Jeff Corwin-2 A Whale of a Time/ The Wild, Wild Southwest
The Wild, Wild Southwest!
Benjamin Baxter unzipped his backpack and took out a carefully-folded map. He spread it out across the ground in his family’s campsite in New Mexico, anchoring each corner with a big rock so it wouldn’t blow away. “Lucy! Gabe! Come here!” he shouted, calling his sister and his cousin over to take a look. “The Gila National Forest,” he said as they approached. He swept his hand over the map dramatically. “Our home away from home!” Lucy studied it until she found the place where they were standing, a small campground near the middle of the park, nestled beside the West Fork of the Gila River. She pointed to the spot, showing her cousin. “Okay, Gabe, imagine a red arrow in this area. It would say, ‘You are here.’” “That’s what it says on subway maps,” Gabe said cheerfully. He’d lived all of his nine years in Brooklyn, New York. “Not on a map of a national forest, though,” said Benjamin. “Here they make you figure it out yourself. Luckily, I had plenty of time to study it on the plane.” “And while we waited to rent a car. And while we drove here from the Albuquerque airport,” Lucy added. It had been a long trip, but they were finally here, with still a few hours before it got dark. Gabe nodded. “It’s good that you’re an expert because, you know, I’m not.” He had never been camping before, but this summer the Baxters had talked his family, the Sullivans, into joining them for a trip. Ever since they’d been to visit Gabe in New York, the kids had been dying to see him again. And after their trip to the city, their parents had been eager to show Aunt Lily and Uncle Peter the wonders of living in the great outdoors. Right now, the grownups were hard at work setting up the tents a few feet away. Benjamin squatted next to the map, a stick in his hand. “So the park is in the southwest corner of the stat,” he said, pointing. “Not far from the Mexican border.” Lucy glanced over at her brother, rolling her eyes. “Don’t mind him while he recites the guidebook from memory,” she told Gabe. “The rest of the trip will be a lot more fun.” Benjamin smiled, but he didn’t stop. “Hey, this is important stuff! The Gila covers more than three million acres of land, and includes two wilderness areas where there aren’t even any roads. People think of New Mexico as a desert—and a lot of it is—but most of this park is mountains and forest. It’s home to a variety of species. Which means…” “Lots of different animals?” Gabe broke in, proudly. When the Baxters were in New York, they spent a lot of time looking at local wildlife. Gabe had learned a lot. “Yes!” cried Lucy. “The forest is full of all kinds of creatures we’ve never seen in person.” “Like what?” Gabe asked, a mix of excitement and concern in his voice. Benjamin didn’t even know where to start. “Well, definitely lizards and snakes. Maybe even mountain lions…” “Mountain lions!” Gabe said with alarm. “And there’s just going to be a tent between us and their teeth?”
The card security code is an added safeguard for your credit/debit card purchases. Depending on the type of card you use, it is either a three- or four-digit number printed on the back or front of your credit/debit card, separate from your credit/debit card number. To make shopping at Children's Book-of-the-Month Club® even more secure, we require that you enter this number each time you make a credit/debit card purchase. Please note that your security code will not be stored with us even if you have saved your credit/debit card information.