The Amazing 540

If you’ve been on the PCT for any length of time in the past ten years then you know that by and large trail runners are the most popular type of shoe, and if you’ve hiked recently you’ve undoubtedly noticed that of the trail runners Brooks Cascadias are the most prevalent trail runner out here. Well, I’d like to take a minute to honor the lowly New Balance 540. Available for a mere $55 or less at any department store, these are not a shoe to draw much attention or garner much support as a valid through hiking shoe. In fact, when my friend Jesse came back from Fred Meyer and reported that they came in a wide I secretly scoffed at the idea of wearing a department store shoe. “Far to chintzy to do any serious hiking in,” I thought, especially for someone as rough on gear as me. I went and tried them on as a token of appreciation for Jesse’s concern about my feet. These are wide! Was my first thought. They’re comfy too! And it would be hard to go wrong for this price, my frugal side rejoined. I put my Superfeet in and checked out with them on my feet, my old new balance in the box. 250 miles later I was relieved when I made it halfway across Oregon in them, and I was pleasantly surprised when, 498 miles later, I had crossed the whole state in them. Around mile 475 I went into Fred Meyer in Medford and bought two more pairs, size 11 4e, and mailed them ahead. I still don’t need a new pair yet. I’m in northern California and with 540 miles on them these are the best shoes I’ve ever hiked in, at a cost of less than 10¢/mile! You’d need to get 1200 miles out of a pair of Cascadias to beat that, and I promise they’d have a hole in the pinky toe by then.
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Chelan Lakeshore Trail

Options abound on this simple and beautiful hike for the budding backpacker.

The Chelan Lakeshore Trail from Stehekin

Location: North Cascades National Park, Washington

Length: 7.6~37 miles (1-5 days)

Difficulty: Easy

Rating: 4-Star

Season: Spring or Fall

Water Availability: The Lakeshore Trail dips to lake level regularly and the lake water is cold and clean.

Getting there: From the town of Chelan drive to Fields Point and take the ferry to eit wher Prince Creek, Moore Point or Stehekin Landing, depending on how long of a trip you are planning.

Know-before-you-go: Permits are not required to camp at the boat in camps listed here. There are three campgrounds in Stehekin that all require free permits.

Sky Above and Below: The Lakeshore Trail offers up breathtaking views from the dry northeastern banks of Lake Chelan.

Sky Above and Below: The Lakeshore Trail offers up breathtaking views from the dry northeastern banks of Lake Chelan.

This hike takes you along the hot and dry Lakeshore Trail to see sweeping vistas of Lake Chelan and the surrounding mountains. All three options take you to Moore Point, a wide and flat peninsula that reaches out into Lake Chelan and offers breathtaking views up the Lake to the snowy Cascades and down the lake to the dry grasslands in their rain shadow.

Option 1: Take the ferry to Prince Creek, the furthest of the camps from Stehekin, and hike northwest 18 miles to Stehekin Landing, camping at Moore Point along the way.

Option 2: Take the ferry to Moore Point and hike just the most spectacular section of the Lakeshore Trail, the seven miles between there and Stehekin Landing. This can be done as a day hike or broken into two days by spending a night halfway at quiet Flick Creek camp.

Option 3: Take the ferry (or hike in from elsewhere in the Park) to Stehekin, then pickup the Lakeshore Trail from the Golden West Visitors Center and hike southwest to your heart’s content. There are several camps along the way. At the end either turn around and return the way you came, or arrange ahead of time for the ferry to pick you up at Prince Creek.

More information available from the North Cascades National Park website or in person at the Golden West Visitors Center in Stehekin. Stehekin is mile 2580 of the PCT.

Author’s Experience: I took option 3, a down and back to Moore Point, while resupplying in Stehekin during my PCT through hike.

Equipment Used: ULA Ohm 2.0 pack, North Face Hightail 3s sleeping bag, JetBoil PCS, MSR Hubba Hubba (fly and poles only), Merrel Moab Ventilator Mid shoes, sunglasses, Sawyer Mini Filter, 1.5l soda bottle, Arc’teryx Sabre Goretex jacket, window film ground tarp

Extreme Solitude

Extreme Solitude

Some people want the best and are willing to go to great lengths to find it, bystanders be damned. As a rule I try not to make a habit out of putting other people’s lives in danger, but this time I was convinced that the reward would be worth the risk. Was I right? “This is my favorite place I have woken up on this trip,” is Beth’s way of putting it. But there came a moment late in the day during the hike in when I questioned whether, morally, it was ok for me to bring somebody else into this risky situation.

