Alaska Adventure

Alaska Adventure by Cynthia Baxter Read Free Book Online

Book: Alaska Adventure by Cynthia Baxter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cynthia Baxter
Tags: Young Adult Fiction
    She let out a sigh of relief.
    “At any rate,” said Dr. Wells, “I’d like to make this my official welcome. I promise that what’s ahead will be one of the best educational experiences you’ve ever had—not to mention one of the most fun.”
    From where she sat—stuffed into a van with a single familiar face among a group of strangers, headed for one of the last uncivilized places on earth, one that happened to be five thousand miles from everything she’d ever known—Cassie had to admit she found Dr. Wells’s promise hard to believe.

Chapter Five
    Pressing her face against the window of the plane, Laurel drew her breath in sharply. Nothing she had ever imagined, no daydream she’d ever constructed, had even begun to prepare her for her first glimpse of Alaska.
    Slowly, the plane was descending over Turnagain Arm, the branch of Cook Inlet that ran south of Anchorage, It drifted down through the thick carpet of clouds that had been her only view since leaving Chicago seven hours earlier for the third and longest leg of their journey from Vermont. Suddenly a spectacular panorama stretched out before her.
    The jagged coastline, a rich emerald green, formed sharp Vs that jutted out into muddy gray-blue water. Not far inland was a dense covering of trees that looked like velvet from the air. Everywhere tiny lakes dotted the landscape. Most dramatic, however, were the mountains. Huge dark gray masses of craggy rock cut through the ground, as forbidding as they were beautiful. Their tops were sprinkled with snow, such a pristine white that they shimmered in the pale sunlight.
    “Look!” Laurel cried, her voice catching in her throat. “Isn’t it the most ... the most ...”
    “Amazing.” Russ, sitting behind her, his face also pressed against the window, supplied the word for her.
    “It’s the only way to describe it. I’ve never seen anything so magnificent in my life.”
    “If you ask me,” commented Mariah, “it looks like we’re about to land on another planet.”
    “I don’t remember anybody asking you,” Trip said from across the aisle, “but you’re right. It does look like we’re hovering over Jupiter or Mars.”
    “That’s Planet Earth, all right,” said Dr. Wells. “Earth the way it looked before so-called civilization came along.”
    “I don’t see any signs of life,” said Cassie.
    “There’d better be.” Mariah, who’d been leaning over Russ to get a better view out the window, turned away and went back to her fashion magazine. “My hair dryer broke last night. If we don’t find a drug store, I’m going to go around looking like the Bride of Frankenstein.”
    While Laurel had expected to be tired after the long trip, she was instead energized by finally having reached their destination. Even the ordeal of waiting for all their scientific gear and personal belongings at the baggage claim, renting a Jeep, and loading everything into it for the second time that day did little to dampen her spirits.
    “We’ll be driving directly to Wolf Lake, a few hours to the southwest,” Dr. Wells informed them as they headed out of Anchorage Airport onto Seward Highway. “I’m anxious to get everyone settled as quickly as possible. I’d like to get started first thing tomorrow morning. We’ll begin by laying fish traps, taking measurements of the lake, collecting plant specimens—”
    “Tomorrow?” Mariah squawked.
    “Don’t tell me you’ve got something more important to do,” Trip countered.
    “I just figured we’d take a day or two to get settled. Unpack, go into town....”
    “Where we’re going,” said Dr. Wells, his voice reflecting his amusement, “there is no town. And getting unpacked should take you all of five minutes.”
    As they drove along the coast of the Kenai Peninsula, Laurel sat next to the window of the rented Jeep, her eyes wide as she eagerly took in her brand-new surroundings. She was awestruck by how wonderfully untouched

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