Our eight year Hawaii sojourn is rapidly coming to a close, with a mainland departure slated for early June 2010. My wife Diane has finished the didactic portion of her PhD and will defend her dissertation on April 23rd. She will then complete a yearlong clinical internship and another year of postdoc work in Newington, CT. I will apply to nurse anesthesia school in 2011 for the 2012 school year. Our time in Hawaii has made this possible. Our lives have been touched deeply by our friends and family here in the islands and I am continually amazed by the warmth and generosity of the Hawaiian and local people. As I reflect on our time here I am amazed; in the last 8 years I have become: a husband; a father twice; an ICU RN; and an ultra-runner. I have made a great many acquaintances and built deep friendships. This has been a productive and extremely rich and rewarding time in our lives.
Having grown up in Washington State and spending eight years in Alaska, I gained a deep love of the mountains and the outdoors in general. I grew up riding BMX and alpine skiing and eventually began rock and ice climbing, mountaineering and telemark skiing. I have been a trail runner since birth, but can only claim a 20 year official history. When we came to Hawaii for Diane's graduate school, I immediately hit the trails. At a local shop I picked up a magazine that advertised the Tantalus Triple Trek, I was intrigued! Until that day trail running was part of how I trained for climbing and for fun.
On the trails I would occasionally bump into a group of haggard, mud-laden, and very smelly "runners." One day I asked if they were with HURT and the infamous (for something so slippery he can't hold on to it) Don Fallis said "Yes." The rest is history. So, Don I hold you responsible for helping start me on this long strange trip. Thank You! I have met so many others along the way and I thank all of you for your patience, teaching, wisdom and friendship.
John and PJ, Cheryl, The Don, Neal and Marian, Mike and Patricia, Mike Muench, Bob and Barbie, Steve Dewald, Ed Bugarin, Greg Cuadra, Felisha , Joel and Steph, The Huffer, Bob Murphy, Tom Craven, Rex, Bozo, Ernest, Fish, Harald, Larry, Mauricio, Gordon, Huddy, Matt Stevens, Paul Sibley, Ben and BJ Cavasos, Clem, Kat, Nick, Jozef, Richard China, Judy Carluccio, Pete Martinez, Christian Friis, Julie Doheney, Dr. Bill, Eddy Fan, Hoppy, Dave Carlsson, Jim Masterson, Devon and many, many more. To all of you my deepest thanks for sharing the mud, miles, tears, laughs, ups, downs, warm sports drink, and pubic hair laden Vaseline jars. You are friends and you are HURT family. A hui hou.
My Hawaii capstone adventure will be The Big Island Traverse (BIT): an ~ 160 mile, unsupported fastpack on the island of Hawaii. The route will traverse the island from sea-level on the southeastern shore, beginning at Holei Sea Arch; ascend Mauna Loa (13,677 feet) and Mauna Kea (13,796 feet); and eventually descend to sea-level on the northwestern shore, ending at Spencer Beach Park. This will be gnarly and I am currently in one of my most rigorous training cycles to date and having a blast! For more information please visit my blog: http://www.mountainrnr.blogspot.com
Diane and I just spent a sweet 3 days on Haleakala with a Sliding Sands descent to Kapalaoa Cabin. I used day #2 as a dry run to test my new gear. The weather could not have been better or worse. Nasty, cold and wet most of the day with high winds and occasional big views. I did a 28 mile tour with an light 18# pack. My route started at Kapalaoa Cabin and descended to Paliku Cabin with a small climbs and a descent to Holua Cabin. I ascended the cliffs and remaining Halemau`u trail and gained the park road and the last 6+ miles to the summit. Another drop down Sliding Sands and a spur trail brought me back to Kapalaoa, a fire and a hot meal. Diane and I rallied out of the crater via Sliding Sands in under 3 hours under full pack weight (25#). What a trip!