On the Rock: Rock spectacle | AspenTimes.com

On the Rock: Rock spectacle

Bob Ward

Last weekend we met some old friends and their kids at Lincoln Gulch Campground for a weekend of rock-climbing and general outdoor mayhem. There were four adults, five children under the age of 7, and two dogs. We had two minivans, two coolers full of food, two stoves, several bottles of booze and heaps of climbing gear. We sacked out early Friday, but Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, and everyone was stoked. The kids climbed hard all morning, ate a hefty lunch and splashed in the creek through the better part of the afternoon.In retrospect, we flirted with danger all weekend. We coaxed 5-year-olds up steep walls of granite. We allowed them to heave large rocks into the stream, often in close proximity to their siblings. They swam for hours in frigid mountain streams.When the inevitable mishap occurred, it had nothing to do with children on cliffs or even minivans on Lincoln Creek Road. It involved a parent (this parent) and a Leatherman multi-tool.After several hours of flinging stones near his sisters, my son grew bored and requested a specially carved “ninja stick,” meaning a dried-out aspen branch with a handle in the middle. He wields these things like a Power Ranger to scare (or impress?) the girls. His mom disapproves but what the hell, I thought – he’d been a good boy.I fetched my Leatherman, pulled out the knife and began whittling, shaving down sharp nubs and carving a channel in the middle for a handle. Somewhere in the tornado of wood shavings, however, the point of the blade jumped off the stick and skewered my left wrist. Blood everywhere. Holy crap.A rapid-fire discussion ensued – OK, we’ve stopped the blood flow and cleaned the wound, but shouldn’t a doctor look at this thing? And how dirty was that blade?An hour or so later, the friendly ER folks at Aspen Valley Hospital had me all stitched up. Sent me on my way, didn’t even make fun of me. We were back in camp in time for meaty pasta, wine and a campfire. The next morning the kids did lots more dangerous stuff, without incident.The lesson? Let the kids go wild – rock-climbing, rock-throwing, ninja sticks, sugar overloads, whatever. Just don’t let Daddy near the knives.