Saturday Training May 29th, 2010: Kailua to Nature Center and Back, 40++ miles
12 Hours of Makawao

The Big Island Traverse - Just the Facts

The Big Island Traverse was an epic adventure through the realm of the gods providing us with ample opportunities to push our physical and mental limits. My mind reels and my body aches as the full gravity of our journey emerges into consciousness. There were good times had and lessons learned and there are stories to tell, but not today.

Travel Day #1
Start - 1745 on May 19, 2010
End - 1230 on May 20, 2010
Route - Ascent from Holei and Chain of Craters Road to Escape Road to Crater Rim Trail to Mauna Loa Road to Pu'u ula'ula.
Time on feet - 18:30
Distance Covered: ~42 miles
Elevation Change- Sea-level to 10,035 feet

Travel Day #2
Start -0600 on May 21, 2010
End - 0130 on May 22, 2010
Route - Ascent from Pu'u ula'ula to Mauna Loa Summit with descent of the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory Road to Pu'u Huluhulu at the Saddle Road.
Time on feet - 19:30
Distance Covered: ~37 miles
Elevation Change- 10,035 feet to 13,677 feet to 6,632 feet

Travel Day #3
Start -0830 on May 22, 2010
End - 1630 on May 23, 2010
Route - Ascent from Pu'u Huluhulu to Mauna Kea Access Road to Onizuka Visitor's Center to Humu'ula Trail to Pu'u Wekiu (Mauna Kea Summit) with return descent of Mauna Kea Access Road to Pu'u Huluhulu and descent of the Saddle Road to Mamalahoa Highway to Waimea to Kawaihae Road to Spencer Beach Park.
Time on feet - 32:00
Distance Covered: ~79 miles
Elevation Change- 6,632 feet to 13,796 feet to sea-level

Total Time: 94 hours and 30 minutes
Total Time on Feet: 70 hours
Total Distance: ~ 158 miles



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kinda late to the party but you guys both rock hard...ran with brian, ran with mike, knew it would get done...just didn't know how long the novel would be. great job by 2 great guys.


Mikey, i just have one question: what, do you do for FUN??? ;-) Kudos to you both, loved the story and recap, you still didn't puke yet (and not the perimeter run either)? IM-pressive. Like I said before - Super cool, awesome job you guys. makes our runs seem like peanuts. - janM

Matt Stevens

Hey Mike-

I truly do live vicariously through these write-ups, so a huge mahalao! Lesley and I did 45 miles over 5 days to summit Mauna Loa a few years ago, and I definitely remember sitting exhausted on lava rocks, staring at a largely blank horizon, and then getting my butt moving again. We both puked in the morning at the summit cabin for no good reason other than the altitude. I swore I'd never go back, but even the bits of stories I'm getting from you guys is making me change my mind. We saw no one for 3 days, and experiencing a snow flurry at 13,000 ft. and feeling like we were on the moon was, in retrospect, simply sublime. Mahalos again!

Paul Sibley

Such an amazing / epic journey! You guys are uber ultra studs! Enjoy the feeling.

Paul Hopi

Now were talking! You guys rocked it!and literally by the sounds of it. Way to rise to the challenge and slay the dragon or was that dragons. RESPECT!!!


Matt I took the first 'spill', I also fell on my ass and then on my head. I sat down on a lava rock and rolled off of it and lay there wondering where I was. I did that a couple of times. Once I sat down on a pile of cinders and couldn't get back up. Once, walking down the Saddle Road in the cold and dark, Brian and I saw an area that was all wrapped up for erosion control. It looked comfortable so we lay dawn and crashed by the side of the road. Cars would slow and then speed up as they passed. (oh chit! dead guys!)

We had no problems with who brought what as we were both pretty much self contained. I was over-contained and dragged along a lot of stuff that I ditched to lighten the load. I had some stashes, brian used water from the stashes but carried everything else on his back.

The only strange moment we had was when I remarked that I thought we could make the last 50 miles in about 12 hours. Brian was just a bit concerned that the weight he was carrying was too much for that pace. I believe when I stopped laughing about his concern he understood I was joking. It took us a bit longer.

We talked out our plans and carried them out. Safety was the primary concern and issue and delayed our progress-or limited our 'exploration- on a few occasions. There were no hard words, and complaints were really personal matters that we each kept to ourselves. I have the highest respect for Brian, and am honored to have made the trek with him.

Brian is packing/traveling. I have crashed. Hence little to write. But I can say.

Each of those sections was a rugged test that demanded more effort than we thought possible. I fought to complete each one, was drained and brutalized by the mountains, and then, after the briefest of rests, began again.

The second and third nights were brutal, draining, awful experiences that made climbing the highest mountain or walking all night seem like cake-walks.

I will always feel a bit of unease when I pass over the Saddle road. That junction between the ML and MK access roads damn near broke me on two consectutive wet, cold, windy nights. You can not run from yourself when there is no where to go. You just have to shut up, quit whinning, and do what is required.
aloha, mikem

Dayle Turner

Awesome! Thanks for sharing about your great trek!

Matt Stevens

I have a feeling that "just the facts" only tells about 5% of the story! I want to know who took the first spill and if there were any good trail fights out there (: I.E. "I thought YOU brought the electrolyte tablets!" "NO, I thought YOU said you'd bring them" and such things


Well done!

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