, “Thank you and goodbye.”

In a puff she was gone, and we were on our way.  

After a while we were halfway and made fire, ate dinner, set up camp and went to bed.  That morning, we woke up and set off again.  It was lovely on the trail.  We got back to the park late afternoon and headed home.  When we got home, we had lemonade and toast.  Lily, Ciara and Neara’s parents came and we had birthday dinner and cake.  They all went home.

 That night before I fell asleep, I thought to myself, “Adventure is the experience!”