Monday, May 17, 2010

Away.....To the Sun

4:30 am, I'm suddenly wide eyed awake and jump out of bed, too excited to sleep. The night before I loaded up the essentials: Paddleboard, surfboard, running shoes, and books for a trip to the Kona side. Before the two hour ride over I went out into the chilly pre dawn morning for a run. Running through the fog filled crater with mist hanging from my skin like dew a symphony played in my head, I felt like I was in a Sigur Ros song.

I hoped into the Frog Ship and was off down the road. For the whole two hours I beat on my steering wheel and sung aloud, if I had not gone on a run I probably would have spontaneously combusted from being so pumped. I have been intrigued by Hualalai, the 8,200 ft. volcano that soars over Kona. I was hoping to run around up in the clouds and explore the crater up there. The trail was supposedly seven miles up Kaloko road, at around 5,000ft. The road winds through lush scenery with Ohia and Koa trees and Hapu'u ferns. I parked at the base of a super steep hill and ran up about a half mile and was surprised to see a locked gate with no trespassing signs up. I noticed someone sitting in a truck nearby and ran over to ask him if he knew anything about the trail. Turns out he works for Kamehameha schools which owns the land. He was there to detour people from using the trail. I ended up listening to Kaleo talk for almost an hour. He explained to me all the reasons for the trail being off access. It's rugged terrain and there has been a dangerous mix of hunters, bikers, runners, tourists, and nature enthusiasts. He was collecting data to figure out how frequent the trail was being used and by who. From there they will determine how to regulate public access to benefit everyone, while keeping the main focus land preservation. There was graffiti and broken beer bottles in front of the trail head. The sad truth is people can't even be trusted to not shoot up, trash or set fire to the land. With there being sacred areas up in the hills I don't blame them for preventing public access all together. Kaleo is a native Hawaiian and has an immense knowledge of history, I absorbed his stories like a sponge. He is a true caretaker of the land and has tremendous love and pride for the island. Hopefully one day I will be able to run up there but for now it was down out of the clouds and back into hot Kona. I spent a good majority of the rest of the day milling about in Kona Bay Books.

As twilight was fast approaching I went for an evening paddle out of Spencer Beach Park. The water was glassy and clear, allowing visibility of the reef below. There was a line of light from me to the setting Sun. It was tempting to just keep going out into the fading light, the sonic sirens were calling... Towards the life source of sonic bliss.

I paddled pretty far out and ended up.... In outer space. Here is an image I captured of the earth below as I floated through time and space:

....Only to end up back where I started, a mile out to sea paddling 100mph towards the sun. Shore back in the distance, visible only to my memory. I think of paddling as a combination of trail running and surfing. Being far out into the ocean powered by my own hands has the same feel as running over a 10,000ft. mountain pass. As the light was finally dimming I turned around and started making my way back to shore.

(Maui in the distance)

I was planning on running a half marathon in the morning so I parked for the evening festivities, ukulele strumming and reading before dozing off and going back into space.

(The cozy cabin of the Frog Ship)

I was woken up two separate times throughout the night by security guards and asked to move/leave where I was. The second time was around 1am! I am groggy when SUDDENLY woken up, especially when tired. Damn it I just want to sleep, I'm not doing anything wrong, I exclaimed!!!! Finally parking on some side street I pulled over and the next thing I knew it was morning. I drove to the start of the run and walked down to the tide pools and gazed out into the morning Pacific. I started the run along side about 40 others. I just cruised and ran at a comfortable, mellow pace most of the run. I hammered the last two miles down Ali'i drive, finishing in 1:23. It was nice to finish feeling good from not running too hard.

A friend from Hilo, Choy also made the drive over and had a cooler full of beer in his trunk. It was great to drink a beer at 8:30 in the morning and talk to a women running while balancing a bird on her arm! From the run it was off to Kiholo bay for a paddle. I was hoping to surf but it was flat on the leeward side so paddling it was. After floating around Kiloho for a good majority of the day it suddenly hit me that I was tired! At that point I just wanted to make it home to Volcano.

Light headed
Down the road

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Trails Trails Trails

The Big Island has trails through rain forests, jungles, deserts, along the ocean, and up to 13,700 ft. At 4,000 ft. elevation Volcano is an amazing place to live. Perfect weather, cool and misty along with some of the best trails on the island.
I made a promise with myself a while back, to always live within running distance of a trail head. Volcano has felt like home since the first moment I set foot. I had no place to stay and little money yet somehow I had such a nostalgic feeling. I was content pitching a tent amongst the ferns, waking up early and spending all day exploring the trails. Almost two years later, in my house sitting by the fireplace the wanderlust has not worn off and I still find it transcending. The miles float by freely like a violin bow on the soft trails, 20 miles goes by effortlessly. Someone recently asked me what I was training for and I said without thinking, "this moment" and started laughing hysterically. All I aspire to do is be healthy enough to run and surf on a daily basis and enjoy the things I am passionate about.
The past two weeks have been full of non stop running, surfing, paddling,exploring, skating and camping..... I feel lucky to be living in such a dramatically beautiful and ecologically diverse place, along with having a job that gives me the freedom of a vagabond.

(escape road)

(crater rim trail)

(Up Side)

It's crazy to think about running on the slopes of an active volcano.

Mauna Loa
(cabin at 10,000 ft.)

Lava Flowing into the ocean, the island is constantly in flux.

(Ainapo Trail)
This trail is pure madness, climbing 8,000 feet in 10 miles.

Mana Road: Waimea end

I love having a sunrise surf and then going up to Mana Rd.(7,000 ft.) to spend the rest of the day running.

Mana Road: Saddle Road side

Pohue Bay: A short two mile hike with our boards turned into a two hour trek over jagged a'a lava, we went for a short cut. There was HUGE shore break which made for great and punishing body surfing. It was great sleeping under the full moon and waking up to the roar of the waves and the sounds of the sea.

I have been listening to The Tallest Man on Earth nonstop.