That’s the breaks on Spring Break
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Too much, too many: too many things to do, especially during spring break, and in the desert. Kim later said that he knew, with nine people out for a mountain-bike ride in Moab, that someone was probably going to have equipment problems and someone was probably going to get hurt.
Our younger son was already hiking in the desert with Kim, Lori, their boys, and a mother-son duo when Mike and I and our 16-year-old arrived on a cold Thursday. The next morning, following endless debates by typical Rocky Mountain dwellers variously interested in hiking, ski touring, biking, bouldering and/or combinations thereof, we all – except me, who hiked – set off to ride the Klondike Bluffs Trail.
Our 13-year-old, Roy, had a rented cross-country bike, from which, unfortunately, the wheel fell off. The group got the wheel back on, but then the brakes dragged. Eventually, higher up, Mike turned the bike upside-down and sat in the sand to fix it, spinning the wheel. He had just about finished when he looked away for a second, and the disk sliced into his thumb at half-height on the nail, cutting two-thirds of the way through the top of his thumb.
I have seen or known of Kim, a physician, at work in many varied field-dressing situations, putting in what he calls “stitches under a juniper bush.” He has sewn up his sons and their friends at bike races, sewn or taped kids up at ski races (he casted three hands and/or arms at one Junior Olympics), and temporarily slung two broken arms when camping friends brought their children over to his yurt in Castle Valley.
One day a friend ran in from a neighboring yurt, and when the first thing he said was, “Thank goodness you’re here,” Kim could guess about what was coming. Indeed he was soon sewing up the noggin of a boy whose brother had chucked a rock at him. Kim cut his own toe wearing flip-flops at his child’s river-rafting birthday party, and sewed it up himself.
But I had never seen anything like the M.A.S.H. session in his yurt that night, as by lantern and headlamp Kim sank beefy stitches around and into the nail, and all the way out the other side. We were among good friends, and one, Kir, brought Mike cheese, crackers and a margarita.
“That was worse than I thought it would be,” I told Kim afterwards of the wound, and suddenly remembered saying exactly that a month ago when he stitched up the forehead of our older son, Teddy.
A friend says that springtime in the Rockies is the time of too many choices, in the multitude of possibilities for recreation on peaks and rivers. What we mainly did, though, on that trip was drive.
Our family had been supposed to go to Delta, a third point in a triangle with Moab and Carbondale, that afternoon, and camp at a friend’s, from thence to proceed to Teddy’s track meet in Cedaredge on Saturday morning.
After Mike was hurt, the boys and I, urgently and in darkening light, took down the pop-up camper, Teddy and me collapsing and hitching it up, while Roy stood in the truck bed, packing as we handed up skis, boots, poles, bikes, helmets, bouldering pads, packs, duffle bags and food boxes. At 9 p.m., we drove the 3.5 hours to Carbondale. Getting an interim motel room would have meant we had to unload, for safekeeping, all the bikes and skis, then load them all again pre-dawn. So we came clear home, and Teddy was out the door at 5:45 a.m. for the team bus.
Mike, Roy and I followed hours later, knowingly missing Teddy’s first event, ultimately realizing we had driven four hours round-trip to watch him race for 48 seconds.
Which, this time, may have been too little, as well as too much.
– Alison Osius (firstname.lastname@example.org) lives in Carbondale.
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