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Molly Marches On

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Molly Marches On is part of the Short Stories collections, focusing on Molly McIntire.

Characters

Only in Molly Marches On

Story Summary

Molly runs up to her tent and announces that all the new campers are going on an overnight nature walk tomorrow. Susan, Linda, and Molly celebrate as their older camper friend Irene wishes she could go again. The first hike at Camp Gowonagin was overnight and at the end, there was a special surprise the older campers were sworn to secrecy about. Molly is especially excited about the hike and the surprise since she'd read a book about Sacagawea and her travels before leaving for camp. Molly is happy that she'll be like Sacajawea was when she was traveling.

The hike turns out to differ from Molly's expectations. Everyone talks and sings loudly instead of making as little sound as possible, and the group follows a marked trail instead of exploring the woods. Molly tries to find her own way by taking deep breaths, but all she gets is curiosity from her friends and more singing. Soon the trail guide, Miss Butternut, tells the girls they will race to the surprise and split into two groups. Miss Butternut repeats the rules: never hike alone, never go off the trail, and always carry water. Molly ignores her, thinking that Sacajawea never had any rules. Walking ahead of the group, Molly reaches a fork in the trail and takes one path. Linda shouts that Molly is taking the wrong path and Molly insists she isn't. Susan points out the stick on the ground, saying it's a trail mark while Molly continues to insist it was just some stick that fell off a tree. Linda breaks the group apart saying everyone who wanted to follow the path with the stick could follow her. Molly continues down her path as Susan shouts that she's breaking one of the rules of hiking, but Molly replies she doesn't care.

Molly feels more like Sacajawea by herself, but after an hour she has no idea where the trail is. She hears some footsteps and crackling sounds and hears Susan call after her. Susan says that she couldn't let Molly break the first rule of hiking, but now realizes she just broke the second rule. She hopes that they don't break the third rule and asks if Molly has her water, as she drank all of hers. Molly finds that the leather pouch she'd filled with water in an attempt to copy Sacagawea has leaked, so neither of the girls has water. Molly feels ashamed and apologizes to Susan for getting them both lost. Susan jokes Molly could try sniffing the air again. Molly starts taking comically deep breaths and Susan laughs when Molly actually smells and hears some water. They find a stream which leads them to a hidden lake, and wonder if anyone has ever been here before. Susan and Molly dip their feet in the water and spend a long time enjoying the lake.

Just as the girls are about to leave the lake and look for camp, they hear footsteps and start calling out to the others. Molly apologizes to Miss Butternut for leaving, and it turns out that no one has been to the lake before. Miss Butternut says that Molly and Susan get to name the lake since they discovered it. They decide to call it "Sacagawea's Pond," and Miss Butternut tells Molly that Sacagawea would be proud. She then tells the entire group they can take a swim in it. While swimming, Molly remembers the surprise and asks Linda what it was, though she suspects the answer. Linda tells her that she can't say what it was, but Molly would have loved it.

Meet The Author

Valerie tells how she went to summer camp and used to sit around the campfire to sing songs, roast marshmallows, and listen to the counselors tell stories about Sacagawea.

Looking Back: The Story of Sacagawea

Discusses the life of Sacagawea. Topics covered:

  • Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's transcontinental expedition of the Louisiana Territory under President Jefferson's orders
  • Sacagawea, a Shosone Indian captured by the Hidatsa people, and traded to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader
  • Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau's roles in the Lewis and Clark expedition, acting as translators
  • Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau's son born during the expedition
  • Lewis and Clark's impression of Sacagawea's bravery and calmness
  • Sacagawea's reunion with the Shoshone people and securing the horses needed to continue past the Rocky Mountains for Lewis and Clark
  • Sacagawea and Jean-Baptiste's presence in the group, which served as a signal to other Native American tribes that it was a peacetime expedition
  • Plants Sacagawea gathered for food and Lewis to press and document for scientific purposes
  • Clark and Sacagawea's journey to the Pacific Ocean to search for a beached whale for food
  • Sacagawea's unknown fate following the Lewis and Clark expedition, with some theories pointing to an 1812 death, and other theories pointing to Sacagawea returning to the Shoshone tribe and dying in 1884
  • Monuments dedicated to Sacagawea

Activity: Track a Trail

Learn how to mark and follow a trail.

References and Footnotes

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