The Adventures of
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A National Park book series - Ages 8 and up
Chapter 1 Excerpt
The Adventures of Bubba Jones (#3): Time Traveling Through Acadia National Park (Ages 8 and up; $9.99; Beaufort Books; Release date: June 4, 2018. ISBN: 9780825308826)
Chapter 1: Sunrise Wake-Up Call
“Hey, Bubba Jones, Hug-a-Bug, it’s time,” Papa Lewis whispered so he wouldn’t wake Mom, Dad, Grandma, and the other campers scattered throughout the wooded Blackwoods Campground in the heart of Acadia National Park, Maine. Acadia, a national park spanning 47,000 acres, is one of the top ten most-visited national parks in the country. It boasted over 3 million visitors in 2017 alone. Acadia was first established as Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916. Then it became Lafayette National Park in 1919 and was finally named Acadia in 1929. It is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. Located on Mount Desert Island on Maine’s eastern seashore, it includes Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along America’s east coast. All of this is reason enough to visit this national park! We had originally planned to explore the park next year. Our family loves to explore and experience adventure in the national parks, but Acadia hadn’t been on our schedule for this summer. However, we received an urgent message from our cousins who live here on Mount Desert island. They needed our help and fast! We got here as quick as we could, arriving just last night, ready to help. That’s what families are for, Mom and Dad reminded us. Now we needed to find out what the problem was and how we could help.
“We’re up,” I whispered, as Hug-a-Bug and I quietly unzipped our sleeping bags, careful not to wake Mom, Dad, and Grandma, sound asleep on the other side of our jumbo-sized family tent.
I stepped outside, and slipped into my boots. I looked down at my watch: 3:30 a.m. It was still dark out, but I could see Papa Lewis’ silhouette in the glimmer of moonlight splicing through the trees as he retrieved our egg and ham sandwiches from the cooler. Papa Lewis is our grandfather, named after the famous Meriwether Lewis from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
“We’re not the only ones crazy enough to get up this early,” Hug-a-Bug whispered, as she pointed across the road to other campers also quietly preparing to leave their campsites.
We call my sister Jenny Hug-a-Bug for her love of everything outdoors. My real name is Tommy, but everyone calls me Bubba Jones for my sense for adventure.
Papa Lewis held his index finger to his lips to remind us to be quiet. We topped off our water bottles at the water fountain near the campground bathroom, grabbed our flashlights, hopped in the Jeep, and rolled along a narrow drive and out of the campground. In the Jeep, we could talk without whispering.
“Papa Lewis, have you ever met Arthur and Sarah’s family?” I asked.
Arthur and Sarah are the cousins that summoned us to Acadia. They are the same ages as Hug-a-Bug and me, but we have never met them. We were on our way to meet them for the first time now.
“Yes, I explored the park with their parents years ago,” Papa Lewis replied.
“Why do you think they need our help?” Hug-a-Bug asked.
We had received a coded message from Arthur and Sarah. It may seem unusual for most people, especially teenagers, to communicate with family through coded messages, but it’s not unusual for our family at all. Our family possesses a very unique ability. If you haven’t been along on our other adventures, I’d better explain. You see, we have the ability to time travel into the past. We use our special ability to learn about and to protect our national park wildlands. It’s a family secret. I don’t think anyone would believe we can time travel anyway though, even if we told them. I still can’t believe it myself. But we need to protect our secret from others that might want to use our powers for bad purposes rather than to do good. Hug-a-Bug and I recently inherited the ability to time travel from our Papa Lewis, and we’ve used this skill to explore two other national parks and to help solve a mystery. Our time-traveling family is scattered across the United States, united in our mission of protecting our wildlands.
“I’m not sure what the emergency is, but I’m sure their dad and mom taught them well. They would only send a coded message if there was something wrong,” Papa Lewis explained.
“Where are we going to meet them?” I asked Papa Lewis.
“Well, when I was with Fran and Captain George, we watched the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain on the east coastline. For several months out of the year, Cadillac Mountain is the first place the sun hits in the U.S. each morning,” Papa Lewis explained.
