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by ruwth
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Contest Entry · #1679176
A contest entry for:"Get the Picture" Image #2 - a picture of bicycles as a prompt.
*FlowerB* Horseshoe Canyon *FlowerB*

Summertime was my very favorite time of the year when I was thirteen. We played outside from dawn to dusk. We ran around barefoot. We went to the swimming pool. When I say "we", I mean all the kids in the neighborhood. Another thing that "we" did was go on bike hikes.

The bike hikes always had the same destination: Horseshoe Canyon. I have no idea how the place came to be called that but I do know that a particular group of kids from the neighborhood would gather early in the morning at our house with their bikes and food to be shared and we would head out . . . to Horseshoe Canyon.

I don't remember how we even knew that it was there. It consisted of fields and trees and a creek. The creek . . . ah yes! We waded in that cool, clear water on those warm summer days! There was always a breeze out there. Cool water on our feet and a cool breeze on our faces . . . it was heaven on earth . . . with crawdads to bite our toes!

Crawdads . . . crayfish . . . one year, we decided that we needed to take some home with us. So we carried a bunch of them for miles back home in the baskets of our bikes. I remember we put them in one of those big white enamel tubs with the red edge around the top. I particularly remember that in the end, we populated a ditch in the neighborhood with those buggers.

How did that happen? Well, one of us was carrying that enamel tub filled with our new pets across the street going from our house to the neighbors' and . . . kerplop . . . kid, tub, crawdads . . . fell in that ditch. It was after dark . . . even though there was a street lamp, there wasn't enough light to see those crayfish . . . they escaped!

What else did we bring home in the baskets of our bikes? Well, the creek at Horseshoe Canyon had a clay bottom. It was quite slippery when wet and that clay bottom in the creek bed often meant that a few of us would end up on our bottoms in the clear, cool water! We were fascinated by that clay. We squished it between our toes, We dug it out of the creek bed and squished it between our fingers. If you got a big glop of it, so that you could get a hold of some that wasn't super wet, you could mold it into whatever you could imagine.

We wanted to do more of that so we decided that we would dig up some of this free modeling clay and take it home with us. We lined my bike's basket with our lunch sacks and piled in mounds of wet clay. Much of this clay did not make it home. The paper grocery sacks that had carried our food were not suited to the task of holding wet, slimy clay. They became soggy and began to sag through the wire squares of the basket . . . until one by one they burst and allowed some of the precious cargo to escape.

Some of the clay did make it home . . well, a lot of what made it home was on my legs and all over my bike . . . but enough stayed in the basket that we felt like successful explorers bringing home a treasure from a far land.

Adventures galore . . . with all the neighborhood kids on bikes . . . touring the canyon . . . and bringing home delights! Ah but the biggest delight we brought home on those bikes is the one that I share with you now: memories!

Word Count: 612
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