Blanca Lake
Location: near Seattle, WA
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 4.4 miles one way
Rating: ★★★★★
Starting Elevation: 2000′
Know-Before-You-Go: NW Forest Pass or Annual National Parks Pass req’d and not available at TH
Highpoint: 4177′
Camp: 4040′

The sun beams in my eyes under the brim of my baseball cap, and a gentle but steady breeze ruffles my lightweight shorts and shirt. I look back at Beth as we climb toward Virgin Lake on a narrow snow covered ridge in the Cascades. We’re not using ice axes or crampons, though we might have brought them if we knew what lie ahead. It’s June and it’s warm enough as long as we keep moving. The snow came late this year in the pacific northwest, and there’s still plenty of it hanging around. Today the weather is what Washingtonians consider perfect: 65 and partly sunny. Our unspoken goal is to pass Virgin Lake by about half a mile, arriving at Blanca Lake by sundown. In the five weeks we’ve been on adventure we’ve setup camp in the dark more times than not and that’s about an hour from now. We’re ok with setting up in the dark because we like to sleep in, start slowly, do yoga; we camped nearby last night but didn’t hit the trail today until after 2:00.

We top out on a wind drifted ridge at 4200′ and I know from the number of footprints and from talking to returning hikers that this is where most people turn around (i.e. decide they’re lost.) But growing up in Colorado and wandering the deserts of the southwest these past few years has taught me the value of perseverance, and of a good map. Following my GPS we make the crucial right turn toward Virgin Lake that most hikers seemed to miss, then descend to a snowy depression that is the only evidence of Virgin Lake’s subterranean whereabouts. That and the fact that there’s no trees. Beth is moving slowly after a frightening slip on the ridge; she had lost her footing and then slid ten feet down a long field of icy snow before coming to a stop with her palms and heels dug in, literally scared stiff. I was at that moment quite thankful that we were traversing soft afternoon snow and not hard morning snow; she was headed directly into a tree with a deep well around it.

As we press on the trail is occasionally marked with flagging tape, but this welcome wilderness adulterant is conspicuously missing beginning on the far side of the buried lake. It wasn’t until the hike out that I noticed an occasional blaze. The footprints dwindled to a single set and then those disappeared too. I descended steeply, kicking steps in the sun-softened western slope where I could, and walking quickly and softly in the shadows where the snow was still hard, following the dashed track on my GPS as closely as possible. I wondered whether the crampons would have helped our pace. Where I could I descended swinging between stout trees to lower myself down. This is how I came across a very peculiar fungus. Swinging around to look uphill at Beth I saw before me a strangest of strange organic accouterments: a perfectly round, perfectly hot orange, perfectly and ever so slightly domed shiny rubber button, 1″ in diameter. “Trash?” I thought. “What is that!” I mused aloud. I plucked the strange lifeform from its log home and squished it’s squishy but dry top. It deformed but it did not break. I showed it to Beth. I flipped it over and over and took it’s picture in my palm. I squished it some more. I did not want to leave it, though the coldness in my feet eventually motivated me to do just that.

We continued our descent in this way,Beth holding together scared and with frozen feet, me playing and writing as I waited. Where warm angular sun beamed through the trees I would stand and wait for Beth and write. Occasionally we’d find part of the oft-buried trail and we’d get to cover an all-too-short five or ten feet on muddy ground before climbing back onto snowbanks. Every step had to be kicked, set, careful. “I feel like I’m just going to start crying,” Beth said. I smiled. “You’ll be okay.” It made me happy to see somebody living.

