Thursday, June 5, 2008

Between a rock & a hard place.

Some days the reason why you have the job that you do, and you do all the work that you do, just becomes so blatantly apparent.

Last weekend, I was in Boulder Canyon climbing with a friend. We were at a relatively small crag, but were sharing the area with another group that was quite large. There were two couples and their kids, plus a few of their kids friends, making for 4 adults and 6 children – or, quite a lot of people to all be concentrating in one area.

As most kids do, they had a more heightened sense of curiosity and exploration that set them off scrambling around the rocks. I kept thinking that it was encouraging seeing these kids outside and getting exposure to a new sport at such an early age!

At one point though, one of the older kids found a larger rock and proceeded to pick it up and carve it in to other rocks. Then, he began smashing it repeatedly over others, taking pleasure in seeing the bits and pieces of rock shard fly. It was his own nature demo, a testing of the elements, and probably very cool in his eyes. However, it was kind of a threat to others there, and obviously to the natural environment. Do I say something to someone else’s kid, though?

That’s when Dad came to the rescue.

“Hey,” he said, “that’s a pretty great rock you found there.”

The kid paused and looked up briefly, then continued hammering.

“You know when I’m outside,” the Dad continued, “I like to always do something called leave no trace. Do you know what that is?”

The kid paused again, looked up, but kept his rock suspended in mid air.


“Well, when we’re outside doing activities like climbing, it means that we like to keep the area where we are better than when we got here. So, we pick up our trash, we are careful not to put our packs down on plants but on rocks instead, and we are considerate of other climbers who might be in the area.”

And the conversation went from there, Dad and his 6-year old son learning about Leave No Trace, right next to me on a Saturday morning. It just happened on its own.

After they were done, I leaned over to the Dad and said, “That just made my day. I love hearing about Leave No Trace.”

And he said, “So do I. That’s why I do it. And besides, everybody my age knows about it. What about our kids?”

Ditto, Dad. What about our kids?

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