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Lewis and Clark

George Shannon- Lost in the New World, Part 1

Lewis and Clark<BR>(1804-1806)
Lewis and Clark

George Shannon- Lost in the New World, Part 1
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.37

     challenging words:    buckskin, daring, flintlock, heading, instantly, keelboat, lowering, poled, reload, trigger, backup, clumsy, packing, private, prickle, tales
     content words:    Private Shannon, Captain Lewis, Young George Shannon, Captain Clark, Camp Wood, George Shannon, Missouri River

George Shannon- Lost in the New World, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The bushes behind him rustled. Private Shannon whirled around. His gun was at his shoulder. He jumped as the shrill chatter of a squirrel ripped through the afternoon stillness. Lowering his rifle barrel, he let out a breath. The sound in the brush hadn't been a wildcat or a wolf. It hadn't been an Indian, either. That was lucky! He stepped forward to lean the rifle against a tree.
2     Suddenly the brush exploded a few feet in front of him. With a thunder of wings, a large bird lifted out of the foliage. A wild turkey! Shannon brought the rifle up and pulled the trigger. Pfffft! He groaned at the sound. His flintlock had misfired. Well, the turkey hadn't gone too far. The birds' large bodies made them clumsy in the air. They only flew short distances.
3     Shannon reached for the buckskin pouch at his side. He replaced the tiny piece of flint in the hammer of his rifle. Then he stepped quietly into the brush. He scanned the branches above him. The sun stabbed here and there through the leaves, blinding him. He couldn't tell where the turkey had come to rest.
4     He took another step. Craaack! His moccasin-clad foot came down on a dead branch. The breaking of the dry limb had sounded like a cannon going off. Shannon heard the pounding of wings again. There it was! The turkey flashed in front of him, heading across the clearing. He pulled the rifle up and shot. BOOM! This time the rifle roared. But the big bird flew off deep into the trees. He had missed!
5     Shannon sighed. No turkey for supper tonight. And he had only a couple of lead balls left for the rifle. He tried not to think what would happen if he ran out before he caught up with the boats. He searched the brush around him for berries. This late in the season the berries were shriveled and over-ripe. He picked and ate a handful. He sure wished they were roast turkey.
6     Shannon sat on the ground. He leaned against the rough bark of a tree, his rifle against his shoulder. The tree's big limbs and cool green foliage blocked some of the late summer heat. He was tired and very hungry. Sleepily, Shannon counted back. It had been three days since he'd left the main party on the river.
7     Even as worn out as he was, Shannon felt a spark of excitement. He was part of a daring journey! He would never forget meeting Captain Lewis. The Captain had been in Pittsburgh to buy supplies. At a dinner party, Lewis had spoken of his mission in the West. The captain had looked tall and striking in his uniform. Shannon had listened, spellbound.
8     Exploring! What an exciting life that would be! Young George Shannon had signed up with Captain Clark. They had ridden to St. Louis to join the crew. The seventeen-year-old had become an explorer.
9     At Camp Wood were soldiers, trappers, and frontiersmen. Many could tell tales of the West that would curl your hair. Shannon came in for some ribbing, being the youngest of the group. But, he reflected, he had held his own. With a glow of pride he remembered a conversation overheard as he was packing water past the captains' tent.

Paragraphs 10 to 17:
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