Monday, April 18, 2011

Maui...After Dark!

As my eyes strained to read the terrain, all I could think of was: “Shit, this is not good...”

The end of ski season was 2-days past and I was already lying on the beach, in dire need of some waves and hammock time.  The destination this year was set for Paia, a little town in Maui, HI, with close proximity to some great surfing, snorkelling, beaches and of course, trail running! 

With the trade winds pounding Maui’s North Shore, surfing conditions were a bit of a challenge, so after a long day filled with beach activities, I decided to head up to the Makawao Forest trails for an evening run.  With about an hour worth of daylight left, I was eager to get going, rushing out of the house, I grabbed the, drink, beta (map on iphone), light?  Bah...won’t need it! 

After a long twisty drive up to Makawao , I finally arrived at the park gate and set off on the short, steep run to the trailhead...Along the way I was ‘ran’ the math in my head:  “It’s 6:15pm now...darkness is most likely around 7pm (give or take)...10km...”

I thought to myself:  “If I run it fast, I should be back in time before it gets too dark...” 

Time was ticking, and daylight was fading...

The excitement of running in a tropical environment filled my lungs with energy – The forest was alive around me – The thick tree cover was barely letting any light through to the ground, so the trail at ground level was not only very wet and slippery, but also getting very dark! I dug my SpeedCross’ in the mucky red earth and poured on the tempo, making a race with the light.  It had been a while since my last hard effort, so it felt great to go hard again.  I pushed harder as I climbed, one switchback after another...literally racing to get to the top before daylight disappeared.  

“Should I turn back now?” I asked myself... “Where is the top of this thing...I should turn around...”

I kept running.

Up and up I ran, faster and faster until I finally reached the highpoint – The lights of Kahului flickered in the distance – It was 6:45 and it was dark outside...not good.

At this point, It felt like I had run more than halfway around the loop, but without an accurate map, I wasn’t sure...Either way, I figured that I only had 4km left, and thought that completing the loop would be my best option – Off I went...

But reality quickly set is as I was immediately forced to slow down as darkness blinded me – My eyes strained to see the ground.  I tried to keep some type of speed, but after ‘soft’ rolling my ankle a few times, I had to back off again.  A sign appeared...I squinted a foot away from it to read it: “Road” this way, “West Trail” that way. 

My beta didn’t say anything about a ‘road’...What is this??  “Stick with the plan Phil.”  I kept going on the West trail as my info told me...As I continued to zig-zag my way down, I crossed the ‘Road’ again, and again, until I finally figured out that the road was cutting a straight line down the slope.  “OK, why not!”

Down the road I ran, further and further down:  “Where is this thing going?” I started asking myself.  At one point I even took out my phone to GPS my reception, no help...argghhhh.  Visions of Survivorman began creeping into my brain. I pressed forward...

What if I have to stay out here? NO WAY I thought...I’d keep walking down, and eventually hit a road...but what of all those critters and bugs, and...Another sign appeared at my feet. This time,  I had to use my phone’s light to read it.  “Road” this way (pointing back up the hill)... “West Trail” this way.  

Yes!  Back on track.
Five minutes seemed like forever. But I eventually found my way back to the trailhead. So happy...No sleeping with the spiders for this guy!! Back down the hill I sprinted, guided only by the glow of the city lights, and in the safety of my rental car...

Lesson learned...when in doubt, bring a light!
Random beach along the Hana Hwy - Beautiful!

Still posted on my fridge...
My 'couch' in Maui...Lots of books read on this beach!


Derrick said...

Great post that I'm sure many can relate to. Just getting pulled along. Get an e+lite Phil!

Nice to see you enjoy some downtime.

Phil said...

Thanks Derrick, I'm always up for an adventure, but have to admit that this 'night' run was the first time I was actually worried about getting stuck out there!

As for lights...lovin' the AY-UP, but it works best when it's on my head!

mrC said...

i usually kick up a few sparks when i get going .. once the forest starts burning it's pretty easy to see my way..

could be a problem for you tho.. u got get going fast enough first.. :p

Blogger said...

Using RentalCars you can discover the cheapest car hire from over 49000 locations globally.