The Dryplace

by Sophie Allen, age 11
The Dryplace Sophie is an 11-year-old writer with bright ideas, a big sense of humor, and is inspired by the world around her.

“My name is Lee Jordan. I am an explorer for the Australian Nature Society. Yesterday we set off on my first expedition.”

October 2, 1996

Dear Diary,

My name is Lee Jordan. I am an explorer for the Australian Nature Society. Yesterday we set off on my first expedition. We are in the outback. In my giant backpack I packed three big water bottles, six days of food, three changes of clothes, a raincoat, a compass, a pocket knife, a box of matches, this diary, a sleeping bag, and a tiny tent.

Your very own,

Lee

October 3, 1996

Dear Diary,

It’s currently 5:00 AM. Everyone is asleep. Today we check if this part of the forest’s koalas are healthy and strong. We set out at 8:00 AM. Oh, Alex just woke up. We are supposed to make breakfast for the other troupe members.

Your very own,

Lee

October 3, 1996

Dear Diary,

OH MY GOD! Somehow I ended up in the desert!!! Let me tell you about it. So we had set out on the trail, and I stopped to tie my shoe. I was tying my shoe for two minutes. When I looked up, the troupe was all the way across the field. So I ran to catch them, but they had turned a corner. When I caught up to where I last saw the troupe, it was dark and full of rocks. They had turned one of two corners. I turned the other one, and I ended up here!!! Now I don’t know what to do. Like I told you, I have six days worth of food, so if I don’t get out of here fast enough I am dead meat.

Your very own,

Lee

October 3, 1996

Dear Diary,

I finally found a place to stay tonight. It’s in a little valley surrounded by sand dunes. As soon as I set up the tent, I got a fire started and cooked a sausage. It was okay. Oh, and did I mention that it is fa-reezing, like so cold. I have my sleeping bag and tent, but that’s about it for warmth. I mean, I could heat up rocks over the fire and stick them under the sleeping bag. But that would give warmth for about an hour. I think I’m going to bed now.

Your very own,

Lee

October 4, 1996

Dear Diary,

I just woke up 15 minutes ago, restarted the fire, and started making some breakfast when I realized that I still had my emergency transponder in my backpack. When I went to look for it in my backpack, I found it in the lower right inside compartment. But to my “pleasant” surprise, the transponder was smashed from when I dropped my backpack two days ago. Now I have no idea what to do unless I can figure out how to get this thing fixed soon.

Your very own,

Lee

October 7, 1996

Dear Diary,

I know I haven’t written in a while, but I was busy working on the emergency transponder. But I think I finally cracked the code. I have some emergency parts in my backpack, and the part that was smashed was not the satellite, and I finally figured out how to take the satellite out of the transponder. So now I have to send the emergency signal with my location. It’s starting to warm

up in the desert, but at night it gets absolutely freezing.

Your very own,

Lee

October 8, 1996

Dear Diary,

I finally fixed the transponder!!! I reattached the wire that connected the microchip and the satellite, and I had sent the distress signal. They should be here in about three hours, and I am going to explore a little bit of the wildlife for now until the helicopter gets here. I will kind of miss the desert because it’s a world of wonder and exploration, and I will be sad to leave it. But hopefully I will get a chance to come back another day.

Your very own,

Lee

July 16, 1997

Dear Diary,

Hi… Remember me? Lee, the girl who got lost in the desert? Today, I’m in my lab. After the incident, I decided to keep up my research on the Australian outback. So the Australian Nature Society has agreed to help me with my research on the outback. The society and I have created a team made up of wildlife professionals and naturalists, including me. I try not to speak of the incident, but when I have to, people find it a very interesting topic. I would like to become a naturalist for all the world to see some day.

Your very own,

Lee


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