Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trippin in The Frog Ship Voyager

I recently purchased a van, perfect for island adventuring. Plenty of room for bikes, boards, and sleeping. It has a few quirks which make it all the more lovable and adds personality. I decided to name it "The Frog Ship", with several variations. Frog Ship Odyssey, H.M.S Frog Ship, Purple Frogger.......

For the maiden voyage I decided to take a trip up the Hamakua Coast and run from Waipio to Waimanu Valley. I camped in Kalopa State Park the night before, a mere 15 minutes from the Waipio overlook. Kalopa is at 2,000ft. elevation making the temperatures cool and moist. I went for a little run through the lush old growth forest, through giant ferns and towering eucalyptus trees. I made it back just after the darkness settled and bunkered down in The Frog Ship. I removed the two back seats so there would be plenty of room. I sat under the moonlight pickin' at my banjo and thinking about the beautiful trails that awaited.

The next thing I heard was my phone alarm beeping and I leaped up in excitement. I drove the short distance to Waipio and watched the sun rise, with the moon still shining bright. I have made the hike in a few times so I knew how brutal the trail was. It is only 20 miles round trip but there are some killer climbs.

This was the most prepared for a run I have ever been. I carried two hand held water bottles and even brought along a GU. It starts off with a 900ft. descent down a super steep road to the Waipio Valley floor. Once at the bottom I ran about a mile along the black sand beach and listened to the glassy waves roll in. Next comes the infamous Z trail which climbs 1,200ft in a mile. I slowly ran up, enjoying the view while gasping for air. After reaching the plateau the trail undulates for about 7 miles through 12 gulches with some 500ft climbs in the mix before the 1,200ft. descent into Waimanu. I pushed pretty hard on the way and was kind of beat once reaching Waimanu. I went for a swim and did some body surfing in awe of the lush landscape. What a magical trail, lined with mystical ironwood trees and huge Cook Pines. The run back was considerably slower, I was bushed from all of the climbing. I held out on the GU until the bitter end. I don't know what I have against energy gels, for some reason I despise using them when not in races. I took it down after the climb out of Waimanu and continued on. Lost in the beauty of my surrounds I was back at Waipio before I knew it. The final climb out of the valley was brutal. I started to feel loopy about half way up and fought off thoughts of walking. It had been a while since I had a run where I immediately collapsed and curled up. I opened up the back of Frogger and collapsed and just laid on my side for who knows how long. I was on the trails for just over four hours and my legs felt every minute of it. After guzzling some water and eating a PB and honey sandwich I was feeling great and ready to drive back to Volcano.

The rest of the week was epic. After surviving the drive to Waipio it was time to take
H.M.S Frogger across the island. The adventure began like most do on Wednesday evenings before I get off of work. My friend and fellow co-worker Sarah joined me on the trip. Too many awesome things happened to explain!
-Kayaked in Kiholo Bay, swimming with turtles in a turquoise lagoon
-Watching Sarah spin fire
-Were 10ft. from breaching Humpback Whales!
-Paddled to the Captain Cook monument, snorkeling and swimming with dolphins
-Threw a Frisbee around in a misty meadow on Mana Road
-Played Quan(a fun hand game) from a tree in the mist back in Kalopa SP
Epic fun had by all!