Well, though my body has arrived back from Hawaii my mind clearly has not. We went on a quick 3 miler on the Coal Creek Trail today, and Colorado is colder than snarf. It was a balmy 22 degrees when we set out–a far cry from the 80s last week. And then I managed to pull a real idiot move–I pulled around the loop in the trailhead parking lot and got my truck high-centered in deep, unplowed snow. Fortunately a guy showed up with a winch and he pulled me out, delaying his taking his daughters tubing for a few minutes. I feel like I complete idiot–normally I’m the one pulling people out with my four wheel drive truck–not the other way around. But hell, got some miles in, and I need to force myself to get back in the habit back here in the cold…
On our last day in Hawaii, we went for a 3.2 mile walk alongside the ocean from Upolo Point to Kamehameha’s Birthplace. We had some excellent whale watching (perhaps a dozen and a half humpbacks) and a beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Sadly, we must leave the fine hiking weather behind and return to the Colorado cold late this evening… apparently I at least missed out on a little snow-shovelling while I was gone…
Went on a short hike out to see the Hawaiian petroglyphs in Volcano National Park this morning. Aside from a lot of sun exposure and from being able to barely lift our legs after our long slow night hike over lavafields the previous night, this was a relatively easy flat level hike of a little less than 2 miles (1.9 mi).
Afterwards Fletcher, Lori and I went on a stroll thorugh the Hawaii Botanical Gardens and along Onomea bay (1.75 mi).
Today was simply one of the most sublime days I have ever had hiking. We hiked out past the last ranger station at the base of Chain of Craters road toward the current lava flow eruption coming from the Pu`u `O`o vent on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa. We started perhaps a bit late, at 4 pm, but were planning to return at night in order to maximize our chances of seeing actual lava flow. After struggling across a long and torturous route–there is no trail here– we eventually arrived at a spectacular viewing site around 7: 30 pm…
The lava was pouring out of a lava tube into the ocean in three separate spots. We sat and watched reverently for a couple of hours as the earth was made right before our eyes. We finally started hiking back at 9 pm, arriving at our car at quarter to midnight. Those binoculars came in very handy here… 3.5 mi each way for a total of 7.
Oh yeah, and around noon we hiked the bird-park trail. Wrong time of day for bird-watching, so I went for distance while Randi, Lori and Fletcher played orinthologists. After partially lapping them, I ended up hiking 2.25 miles here. The bird-park trail had to be a bit of a disappointment however, as we had just seen the rare Hawaiian Nene when we took a wrong turn and went down Volcano Country Club Road. Nene are a rare Hawaiian land goose (thought to be descended from a pair of Canadian geese blown off track in the Pacific) that has evolved clawed, instead of webbed, feet to better navigate the lava terrain, as well as losing the ability to fly for long distances.
We arrived at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in a fine, misty downpour…a nice change from the overly dry Kona Coast, where yesterday we spent our last beach-side day swimming at Mauna Kea Beach. After meeting Craig at the visitor’s center we did a quick hike through Thurston Lava Tube, including the extension down the unlighted portion of the lava tube (1 mi).
Then, after we set up a car shuttle, the five of us took off for a late afternoon hike across Kilauea crater on the Halema’uma’u trail (3.5 mi). The swirling mist, volcanic steam clouds and sulfur gases made for a surreal and eerie hike across a desolate lava plain. Apparently as recently as 1959 the caldera was filled with a molten lava lake, upon whose cooled and crusted surface we walked. While the hike was relatively flat with only a single sustained 400′ climb up to the visitor center on the rim, the rough trail and dim light made for some moderately difficult route-finding and hiking. An altogether magnificent experience, though I can see where on a sunny day it could be much hotter and slower on the blackened pahoe lava.
No hiking as today was another scuba dive day, first at Garden Eel Cove and later at (No) Manta Ray Heaven. Despite the face that the manta rays were a no-show for the night dive, it was an absolutely incredible dive with a lot to see including an amazing number of eels. The same ocean floor was much more alive at night than during the day…
Today we managed a couple of hikes, first a 1.1 miler around the spooky windmill graveyard in South Point–the southernmost place in a state of the United States. It was very odd, and somewhat sad, to see all the windmill arms frozen in place, some missing arms and noses outright. The trade winds were blowing strong and I kept wondering why they weren’t generating electricity. I wonder what the story is–I doubt is avian birdkill since the only birds we saw were not able to fly due to the winds.
After that we went on a 5 mile hike to see the green sand beach at Mahana Bay, just east of South Point. The beach sand is green because of a cliff of Olivine that is eroding into the bay. The surf was high and steady, whipped up by the aforementioned wind, and the wind made for stiff resistance as we hiked there into the wind, but it was nice on your back as we returned. A pleasant day of hiking that made me feel as if I was on Mars, not Hawaii.
