A Trip to Yellowstone

by Lora Wu, age 9
A Trip to Yellowstone Lora Wu is a 9-year-old who has been to Writopia three times. She has been to Iceland where the story takes place. Her favorite thing to do is drawing, reading, and writing.

“Hello. My name is Kelly Jones, and the only reason I am writing in my new, so secret, red leather diary that locks is because I am bored. I have always not liked airplane rides, especially because they make me dizzy. I am on my way to Yellowstone National Park because, well, frankly, I am very excited. I am very into science, and I heard there are wild animals in Yellowstone and erupting geysers. But, my uncle says there is going to be a great surprise. I don’t expect that it’s going to be much because my uncle’s surprises are never exciting.”

August 5

Hello. My name is Kelly Jones, and the only reason I am writing in my new, so secret, red leather diary that locks is because I am bored. I have always not liked airplane rides, especially because they make me dizzy. I am on my way to Yellowstone National Park because, well, frankly, I am very excited. I am very into science, and I heard there are wild animals in Yellowstone and erupting geysers. But, my uncle says there is going to be a great surprise. I don’t expect that it’s going to be much because my uncle’s surprises are never exciting.

August 7

We arrived one day ago. Our hotel is kind of cozy, and our room has a soft gray rug, a huge TV, a springy white sofa, and three nice, cozy beds with green tea colored blankets. My dad is sitting in one of the plum colored squishy chairs and sipping his coffee and reading his newspaper.

August 8

So far, my father hasn’t stumbled upon any good news in the newspaper, considering that he’s had his nose in the newspaper for the last few days. He has been keeping us home, so we can watch TV and play Chutes and Ladders, and he reads newspapers. He’s made up his mind that we aren’t going to go out until he finds something good. He has also been searching for something interesting, because, unlike me, he thinks Yellowstone is going to be pretty boring. Finally, this morning, Father found something good.

“Aha!!”’ my dad exclaimed. “Kk, come over here.’’

I came. This is what I saw:


This prize is for children from 8-16. Competitors must present a report about Yellowstone Wildlife and Yellowstone geysers. Adults can help if needed, and the project must be turned in by 3-5. The essay must be about a way to prevent hunting. The prize is a gold trophy for each participant of the winning team, plusa salary of 6,000,000 dollars for the winners to split up. If you are interested, please contact Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft. Submission due AUGUST 15.

Okay. It’s still August 8.

And Daddy is loading up the car, and if you were paying attention, you’d know why. Right now, we are off to Old Faithful, so I can take notes for the competition and also take a chance at finding who to work with on the competition. Meanwhile, my aunt is helping my mom register for the Bill Gates competition, and my father is doing the happy Snoopy dance because he is so happy.

Now we are at Old Faithful, and I am looking for some nice looking girls to do the competition with. Just as I was going to give up, I spotted a familiar face.

“Hello, Kellania.”

“Hello, Josephine. What are you doing here?!”

“Don’t panic, Kell. I was invited by your uncle. I am here to help you out, with your contest thingamabob. Speaking of Bobs, how about I take you over to Bob’s Pizza for Lunch??” Things were going on in my mind. Why had Josephine wanted to help anyways?? Besides, I barely knew her. She was the smartest, the prettiest, and the most perfect girl in the school, maybe even in the world!!! And her parents were billionaires!!! Man, gazillionaires!!!

Over at Bob’s Pizza, a girl and boy that were probably twins were arguing about something. When they saw me, they stopped arguing and waved at me. When I went over to them, I said, “Do you want to join me in the competition???”

“Sure. My name is Jack, and that is Julie,” the boy said.

Now only one more person, I thought.

“Time for the eruption,” Jack and Julie said together.

We ran to get a last slice of pizza and then caught a bench in front of Old Faithful. The boy sitting next to me had blonde, almost white hair and was reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and looked as if he was in sixth grade. Every once in a while, he would look at his phone and text to Mom.

“Hey.” I was startled by his voice and glanced at his book.

“I have read Jane Eyre too,” I said. “Care to join me in the contest??”


“Isn’t it weird when the jerk who runs the school makes Jane stand on the stool??” Him again. End of conversation. Deal made. Then, just about when he picked up Jane Eyre again, Old Faithful erupted.

