The Camp Caper

Frogs and crickets and bears! Oh my!

Kyra needs an imagination cape, but the last piece has been stolen. While looking, the Shubin kids uncover an invasion plot, theft, and a kidnapping. Can the cousins stop the Camp Caper before it is too late?  
Published: 2005
Artwork: Kathy & David Hayes
Characters: Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Georgie, Trinity, Anika, Kyra
Character Order on Cover: (left to right, backrow) Anika, Nichol, Kyra (on lap), Skyler, Georgie. (left to right, front row) Olivia, Trinity
Story Location: Real; Belknap Hot Springs on the MacKenzie River in Oregon.


Many of the landmark features of Belknap Hot Springs are represented in this story.


Paperback: AmazonBarnes & NoblePowells
Also available on Kindle!

First Chapter

Going Camping

“Are we there yet?” Trinity called from the back seat of the van.

“Almost. We’ll be there soon,” her mommy said from the front.

“It seems like we’ve been driving forever,” moaned Anika.

Georgie, Trinity, Anika, and Kyra Shubin were all packed into their van on their way to Belknap Hot Springs to go camping. Everyone, including their mommy and daddy, was excited to spend three days in the beautiful campgrounds. Uncle David and Auntie Erica would be there too with their cousins: Nichol, Skyler, and Olivia Shubin.

There was always plenty of fun things to do at Belknap. At the top of the hill was a group of campsites where they always stayed. Down at the bottom of the hill was the lodge where they bought yummy ice cream and candy. While they liked to go walking in the beautiful forest across the river and play in the different grassy meadows, what they liked best was to go swimming in the warm swimming pool.

But this trip to Belknap was different. This time the Shubin cousins had a secret task to accomplish. Carefully packed away in their suitcases, each of the Shubin cousins had a special cape. An imagination cape. Their imagination capes might look normal enough, but when they put them on, their imagined adventures all became more real and more fun.

There was only one place where the Shubin cousins could get the special imagination capes. High in a tree at Belknap lived Reverie, an imagination bird who made the capes. Kyra was getting old enough to begin to play with them, and all the Shubins agreed that they needed to find Reverie to get Kyra her own imagination cape.

Finally the van pulled into Belknap. Their daddy found where they were going to be staying, and they drove up the steep hill and circled around looking for their spot.

“There it is!” said Georgie pointing to an empty space between tall trees. The number of their campsite was painted on the ground. “Uncle David and Auntie Erica beat us.”

Sure enough Uncle David, Auntie Erica, Nichol, Skyler, and Olivia were parked in the space just next to theirs. They were all unpacking. Skyler was helping his daddy put up the tent, while Nichol and Olivia helped their mommy unpack their van.

“Hi!” Skyler yelled when Georgie and his siblings got out of their van. Nichol was chewing some gum, and she blew a big bubble.

“Hey, cool!” said Georgie. “Do you have any more gum?”

“Yes,” said Nichol. “I’ve got some grape Yumble.”

“Yumble is really cool,” Skyler said. “It’s a new gum that is extra strong. You can even play catch with a bubble after it’s blown.”

“Can you teach me how to blow a bubble?” asked Trinity.

“Me, too!” chimed in Anika.

“Sure,” Nichol said then lowered her voice to a whisper, “after we visit You Know Who.”

The tents needed to be put up, beds made, suitcases put away, and the food safely stored. After all that was finished, a fire was lit in the fire pit and their daddies and mommies sat around the fire talking.

“Let’s get our imagination capes on and go visit Reverie right now,” Nichol suggested to the other kids.

Everyone like the idea and Georgie added, “If we hurry, we can go swimming after we get Kyra’s cape.”

“Don’t forget the bag of nuts for Reverie,” reminded Trinity.

Reverie liked nuts, especially pistachios, and the kids always brought her a bag when they came to Belknap.

Soon Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Georgie, Trinity, and Anika were back together with their imagination capes on. Olivia held the bag of pistachios. Nichol asked permission for them to go for a walk. Their parents all said that it was okay, but they had to stay on the hill and stay together. The Shubin cousins all agreed.

“We will be a band of explorers,” said Skyler as they began to look for Reverie, “like Lewis and Clark who came looking for Oregon.”

Instantly Skyler had on buckskin pants, a deerhide jacket, and a coonskin cap. Georgie wore the same. The girls, however, chose to be Indian princesses with pretty beaded headbands, buckskin dresses, and soft moccasins.

The six Shubins set off to find Reverie. Her tree was a tall pine next to the edge of the hill and had a great view of the Santiam river that flowed through the center of Belknap. It was also in a clump of other pine trees; so, if you didn’t know what to look for, you would never see it.

The Shubins knew what to look for. Reverie had a woodpecker hollow out the pine tree for her nest and workshop. At her front door she hung a small clump of tiny white flowers. If you didn’t look close you would think it was a bit of white moss, and you would miss the tiny blue bucket they were sitting in. Nichol had given the blue bucket to Reverie as a present years ago.

The Shubins gathered at the foot of the tree. Carefully they looked around to see that no one was watching. No one was near by so they called Reverie’s name.

They called it three times, paused, and called it again. This was the signal they had set up to let Reverie know it was them.

After the last name was said, a bright blue head popped out of the hole in the tree. “Nichol! Skyler! Georgie! Trinity! Anika! Olivia! It is so good to see you!”

“We brought you some pistachios,” Olivia said holding up the bag of nuts.

“The red ones!” chirped Reverie. “My favorite.”

Reverie flew down to a branch that clicked and bent as she landed. Next to the branch a small patch of bark lowered to reveal a small hole. Olivia put the nuts into the hole. Later, she knew, Reverie would transfer the pistachios to her winter storeroom.

Reverie flew off the branch and the door closed. Reverie landed on Nichol’s shoulder, her favorite perch when talking to the Shubin cousins.

“I see the capes are all in good working order. You always take such good care of them.”

The children smiled. They did try their best to care for their special capes.

“So how long are you going to be visiting?”

“Three days,” answered Skyler.

“The last time you were here,” Reverie said turning to Georgie, “you said your mother had an egg in the nest.”

“Yes, now Kyra is walking, and she needs her own imagination cape. We were hoping you would have one for her.”

Reverie hung her head and flitted from one branch to another. “I had one left, but someone stole the ribbon that holds it on. And I don’t have any more right now.”

The kids all looked at one another. They knew that Reverie used special ribbons for the capes that were not easily found.

Skyler spoke up, “What if we found who stole your ribbon for you? Could you finish the imagination cape for Kyra?”

“Oh yes,” chirped Reverie. She looked much happier. “Do you think you can find it?”

“Of course we can!” all the children said at once.

“When did you last see the ribbon?” asked Trinity remembering the advice her mommy gave when she lost something.

Reverie cocked her head this way and that trying to remember. After a moment she said, “I know I saw it in my workroom two days ago. Now, will you stay and have some pistachios with me?”

“Oh no,” Nichol said, “if we have only three days to find your ribbon, we will need to start looking right away.”

“When we find it, we would love to sit and have some pistachios with you,” added Olivia.

“Do you have any idea where we can start looking?” asked Georgie.

Reverie cocked her head again. “Try asking the bears at Heart Pond. They might have seen something,” suggested the bird.

The children called their thanks and went to find the bears at Heart Pond.


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