Went scuba diving today off of the Kona Coast at Suck ‘em Up Lava Tubes and the Golden Arches, so once again no hiking today. I don’t know if it is the Dramamine or the swimming, but scuba diving always wipes me out. Two hours below water, four hours on a boat and then back to the cottage to sleep for sixteen hours…
If I do not hike tomorrow I will officially be at less than 50% of on track for this year. Amazingly however, this state of affairs doesn’t bother me at all. I always figured I would be way behind in April, and start catching up in the summer… famous last words perhaps…
My high school friend Craig met us in Waimea and gave us a personal tour of Gemini North observatory atop Mauna Kea. Very impressive, especially the practical joke Steve and the crew played on us where we had to guess which was rotating, the telescope or the dome (that is the entire building shell). Made me think of that wierd Frames of Reference movie from high school physics class…
No real hiking today, but it was great to see Craig and to be at 13,800 feet. I haven’t seen Craig in a decade or more, and it was good to see someone still pursuing one of those crazy teenage dreams like astronomy. What is it about ourselves that we forget about the ambitions we had when young and end up as an insurance salesperson or something?
Despite the shock to my system upon going from -8 to 80, and the constant temptation of bodysurfing and the ocean, we managed a 3 mile hike down to the beach from the west side of the gorge at Pololu–an extended steep scramble, but with a rewarding black sand beach with rainforest at the bottom. Photos to come!
Early tomorrow morning, barring flight cancellations, we will be off to better hiking grounds and weather. It will be quite a shock to the system to go from -8 to 80 degrees F, but I think it is a shock we can live with. We plan to do some scuba and snorkelling as well as hiking the volcano… I can’t wait to get outta this place right now. Brrr!
My friend Lauren and I walked the Boulder Creek Trail (better known as “The Bike Path”) between 27th to 6th today. I’ve heard various informal feedback about whether paved paths should count–any opinions? My rule is that is over a mile, and it was continuous, so it counts. But I have to admit the difficulty factor would be less than 1 if I were multiplying the miles… though there was a lot of nasty, glass-like ice from the melt-refreeze cycle that made it slicker than a cat’s arse in spots. Length today was 4.1 miles.
I’ve always said that it is much colder out on the plains than right up against the mountains, and was that ever true today. Randi and I went out to Teller Lake to hike today (3.5 mi). We brought snowshoes, but like idiots we decided not to use them–of Randi had just bought some YakTrax and wanted to test them out–so we ended up postholing along for miles while a nasty wind whipped ice and snow crystals off the prairie and right up into our faces. If I’d had skis it would have been typical Nordic xc-skiing: kick and glide (and get beaten back by a wind that is always against you, never behind you).
Ok, with all the big dumps we have had lately, I finally got to do something crazy that I’m not likely to be able to do too many more times again in my lifetime. I xc-skied the entire Mesa Trail one way from Eldorado Canyon to Chautauqua. The snow was excellent most of the way, though a few parts were already windswept almost bare. No problem for snow-shoers, but a little difficult for skiing.
Mark and I also had to break trail from the Mesa-Shadow Canyon junction to the Mesa-Big Bluestem junction, which was a pain in the arse as the snow was deep and soft underneath a windswept pie crust. At least we picked up a snowshoer’s tracks to follow at Big Bluestem, but we were also the first skiers from there through to the South Shanahan Ridge trail junction. Had to take off the skis only once–hiking down and up the narrow stair-like canyon just north of NCAR.
The whole trail was only 6.1 miles, but we were completely dead when we finally arrived four and a half hours later…
Snow-shovelling doesn’t count. But when another foot dropped on Boulder for the third time in three weeks, it did disrupt my hiking plans for today–I shoveled snow instead. Aarrgh!
Rising to the occasion once again, Ron emailed me for a night hike on Tuesday up Gregory Canyon in Boulder Mountain Parks. Given that it was a full moon with good snow cover from the two snowstorms we had at the end of 2006, it was excellent timing–no headlamps needed as Ron, Elena and I hiked by the silvery light of the moon. The trail was mostly hard-packed snow and ice, so the snowshoes mostly served as crampons rather than providing float, though the occasional sun-exposed rocky shelf caused us to cringe at the sound of steel on rock. We topped out the canyon to the cabin in slightly over an hour, watched Ron fiddle about with his overly complicated camera for about 20 minutes to make a group night-hike photo.
1.4 miles each way for another 2.8 mi! (Photo by Ron Z.)
Took the dog for a walk at Dry Creek at lunch today. Libby’s getting old, and it was snow-packed, so we only did 1.2 miles.
