Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Down the road
The fuse had been burning for a while; it was time to let it explode into a point to point long run down Mana Road. The dirt road meanders about 50 miles through the upper elevations around Mauna Kea, traveling through old Koa forests and wildlife refuge lands. I had a friend drop me off the night before on the Saddle road end, where the elevation is higher and the air resonates mana (the life force.) It was a relief to be in solitude amongst the clouds and listen to nothing but the silence of Mauna Kea singing in the twilight.
I woke up shivering at 4am feeling grumpy and cursing the cold. I was surprised that my tent was covered in ice, I wasn’t expecting it to be that cold. The grumpiness quickly faded as soon as I climbed out of my tent and was greeted with the howling moon falling and the sun slowly climbing up. I couldn’t help laughing hysterically as I heated up some water for mate', excited about running all day long. The night before I came across this quote which became inspiration for the day: “For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, "Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks."
Thus I became a madman.”
I decided I’d rather drink untreated water than carry a pack. I stashed my tent and sleeping bag and set out down the road with two water bottles and 6 gels, unprepared as usual. I was in awe of the morning ambiance from the light particles floating through clouds and the sound the damp gravel made as I ran along deeper into the heart of Mauna Kea. The miles came and went without much thought.
Towards the Waimea end, the climate zone changes. Along with mist and fog came a heavy feeling of introspection. Objects popped out through the fog only as I came upon them. For some reason there was an old rusty WW2 army truck up there, it wasn't very settling when that suddenly appeared before me. My first thought was "Ahhh ambush!!" I knew it was time to take a GU then, for my mind was starting to become a little more creative than I wanted it to be.
The only rough patch came around 35 miles when it hit me that nothing was at the other end, I was running to nowhere and would be hitch hiking home. A real demoralizing thought. I pulled myself out of the despair and tried to allow myself to really enjoy the feeling, the feeling of being in the present and enjoying the moment. I guess if comfort was what I wanted I would never have left home. Soon enough I was laughing at myself and continued on. By the time I made it to the highway I was feeling a little loopy. I just wanted to be in my bed curled up and sleeping. Instead I was standing in the rain with my thumb out trying to get a ride. Not what I wanted to be doing after running 50 miles but I put myself in the situation. Luckily after 20 minutes I was picked up and the next thing I knew I was laying down on my floor dosing off to the sounds of old records. I just got a record player along with a bunch of old country and Bob Dylan albums. Hearing the crackling sounds and watching the notes float through the air was a perfect ending to a day full of running one of the most scenic stretches in Hawaii.