Blanca Lake is spectacular. We reach it just before sunset and without incident. Our first glimpse is a winding band of aquamarine water that traces the lakes western edge along vertical stone walls. The majority and the center of the lake is frozen and covered in snow. The bands at the lakes edges glow because the till-rich water winds along on a shallow trough atop the icy cap. We level a patch of snow with our numbed feet and setup camp on a knoll above the lake’s rumbling outlet. The whole lake spreads out below us, shored in this narrow hanging valley by stark granite cliffs and steep slopes of ice. Beyond and above these slopes lies the vast Columbia Glacier churning with geologic rapidity a deep self-preserving cirque. From below we cannot perceive it’s massive size.

Shelter is simple tonight, 2lbs and change, but still freestanding; we’ve brought just the tent’s footprint, rainfly and poles. Before dinner I surprise Beth with a glass of red wine, stemware and all, and after dinner she surprises me with dark chocolate. We’re good to each other and that is why, under the stress of weeks of travel, this still works. No sooner do we shutter the tent than it starts to rain, and by morning we’re shrouded from the lake, residing in a cloud too thick to be able to see even it’s a glowing aquamarine outline. Later in the day I will climb down to explore the lakes amazing outlet falls, then drive to REI to purchase better shoes and gaiters.

Equipment Used: ULA Ohm 2.0 pack, North Face Hightail 3s sleeping bag, JetBoil Sumo, MSR Hubba Hubba, Salomon XA Pro 3d Ultra 2 GTX shoes, OR gaiters, Seirus SoundTouch gloves, baseball cap, sunglasses, Sawyer Mini Filter, 2x 1.5l soda bottles, Arc’teryx Sabre Goretex jacket, FROG insulating top

Apache Maid Trail – Waldroup Canyon – Wet Beaver Canyon Loop

The adventure: A backcountry trek that requires route finding, boulder hopping and bushwhacking, and offers up water filled narrows, spring fed swimming holes, rope swings and cliff jumps for the daring. There are also at least 2 ruin sites hidden along the western walls of Wet Beaver Canyon.
Location: Verde Valley, AZ
Length: 21.7 miles (3 days)
Know before you go: The majority of the mandatory swims on this hike are in the bottom half of Wet Beaver Canyon, so plan most of a day to cover that 3.5 miles.
Getting there: From Flagstaff drive south on I-17 and take exit 298 for Sedona. Turn left on FS 618 and drive eat 2.0 miles, then turn left onto FS 618A, which is signed for Beaver Creek Work Center, and immediately park at the trailhead.
The hike: Head North on the Bell Trail #13 for 2.5 miles to the 2nd T intersection which is the Apache Maid Trail #15. You’ll retrace your steps from this intersection back to your car at the end of your trip. Turn left and climb to the mesa top on #15 to a sign that says further travel is not recommended. From this point on, #15 is a backcountry route marked with occasional wire bails filled with the abundant basalt ballast rocks or weathered 4×4 posts with the number 15 near the top. They’re hard to miss so if you go long without seeing a bail or post you’ve lost the route and should double back. You’re basically paralleling Wet Beaver canyon but it’s best to do this part of the hike using a GPS.
After about 11.5 miles of hiking, trail #15 will pass through a cattle guard on a dirty road. Leave the trail and head east through the tall pines of Waldroup Park. Enter the shallow top of Waldrop Canyon at a National Forest Wilderness sign just East of Waldroup Place Tank where the drainage begins. Descending Waldroup Canyon requires seven short class 5 downclimbs, mostly on juggy and grippy basalt. Those inexperienced in climbing with a pack will want a 20′ rope to lower there pack down to a partner. You’ll join Wet Beaver Creek just above the Coconino sandstone layer where things get interesting, that’s why you didn’t walk Apache Maid #15 to it’s end and then enter Wet Beaver from the very top, though you could if you were looking for extra miles. For now it’s a dry wash so head 1 mile down canyon to where springs begin to fill the canyon bottom. Filter your water here, then head back up canyon to camp on the accumulated sand and gravel, or sling a hammock up, just watch out for rising water. The next day, descend Wet Beaver by boulder hopping, backstroking with your pack on and wading, until you get to one of the last swimming holes, cliff jumpers heaven, recognizable by a 2×4-wrunged rope ladder tied to a wayward juniper on the west side. Camp near here at your own risk (camping is not permitted in the Wet Beaver Wilderness) but you’re probably pretty darn tired from today and despite the restrictive regulative campsites and people using them abound. The next day, jump, climb and sun yourself on the rocks till your hearts content, then continue a few minutes down canyon and climb out to the west on orange sandstone to find the Weir Trail running parallel to Beaver Creek. Follow this South, rejoining #13 and then shortly after coming to the T intersection where you left #13 on #15 two days before. Retrace your steps to the trailhead passing the White Mesa Trail along the way, then head to Montezuma’s Castle and Verde Hot Springs, both just with of here.
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Backpacking the Olympic Coast Days 4, 5 and 6: Whirlwind