Then, on the way out, I left my GPS on top of the truck. I drove off and only realized it when I heard something slide off the truck after I got up to speed on the main road… Idiot! Turns out only the case appears broken–though there are some minor display problems. Those Garmin eTrex Vistas are pretty tough units….
Went for a nice ramble from J & J’s cabin, where we spent New Years (thanks guys!) in about three feet of new snow. Ron, Elena, Randi and I went for an early snowshoe in which we went up the steep ridge just behind their cabin, along the ridgeline and then dropped into the valley on the other side a bit for about 2.25 miles. Later in the afternoon I got in a quick solo cross-country ski in the flats below the cabin for another 1.1 miles. I wanted to make sure I was not behind on day 1 (1000 mi / 365 days= 2.74 mi / day).
(Photo by Tim but with Ron Z.’s camera.)
January 1, 2007
In 2007 I am challenging myself to hike 1000 miles in a year. That’s almost 20 miles a week, or about 2.75 miles every day. Whenever I’ve mentioned this goal to friends during the last month, the reaction has ranged “Wow, that’s a lot!” to “No problem! That should be easy!” to “What, exactly, counts as a hike? How long?” to “Yea, but you should give yourself extra mileage for elevation gained” to “Does jogging/walking/biking count?”
So I thought I’d lay out my ground rules:
- No hike counts if it is shorter than 1 mile. Walking the dog around the block does not count; taking her to the open space dog park does.
- Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing count mile for mile. Anything involving a lift, like downhill skiing, or another kind of machine does not.
- Bicycling doesn’t count as it involves a machine, even though a human-powered one.
- Jogging and running don’t count. I don’t like to do them anyway–I’d rather hike at a high speed than jog any day. Nor does swimming count.
- Walking around town or a city is acceptable only if it is continuous and substantially similar to hiking–ie going a mile or more with only brief stops. Walking to the store from the car does not count.
- While multiplying by a difficulty factor for elevation gained, backpacking, breaking a trail in fresh snow and so on has some appeal, I’m going to go for it in terms of sheer numbers of miles, not some adjusted miles formula. Though I think it might be interesting to keep track of miles-adjusted-for-difficulty in another column of the spreadsheet.
Many of you know that the inspiration for this challenge stems from last year’s challenge. In 2006 my wife Randi challenged herself to see 100 movies in the theater in a year, based on a long standing contest she had had with a friend. I managed to see about 70 movies, which was almost everything worth seeing (in my snobbish opine) that came to the Boulder-Denver area, plus a few that perhaps shouldn’t have made the cut. But eating popcorn and watching movies wasn’t great for my fitness level, so I wanted to do something a little more physical this year.
Personally, I don’t feel like 1000 miles will be impossible–though it will be a challenge. Given how much I like to hike, 500 miles seemed too easy, though Randi says she thinks that is a more reasonable goal. And since I supported her in her goal last year of seeing 100 movies in the theater by going to about 70% of hers, she wants to try for 70% of my goal this year. Of course, to her that probably means 70% of 500 miles, not my crazy 1000.
What do you think? Is 1000 miles a reasonable goal? Or insane?
1000 Miles or Bust!
January 1, 2007
In 2007 I am challenging myself to hike 1000 miles in a year. That’s almost 20 miles a week, or about 2.75 miles every day. Whenever I’ve mentioned this goal to friends, the reaction has ranged “Wow, that’s a lot!” to “No problem! That should be easy!” to “What, exactly, counts as a hike? How long?” to “Cool, but you should give yourself extra mileage for elevation gained” to “Does jogging/walking/biking count?”... [read the rest of the first post about this blog]
The Hiker's Progress
Actual miles hiked in 2007:
- Cute SVN tricks
- WordPress 0.62 released (security patch)
- Switch from Yahoo Calendar to Google Calendar
- Floating a rounded corner box inside a WordPress post entry
- Isabelle, O Isabelle
- WordPress Spreadsheet 0.61 released
- Crater Lake Backpack Trip
- WordPress Spreadsheet (wpSS) version 0.6 released
- Chicory Bears on the Big Bluestem
- Cottonwood Pass Peak Bagging
- Copper Creek Teaser
- Maroon Bells under the Maroon Bells: Stolen Shots in Rustler Park
- Land of the Obvious
- Beckwith Pass Beckons
- Up On Crooked Creek
- August 2008 (1)
- April 2008 (1)
- March 2008 (1)
- October 2007 (3)
- August 2007 (2)
- July 2007 (10)
- June 2007 (15)
- May 2007 (8)
- April 2007 (10)
- March 2007 (23)
- February 2007 (15)
- January 2007 (19)