August 11

Today I am supposed to meet Josephine, Julie, Jack, and James (this is the boy who was reading Jane Eyre yesterday) at James’ house, just a few blocks away from our hotel. At eight in the morning, I set off for James’ house for our meeting. Once I walked in, I knew James’ parents were well-educated. James told me to guess what his parents’ jobs were. It was pretty easy to tell what his mother’s job was. I mean, whose house plays flute music on the stairs and has sheet music on the coffee table and a music stand with a silver flute laid across it? Next, James made us guess what his father’s job was. That was also pretty easy because the moment we went into one of the upstairs rooms, a man with a white lab coat stepped out of the room.

“Hello. My name is Michael. Nice to meet you. I am a science professor.”

After, we had some pretzels, we went into his room, which was huge, and sat down on his big huge couch that could probably fit way more than five people comfortably, and Josie (Josephine) began.

“First things first, what is a problem about the animals?”

“They poop too much,” said James.

“Very well, James,” said Josephine. “You may do an extra report for the competition on how animals digest and the shape of the waste and how to identify their footprints.”

James groaned.

“Okay, now for you,” Josephine said.

“Josephine, you are acting way too much like the boss. I think Kelly should be the boss.” Julie stuck her hip out and glared at Josephine. Josephine blushed.

“I think that we should do a report on geysers and animals combined,” I said. Jack thought that was a great idea.

“And by the way, James, you do not have to do your poop report alone. That extra report will be very important, so Josephine can help you with it.” Julie smirked. Now it was Josephine’s turn to glare.

Jack said, “Don’t the geysers come from under the crust of earth?”

“Isn’t the earth supposed to have a lot of minerals?” Josephine was now madly typing on her silver and diamond computer. “It says here that the geysers are exposed to a lot of different metals and moreover, exposed to, drumroll please.” Jack and James made a drumroll on a fake army drum. “Arsenic!!!” shouted Josephine.

“Okay, so you guys get to go to different geysers and actually have fun, while Josephine and I have to go to parks to collect dung??” James whined.

“That’s not fair,” wailed Josephine.

“No one asked for your opinion,” Julie retorted.

“Well, you never have to collect dung,” Josephine shot back. The two got into a fight and were rolling around in the bed. Basically, they were just shouting. (“Excuse me, I am not going to collect dung!!”)

Meanwhile, I was sitting on the couch thinking. Then, I rolled around on the couch, and I thought, Isn’t the water supposed to be hot? If it was hot, wouldn’t it lure animals in the winter?? Maybe it would. What would happen if the animals drank the water, or even worse, bathed in it? Something was forming in my mind. “Josephine, Julie, come over here!! I ran over to them and pushed them apart. The two girls stopped fighting and walked over here.

I said, “Okay. So if James and Josephine collect the dung, I’ll explain.” Josephine had a defeated look on her face.

“Oh, all right. Now get on with it.”

“So what if the animals drink the geyser water!”

“Big deal.” Josephine snorted. Clearly she was still angry with Julie.

“But, that means they have arsenic in them!!” Julie said. “So, if the hunters hunt the animals and eat them, they’ll get sick!!

“Absolutely!” I shouted. The boys had went out to collect some elk and bison dung, and now they came back with a plastic bag with brown stuff. I am not lying, they look funny. They had nose plugs, too large plastic lab coats, and yellow rubber gloves with matching boots.

“So, have you guys figured out anything yet?”

“Loads,” I said, or I squealed.

“Hey, isn’t your father a science professor?” Julie asked.

“Bring the dung to your father, James, he’ll have it analyzed, and you, Jack, go get us some more pretzels,” Josephine ordered.

“Josephine,” said Julie warningly.

Anyways, Dr. Michael says that he can get the dung analyzed in a few days. I guess I won’t have time to write these days. It’s okay. I think I could fill you up once I have time. James’ mother had an exercise to keep us going. Basically, she wanted us to write a paragraph on what we love. That was a pretty good exercise, but I couldn’t stop thinking about The geyser’s animals and how they connect. I guess I got so distracted that I fell asleep.