“What’s the big deal with a sunrise?” Hug-a-Bug asked.
“You’ll see,” Papa Lewis answered.
We turned onto Cadillac Mountain Road, and our Jeep climbed up a two-lane road to the top. We weren’t the first ones up here. As a matter of fact, it seemed like everyone from our campground arrived before us. The parking lot at the top was almost full, but we were early enough to find a parking space.
“I guess their favorite viewing point is no secret,” Hug-a-Bug commented as we walked past hundreds of people perched on rocks and sitting on blankets waiting for first light.
“How are we ever going to find them up here?” I asked Papa Lewis.
“Well, there certainly are a lot more people up here now than when I was last here twenty years ago,” Papa Lewis said.
“Wow, you can see the ocean!” Hug-a-Bug exclaimed, pointing.
As I took in the view, I could see the glimmer of water in nearly every direction.
“You’re looking at Frenchman Bay, and that’s Bar Island, Sheep Porcupine Island, and that one over there is Bald Porcupine Island,” Papa Lewis explained as he pointed toward several small islands in the distance.
A reddish-yellow glow appeared and lit up the edge of the horizon beyond the little islands. It felt like we were looking out at the edge of the world. Then, the sun appeared, first as a tiny yellow dot on the edge of the ocean, then slowly growing bigger and brighter, until finally it was full daylight.
“Wow!” I said as we stood watching.
As we watched the sun’s rays bathe the mountaintop, a feeling of rejuvenation washed over me. It felt like everything was brand new again as the new day sprung. During those few moments, we all seemed to forget why we were here. We stood silent, taking in the start of a fresh new day. Soon, the full sun began to rise over the horizon into the sky. The crowd of onlookers began to scatter, some to their cars, others to explore the mountaintop and enjoy the views.
Hug-a-Bug and I scanned the crowd. There was no sign of our cousins Arthur and Sarah that matched the photo we had of them, and no one seemed to be looking around for us either. If our cousins were with their parents, Fran and Captain George, Papa Lewis would’ve noticed them right away.
“Papa Lewis, our cousins are not up here. What should we do?” I asked.
“Good question, Bubba Jones. This is where Fran, Captain George, your grandma, and I enjoyed the sunrise twenty years ago, but that’s not to say that Arthur and Sarah don’t have another favorite location” Papa Lewis replied.
“Is there another good spot to view the sunrise besides Cadillac Mountain?” I asked.
“Of course. None as high as Cadillac Mountain, but there are plenty of great spots to watch the sunrise,” Papa Lewis replied.
We continued to search for our cousins at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We followed a line of tourists along a sidewalk and into a gift shop perched on top of Cadillac Mountain.
As soon as we stepped through the doorway, a bright yellow envelope taped to the wall behind the cashier caught my eye. On it was written “Hold for Bubba Jones.”
“Look, up on the wall,” I whispered to Papa Lewis and Hug-a-Bug as I pointed to the envelope.
I waited in line for the cashier to finish his transaction with the tourist in line in front of me and then I stepped up to the counter and said, “That envelope taped to the wall is for me. I’m Bubba Jones.”
The cashier looked at me, and then he made eye contact with Papa Lewis standing behind me, and flashed a smile. The man looked like a younger version of our Papa Lewis. He had a beard, and he wore a wide brim hat. I looked back at Papa Lewis, and saw he had a grin on his face, too. The cashier pulled the envelope from the wall behind him and handed it me.
“Here you go, Bubba Jones. Keep this safe,” the man said, and then he turned his attention to the next person in line and began ringing up their purchases.
“Come on, Bubba Jones and Hug-a-Bug, let’s go,” Papa Lewis said, striding toward the door.
We followed him outside.
“What was that all about? Who is that man at the register?” I asked Papa Lewis.
“That’s Captain George, Arthur and Sarah’s dad,” Papa Lewis responded.
“Why didn’t you say hi or talk with him?” Hug-a-Bug asked.
“Well, he obviously recognized me, but he didn’t greet me. I think he wanted us to pretend we didn’t know each other. It must have something to do with why they need our help,” Papa Lewis explained.