Usually when Dave decides to exercise his will and accomplish what I will now refer to as a "feat of strength," it is for something really random he thought up on the spot, while bored. He likes to do these things because, well, why not?
Recent examples include:
- Bringing all 18 bags of groceries into the house in one trip
- Swimming across a huge "no swim" lake in the middle of our local park without being seen or caught
- Making it from one end of a child's playground to another without touching the ground, while in business casual attire
In short, Dave would make the ultimate fear factor contender.
Well, Dave decided there was a new, more intense challenge he wanted on his feats of strength resume. He wanted to run the Na Pali Coast while we were in Kauai.
I don't know how much you know about the Na Pali Coast, but let me assure you it is NOT a run. It is an intense and tricky hike comprised of a 22 mile trek into a beach (& out) that can only be accessed via one narrow trail. In other words if you break your leg on mile 8 too bad. You are going to have to drag yourself out b/c no vehicle or helicopter can get to you, and there is no cell phone coverage to call for help. No 2 steps of the hike are alike. The terrain is made up of slippery rocks, tree roots, sand, and steep cliffs. Over the course of the 22 miles you climb 10,000 feet (going up and down 1000 foot cliffs over and over). You could literally trip, and fall right off the side of a cliff 400 feet in the ocean below. Here are some shots of the trail:
No one in their right mind would try to run this. Bingo - just what Dave needed to hear to want to go for it.
All joking aside, I was pretty freaked out that he wanted to do this. I was really worried something would happen to him. I imagined him stranded in the middle of the trail with a broken leg, during a rainstorm, dying of hypothermia. Or worse yet - tripping, and falling to his demise in the ocean/cliffs below. This just isn't something people do, at least not in one day. In fact the tour book recommends hiking it, but over the course of SIX DAYS with a GUIDE!!
I wasn't the only one worried. My dad got wind of his plans and asked Dave, from his hospital bed, to promise that he would not attempt this run. My dad isn't the type to issue requests...so this one carried a punch. Dave stayed silent a few minutes and then said very softly "...I...can't...promise...that..." COME ON! How do you deny a man's wish from a hospital bed? Even the big guns couldn't diswade Dave.
But, per normal the kid came through.
Here is Dave before the run...
Due mostly to my level of stress he hauled with him the following in that tiny little backpack:
Two ace bandages, a water filter, chlorine drops, a walkie talkie, socks, camera, 70 oz of water, a collapsible hiking stick, 3 power bars, 2 cliff bars, athletic tape, athsma inhaler, compass, whistle, and a long sleeved shirt. He actually filtered and drank 230 oz of water in addition to the 70 oz he started with.
Past the first 2 miles where most hiking tourists turn around, he said the trail was pretty isolated. But he did run into a few interesting people. Like the 23 year old girl who hiked by wearing nothing but shorts. He also happened upon a man sleeping naked along the beach 11 miles in.
Apparently the run/hike was amazing - the views indescribable. In one day he saw mountains, valleys, dessert, jungle, cliffs, coasts lines, beaches, flowers...and hippies. He took all the pictures featured in this post, and here are a few more for your viewing pleasure:
Dave felt good the whole way until mile 18 when he hit a wall (figurative, not literal). He started to feel sick to his stomach. The thought of another power bar made him queasy, and the warm water on his back just intensified the queasiness. So he started picking guavas off trees and sucking on them which seemed to help.
He tried resting, but when he would resume his run he felt twice as bad. So he pressed forward. My favorite quote was when he said:
"Then I started seeing Texans on the trail with their big gulps of diet coke and knew I was close b/c they couldn't be far from the trail head."
He made it back 45 minutes after our appointed meeting time, and I was very, VERY glad to see him.
He immediately took off his backpack, sweat drenched shirt, baseball cap, socks, shoes and headed for the nearest beach. He collapsed into the water and laid there for about 10 minutes. Then crawled onto the beach and rolled around in the sand for another 20 minutes. He said the sand felt really good.
After burning probably 9,000 calories we figured he could use some food. So we packed into the car and headed for dinner in Hanalei. As we waited for our order to come, I could see Dave's face get progressively whiter and whiter. He ordered a guava juice. When the waitress brought it, he said "come on guava do your trick." But he could only get down a little bit. Finally his minimal talking completely stopped. He took one bite of rice and had to run out of the restaurant. He threw up outside right by the entrance (and balcony where we were eating)...I'm sure the restaurant was really happy for the endorsement. He decided to go sit in the car while we finished our dinner. I went to check on him mid meal - and found him laying in the car with the heat going full blast. (note we are in Hawaii, the land of 86 degrees.) He looked pretty weak, but seemed to feel a little better. When I asked if there was anything I could do for him he said "Yes. Can you make sure when they pack up my fish tacos to go they include the hot sauce?"
After some gingerale, Dave started to feel a lot better. Back at the hotel he was able to eat some rice and beans and then he slept for 10 hours straight. In the morning he felt fine, just a little sore. He had his left over fish tacos for breakfast and then suggested we go on a run.
I love this man.
So, that is the story of Dave running the Na Pali coast. I like to tease him a lot, but I have to say I was seriously impressed that he accomplished this goal. I hiked 4 miles of this trail while he was running it, and was totally wiped out upon my return. I can not imagine tacking on another 18 miles, or going any faster than I did. I'm proud to be married to such a rock star!