August 16

Okay. Don’t get mad. I will fill you up on everything, after I am done eating this pretzel. Jack is talking away about how the pretzels at June’s Super Deli are really good and that we should really try them and the Cokes there have frost down the sides. It’s driving me crazy. Right now, we are sitting on one of the plum colored squishy chairs in the hotel, and my older sister is lounging on the springy white sofa that she has made into one of her private lounging places.

She says that all younger children, “Don’t have the responsibility to recline on regal couches with beautiful ladies.” She is annoying too.

We have just gotten a reply from Dr. Michael, which you might remember if you cared. The results are coming out on the 20th of August, and Dr. Michael says that the dung shows definite signs of Arsenic. Josephine and I wrote up the report about the geysers, and James and Jack are still working on the extra poop report that they still have to do. Josephine got out of doing it by who knows how. Our report is mostly finished and Julie, who is good at arts and crafts, is making a beautiful diorama that shows the geysers, the animals, and the hunters, creeping up behind. Then, all of us pitched in to write a few words about how we came up with this idea, and I helped Julie write a few words about what was in the diorama. Josephine figured that she needed to help the boys because she thought they were getting on too slowly. While all the ladies sat down to see when the prizes of the competition would be given, all the men, and I am not kidding, were sitting and reading newspapers just like my dad.

Jack was responsible for getting the pretzels from June’s Super Deli. Except, he ate them all before he could get back. The boys are really close to finishing because, as a matter of fact, Josephine is writing for them. I am really anxious because well, if you were paying attention, the results are coming out in four days. Only four days!!! Now Josephine is coming up with an ending sentence for the boys, which means they are almost done. Okay. The ending touch. Julie is now pasting the extra report and the main report to the diorama then adding the sparkly sign I had made to the diorama. It was finished. In four days, we are going to The Yellowstone Caldera, where the contest is going to be held. It is said that Bill Gates himself is going to make an appearance to announce the winner of the contest. There are butterflies in my stomach. Also, we have to pick out the clothing for the contest/party. Josephine already has her gown picked out. It is a silver gown studded with diamonds. Pretty cool. James’ suit is a red tailcoat and green army pants. At first, Jack wanted to wear a blue sweater and jeans but Josephine plainly said no. Instead, Julie picked out a blue army coat for him and yellow smart-looking pants. I still can’t choose between a slim, wide skirted green gown and a full skirt blue and silver dress. Julie is wearing a yellow dress with hoops. I am just so tired and stressed out. Maybe I should take a break.

August 20


It’s the day. Yellowstone Caldera is just a few miles away. I am just trying to be calm, but I can’t!!! Our diorama is tucked safely under a blanket in a cushiony basket in the trunk. My head is spinning around in circles. My brain is singing a song.

It’s the day. Yellowstone Caldera is a few miles away. Bill Gates is eating lemon ice cream, but everyone else is screaming!!!

I can’t stand it!! Jack is so annoying. He is actually singing his brain song out loud! This is his song:

“Bill Gates is eating pretzels la la la la la la la la. I love eating pretzels, so we are similar!! La la la la la la la la la!

Two more miles, one and a half more miles, one more mile, a half mile, we are here!! Ahhh!

By the way, I chose the blue and silver dress for the party, so I have to lift my skirts. Josephine is helping Julie lift the diorama out of the car and into one of the racks. We are five minutes early, and the adults are helping me get the banner saying THE 4 JS AND 1 K STRIKE AGAIN!!! up on to the top of the rack. Okay. Bill Gates is arriving. All the Honda and BMW and Mercedes and Toyota cars follow him. Bill Gates gives the other groups a few minutes to set up, then we clear, and he takes a bunch of looks around. By now, I am the only one not looking at Bill Gates. I am writing in this diary. He stops at our diorama and stares at it for a long time. Then, he moves on. He stops at another report and examines it closely. Then, he whistles to his housekeeper, and she brings a tan colored chair that was probably from India onto the stage.

Bill Gates stands up and says, “The winner is… ” I squeeze my eyes shut, and Josephine pinches my hand. “… The 4 Js and 1K!!!” Did you know that your heart can stop when you are like totally excited??

One year later…

It’s been a year since I have written to you, and you must remember that I won the contest, and that I had loads of help, and that we now have $1,200,000. And a gold trophy. Well, we got a new house, and now I have my own room. Last year included one of the most exciting events of my life. And this journal was part of it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *