Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the Slipstream

This has been the first week in three months that my roommate Drew and I have been on the same work schedule. We picked up where we left off, non stop exploration of the island searching for waves and trails. We headed out from Volcano driving up the Hamakua Coast, stopping along the way to check our favorite surf breaks. There wasn't much happening in the way of waves so we went to Waimea to explore the Kohala Forest Reserve. I had been once before by myself and got severely spooked. The area has been closed since an earthquake in 2006. I heard the trail went to the back of Waipio Valley and was amazingly beautiful. I ran about two miles in and I had a strong feeling that I was being watched by something. There was a thick fog and mist falling, adding to my suspicious feelings. I ignored the feeling until the hair on the back of my neck stood up and an overwhelming feeling of fear came over me. I turned around and sprinted as fast as I could out of there. Towards the end a pig moved in the brush, not realizing it was a pig I let out a scream. I felt like a fool once I realized what it was. Once I made it back to my car I vowed never to return.

Yet there I found myself, the same heavy fog and mist falling. This time I was not alone. Since the trail is so over grown it was not that enjoyable. I would describe it as an "experience." Trails that are basically streams, washed out and on the edge of a cliff with a huge drop if one were to fall.

(Drew is in there somewhere)
We came to a clearing and heard a loud sound that was like a freight train rumbling. A waterfall, but the fog was so thick we could only hear it. Then we spotted a cave and went in for a look.

We did not have lights and used our camera flash for momentary light as we walked along. It went back pretty far, definitely something to explore when we go back with lights. We bushwhacked our way back out and headed for Kalopa State Park. There are some beautiful trails through native forest. I felt like I was running trails in northern California. Giant Koa trees and ferns were everywhere, we ran around for a few hours admiring the scenery.

When we made it back to Volcano we got wind that a south swell was due to hit. We along with our friend Katie packed it up and made the trek to one of my favorite places ever, Halape. It is an eight mile hike with our boards into complete paradise.

(Lava Trail)
Not only did we have the break all to ourselves, we had the whole beach. There was probably not another person around for 10 miles. Halape did not disappoint, head high surf and beautiful lagoons to snorkel in. Me and Drew were in the water at sunrise and stayed for at least three hours.

Once we paddled in we decided to walk up the coast to the next bay, about a mile away to check the waves and sit in the shade. There were some amazing tide pools we swam around in looking at the bright coral and colorful fish.

We paddled out not knowing what to expect and being careful to avoid any rocks in the water. We stayed out for a few hours, it was a nice left point break, not as good as Halape but a very cool place. After a nap and some food it was time for the twilight session. The wind died down and the waves were really coming through. It is a tricky spot because the water is not deep at all with sharp lava rock under it. We were both lucky this time to escape with no cuts. I did get held under for good while after being taken out by a clean up set. That is the worst, being hammered wave after wave. Some lyrics came into my head while being tossed around underwater. It started to make sense to me. "Tsunami drown me till I feel alive." They made sense, not in some sick masochistic way but a state of mind. Being totally immersed with what I am doing makes me feel completely alive. Hiking out there, sleeping under the shooting stars, being in the ocean all day and interacting with the environment was the Tsunami drowning me until I felt alive.

(The Mill, just outside of Hilo)

Drew and Katie made this video last month when they were there.

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