Day 4: Hung out on Shi Shi Beach and did the loop hike up on the rim, which felt like a Tough Mudder course. Highlight was the well appointed pit toilet and foot pump handwash station at the parking lot. Wearing dish gloves all day and wiping your butt with cold river rocks makes you appreciate these two commonplace amenities. You’re own reservation land and the way the natives build a bridge and boardwalk out of rough hewn planks is pretty impressive too, as is the amount of frost and ice they can hold. Oh, and of course there’s the green and magenta sand that covers Shi Shi beach, and the epic orange sunset through Point of the Arches, if you’re into that sort of natural wonder stuff.
I collected a handful of delicious looking mussels (they grow in abundance here) and boiled and almost ate them but remembered there is a marine biotoxin ban on all shellfish here. Considered eating them anyway because I was down to quinoa and lentils but paralysis or amnesia was more risk than I could stomach, pun intended.
Ultimately, Shi Shi Beach is cool but I’d rather be on my own private beach, which would be any of the innumerable beaches to the south. Even now in the off season there was a dozen camera toting tourists and the item that ultimately makes or breaks a backpacking destination – the über-epic campsite – was conspicuously missing from Shi Shi Beach. (For the Olympic Coast’s best campsite go to the Yellow Banks just a few miles south.) By 4:30 p.m. the tide was receding (so was any semblance of usable daylight) and I made up my mind to get a jump on the 32 mile trek back, or, to put it bluntly, if there was any way in hell I could make it back to the box of Triscuits in my trunk in two days instead of three I was going to do it. I hiked 2.5 miles in the dark, killed all of my batteries, got lost in the woods*, and had to camp on a cliff when the last 4% of my phone wasn’t enough to run the light. Moral of the story: The inland trail due west of Willoughby Lake is easy to lose. Mice danced on me now and then but somehow four hikers pasted me early in the morning without waking me.

Day 5: Got started at first light (like you would do anything else when you’re laying on a decaying precipice) and covered 15 miles by lunch time. Passed a killer whale carcass that had washed up south of Sand Point. “Vertebrae as large as my pelvis,” Chris, a dayhiker remarked, which was basically true. A little further south I was fluffed for a permit and a bear canister by the friendly year round Ozette ranger and his surly apprentice. I told him the bear can was back at camp, which it was, and he said he’d take my word for it. I didn’t mention I’d left it and it alone there three days prior.
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This is the easiest walking section, lots of flat, hard sand. Decided to knock off at the epic elevated campsite on the Yellow Banks and spend the afternoon eating (I had cached two packages of Oriental flavor Ramen and half a loaf of stale baguette under the deck planks here) and collecting buoys which I laboriously gathered on a length of rope and dragged down the beach and up the bank to the campsite. I strung the rope between three trees with the buoys on it, my own take on exterior decorating, after they failed to make a viable tree swing. The sunset was the best yet, quilted white clouds against a deep blue that swirled as it neared the horizon in a way that would challenge the most imaginative watercolorist. I laid back and sank into strange apocalyptic dreams where gravity failed and I gorged on chocolate to console my fears of floating off into space.
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Day 6: Should have set an alarm and started earlier, and that feeling nagged me right up until I squeezed through the last obstacle, Hole in the Wall, with what must have been a 6.5′ tide. Hole in the wall needs a 5′ tide or lower to be passable according to the Custom Correct map I took a picture of at the Visitor Center instread of buying, so I did it as a climbing route, clinging to crimps with my fingers through the 15-foot-long tunnel while my feet danced above lapping waves on barnacles while my overloaded pack threatened to peel me right off the wall.
This was a rough 15 mile day which I did without eating because I was constantly outrunning the tide. I wasn’t interested in quinoa and lentils anyway and just like the day before I spent hours dreaming of the flavors of ice cream, steak, breads, cookies and cakes that I would eat when I got back to civilization. I treated water one litter at a time and then drank the whole thing so as not to carry any extra weight.
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There are countless capes, points, and headlands to be rounded or climbed over between Yellow Banks and Rialto Beach (which is decided for you by whether there is a rope and a four-quadrant disc signaling an impassable section) and only short sections of sand or pebble beach in between. Much of it is on green- or red- algae coated bed rock that is literally slicker than ice. Along the way I picked up a very nice neoprene immersion suit that had washed ashore. Needing to keep my hands free to climb and to stabilize myself on the wet rocks, I rolled it tightly and shoved it into my tiny pack on top of my bear canister. My 1.5 lbs carbon fiber and ripstop nylon pack was now carrying over 25 lbs. My back ached and my feet sank deeply into the mounds of seaweed and pebbles that I had to cross but my heart rose each time I outran the tide. I immediately recognized when I came to the rocky point that had confounded me on Day 1 and was thrilled to skirt it with less than a foot of leeway – a difference of a mere 45 minutes or so! A mile later I came Hole in the Wall, which a prudent trekker would have bypassed (this is the only place that I noticed where the bypass route is optional,) but I defied the tied and my safer side and when I hopped down onto Rialto Beach I had only to walk a mile through pebbles to my Triscuits, a small challenge by this week’s standards.
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*Getting lost up on top of the cliffs was a really eery experience. There is a certain point where the trail enters a sort of clearing of decaying undergrowth. I came back to this point several times, slowly watching my phone battery drain as I searched the clearing methodically (59%), then desperately(28%), then frantically(9%). I eventually found a distinct trail and gleefully descended it defying the growing sick feeling that it was too familiar. I clambered under a down tree and a few minutes later found myself back at the muddy ropes I had used to gain the ridge less than an hour before. Rushing back and forth and counting out loud ‘eight percent, ‘seven percent’, ‘six percent’… I came out on the cliff several times before finally ducking under a stand of salal bushes to find the continuation I had sought, a bent up orange trail marker on a dead tree, just as my phone died. I rolled out my pad and slept there.

Backpacking the Olympic Coast Day 3: Running the Gauntlet

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My feet are nasty white and waterlogged. The bottoms of my pants are wet and sandy, the uppers are flecked with dried mud. My fleece is damp with sweat inside my raincoat. Temperatures are well into the 30’s by 4:00 p.m. and soon I will be in bed, raincoat and all. The sunset is spectacular though. This is the first day I’ve had camp made before sunset. Dinner’s ready too. So I wrap myself in my sleeping bag and forget about my aching feet for a minute and just watch the waves calmly roll in on Shi Shi Beach from the door of my tent. White frost from this morning still sheaths the driftwood here despite the sunny day. I have reached my destination. It was a gauntlet getting here but the natural wonders grew more spectacular with every passing step and now that I’m 32 miles north of where I started I can safely say it was worth the effort.

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I set out before my alarm even went off this morning, well before sunrise and even before twilight. I was cold and moved quickly but carefully on the frozen beach and frosty driftwood and rocks. I was naked and fording the steaming Ozette River by 9:00 a.m. and relaxing on a most spectacular overlook south of Point of the Arches eating a bag of almond granola that I’m going to regret. I took pictures and sent friends a Snapchat video from a precarious rock 200′ above the encroaching sea. By the time I realized I had not completely rounded Point of the Arches it was too late; I hiked down and a mile further along the beach to discover it was impassable already. I’d have to wait until low tide around 9:00 p.m. and worse this whole beach would be submerged. I had no choice but to climb back up the ropes to the ridge I had just left.
Once I was on the ridge I really wanted to keep moving. After all, it was only 2 o’clock. On my GPS I could see something called ‘Foot Trail’ half a mile back in the woods. Little did I know it would take an hour and a half of bushwhacking to cover that half mile or that the for trail would be disused and overgrown, only slightly better than the bushwalking that had gotten me to it. But I did find it, and it lead me to Shi Shi Beach via Petroleum Creek just in time for sunset. And when I walked down to point of rocks I I thought I could see where I had been standing and had decided to turn back three hours prior. I met Nathan, and he took a fantastic picture of me ‘from the Dutch angle’, whatever that means.

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Backpacking the Olympic Coast Day 2: Olympic National Park’s Titanic Garbage Problem

78 miles of remote coastline untouched by human development. That’s what I drove to the continental United States’ westernmost peninsula to see. 4 days hiking alongside water bottles, gas cans, bleach jugs, PVC pipes, ship bouies, Styrofoam beads and discarded fishing nets is what I got instead.

I love traveling, and some nights I’m just too excited to sleep. I can play harmonica until my lips are exhausted and this usually puts me to sleep – but not on these nights. So my new trick is to take a benadryl on nights when I just have to sleep. Benadryl puts me to sleep within an hour and keeps me asleep through strong winds or high surf.

My alarm went off in the morning twilight. I pressed snooze a couple of times before lazily packing and hitting the beach around 7:30. All of the driftwood had grown a fur of 1/2″ tall white snow crystals in the night, and sheets of ice cracked underfoot where water ran across the sand from seeps in the cliff. I made good time on open stretches of hard packed sand before being stopped by high water at Yellow Banks. I took lots of photos and I found 3 cold water immersion suits along the way, almost as if 3 shipwreck survivors had washed up there. The suits are really nice neoprene, so I may try to take one home on the way back. Its only 15 miles with an extra 10 lbs or so.

There is an amazing campsite at the north end of the Yellow Banks that overlooks the bay. Using a combination of rock climbing skills and mechanical engineering I added a tree swing from rope and a heavy plastic panel which I found washed up on the shore below. I swung and relaxed on the sunny driftwood deck while listening to oldies, and I did a little nude yoga when it was warm enough. Highs are in the 40’s this week. I also stashed my bear canister under the decking with two days of food and my dead headlamp inside. At least those canisters are good for something.

Shortly after leaving yellow banks I slipped again, this time whacking my knee and soaking my clothes in a tide pool as I struggled like a bug stuck on its back. I stripped down to my cheetah pajamas, dumped out my purple Playtex dish gloves and put them back on, dawned my tattered sky blue raincoat and put in my headphones. And as the sun set in a cold, cloudless sky I danced along light and free raving to trance and looking crazy as a jaybird. Not a lot of people would be in to this, I thought to myself, but I sure am. After all, its cold and this is pretty strenuous. Twilight had passed and I was setting up camp again by the time I realized I had forgotten to pull out my tent stakes and pack them this morning. I had also left the cord I use to support the roof tied to a tree I had used the night before. I staked the tent with pine twigs and guyed out the roof with discarded fishing rope. It was calm and clear, and with the rest of my dry gear on inside my 15 degree down sleeping bag I was mostly warm enough. I watched Venus slowly sink toward it’s seafaring reflection as satellites and a couple of meteors streamed by through the tall pines.

Backpacking the Olympic Coast Day 1: Rough Start… Really Rough

Its 2:00p.m. and I’m stuck. My pack is heavier than it should be and I’ve covered a scant 3 miles. My sleeping bag is still damp from last night’s fiasco: My tent stakes ripped out and when I got back to camp my sleeping bag had a puddle of water in the middle. I restaked the tent, dumped off the water, and climbed in raincoat and all. To my surprise I wasn’t cold and I went right to sleep. High winds and blowing rain pummeled my tent and woke me twice but I slept well. This was my first time camping in heavy rain in my homemade 8oz. shelter and I was quite pleased with it’s performance.
In the morning I dried everything out and began to pack, quickly realizing the disproportionate amount of relatively heavy bread and fruit I had to the single bag of relatively light quinoa. I packed the quinoa, 3 loaves of bread and 6 apples and hit the trail around noon, less than an hour before high tide. My shoes got soaked by a roge wave near hole in the rock and I spent an hour bushwalking to no avail in hopes of bypassing the submerged point just north of there. The tides are extreme right now because it is a full moon and we are nearing the solstice. I layed down behind a sun bleached log on the stony beach and covered up with my damp sleeping bag to wait for low tide. An avid if quirky hiker named Gary stopped to talk and told me about some great hikes in Oregon and Wyoming. “And I thought ‘You know what? These are two of the finest days I’ve ever experienced, and they’re back to back!'” He said, remembering a trip in Wyomings Wind River. We chatted for a while and at once I noticed the water was low enough to keep hiking. I bayed Gary goodbye and started packing.

From Bad to Worse
The sunset behind me was a beautiful fiery orange as I glanced back and then shifted my vision to the shadowy ground in front of me. I spotted the plummeting white head of a bald eagle starting into a headlong dive over the bay in front of me. It swooped to the waters surface and snatched a shiny fish, then pumping it’s wings it climbed toward the ridge beyond the bay. And as I walked along awe-stricken, I slipped on an algae coated rock and smacked my head on another. My teeth slammed together and I lay in the wet rocks moaning, my inadequate arms folded beneath me. I thought how lucky I was to still be conscious and to have been wearing a thick wool beanie to help lessen the blow. I stood up rubbing my head and instantly I had a throbbing headache. A giant knot slowly took shape and blood began to leave it’s tingly trickle in my eyebrow. I hiked on shakily in the cold wind, Venus’s reflection following me on the vast, wet sand, wishing very much that I had ibuprofen and a cold compress.

Christmas in Hawaii Part 3

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Day 5 – Sunday 🙂

I love my mom, but I feel like I came here to be on my own, and i haven’t done it yet, except for a few hours yesterday which were quite nice.

So far I’m still wining it, not even a plan for the next couple hours, let alone the time between now and when my mom flies out tomorrow afternoon.

Monday – Haleakala Day 1

I am rockin’ and rollin’. I am feeling so strong so inspired, so full of love and even a little proud (I have not decided if that’s a bad thing or not – to be proud, that is.) I set out from Haleakala summit around 3 pm and I hiked until just after dark, to Holua, covering 7.8 miles.I enjoyed some great conversation at Holua cabin, sitting around the picnic table with a group of locals (who don’t speak in pidgin) before I set up my camp and spun poi to “Louder” by Jose Amnesia, among others. crambled eggs and bacon made for a delicious hot dinner. Hoping mom got the rental car back okay and made her flight; she dropped me at the park headquarters with just enough time to get to the airport from way up here.

Monday – Day 6

I’m learning to get along with my mother again, but it has been hard because her beleif system is so far removed from my own. It is embued by ideas like: “I’m determined by my __ (parents, genetics, environment, etc….)”; “I’m not responsible for my __ (emotions, finances, past, future, etc….)”; and even “Everyone is out to get me.” I feel bad becasue she talks and talks and talks (usually about the past) when it’s obvious, and she knows, nobody wants to hear it. She really needs a better paradigm (“and maybe a therapist?”

I got up early and went biking in the national forest by Makawao. It was great. The trails were really wet so they are tackier than riding in the American west. Most of the time you’re riding on mud covered by leaves and drifiting around corners is nuts. I even rode a really sweet ravine with berms as I descended through the off-limits freeride area behind the water department. Great day – hiking and biking – I feel like my mind body and soul have all been reinvigorated, and now I’m ready to get to bed nice and early. I’ve been thinking a lot about my creed (and talknig to myself about it,) but work on that will have to wait until tomorrow. (Transcription note: my language and ideas at this time were influenced by Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)

Days 2, 3 and 4 of Christmas in Hawaii

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Day 2: Slept in and rode as a passenger in Steve’s maniac mobile as we sped wildly through fog up and down the hills around Honolulu playing dance music. Ya!

Day 3: Maui Begins. The Valley Isle looms ahead of me. My 8:43 am flight to Maui was canceled and my shuttle was running 15 minutes late, but I managed to get a hot breakfast and an earlier flight. Met up with mom and we went to the beach. The surf was up. I swam a bunch. Kinda hurt my neck and right ankle.

Day 4: Downhill Mountain Bike descent of Haleakala. I rented a Specialized Enduro for the weekend and road it down the Skyline Trail on Haleakala. Great ride.

I got stuck in a rain storm and got a flat tire and had to have mom come pick me up. Thank god I had reception!

I’ve been a little frustrated. I’m getting tired of mom’s incessant gabbing. Need to get good long rest. I love myself. I approve of myself. I am willing to change. I am willing to let go.