Hiking the Nualolo trail
The day of uncertainty has come. I had a restless night's sleep. We are going to try this trail in the mountains. Geez, am I on vacation or what? Why did I even think of forcing myself to do these things while I am on vacation, I must just be tripping! We've practically read a lot of tour books that describe this trail but in the back of our minds, we knew that what we really needed was to know the topography of the area and the condition of the trail itself. Unfortunately for us, the information center at the start of the trail doesn't open till 10am. We are on our own.
We woke up early so we can beat the heat of the sun. It's going to be a long hike. I've been apprehensive because of my recent back problem. I am definitely unsure if I can pull it all the way through. I try not to scare hubby with my thoughts. I know deep down that it will come down to perseverance and my own self preservation to make it through. I can still tell that Hubby is a worried about me too. I constantly drop hints that I will definitely push myself and get back in one piece no matter what. I now feel we are on some kind of reality show. We are here and there is no way I was going to turn back.
We found the start of the trail behind an inconspicuous post that is overgrown with grass. We started with this one lady hiker who greeted us and we find out that she heads out once a month on this trail to the vista point. After that, she's gone and we are on our own for the rest of this quiet and long forested trail. We each have a backpack and two bottles of water on each, some power bars, bananas and a breakfast burrito that we plan to eat for lunch at the vista point before we head back.
The first quarter of a mile trail was uphill. I had a foreboding feeling about what this trail is going to look like later on. The rest of the 3.8 miles to the end of this trail will be mostly downhill. Our original plan was to do the loop which consisted of the Nualolo trail (3.8 miles), Nualolo cliff trail (3.4 miles) and then the Awaawapuhi trail (3.1 miles) all before the sun sets. What was I thinking????!!!
I never had problems going downhill but this trail is very unforgiving, my knees just got pounded by the impact of the wet floor. There was hardly any part that is horizontal, it's just mainly either uphill or downhill. By the time we got to the end of it (Cliff trail), we've walked some 7 miles in 4 hours. I cannot describe the exhaustion we felt at that point. Gatorade, a drink that's supposed to help your body retain water and salt for energy was just passing through in the form of sweat. The view on the other hand was breath taking. The vista point is also a Six days Seven nights film spot where Harrison Ford beat the bush in his frustration. I was ready to do the same thing or call a helicopter to come fetch us at the edge of the mountain.
We debated if we should continue on with the rest of the trail on the loop. We aren't sure what to expect with Awaawapuhi trail either. Hubby and I decided that we'll head back the same way instead (against the advice of most tour books) reasoning that if we did the loop (which in reality is really u-shaped rather than a closed loop trail), we still had to hike an additional 1.5 mile up the road back to our car.
If the trail downhill was excruciating, going uphill wasn't just what my body was built for. Ok, I think now I realized I should have worked harder and longer at the gym to prepare for this. Two and half miles still to go, my legs started to cramp major time! I was then bordering desperation, I was zapping hubby's energy from my constant rest stops to calm my muscles. H didn't seem fazed by the hike so far until I got the cramps, credit him for having taken track and field in HS.
We tried to drink as much as we can before our return to lighten our load. We really just ate the power bars to give us more energy. Our return hike took longer, it being high noon and hot, due to altitude changes and of course going up continuously just makes it harder for me to catch my breath. We saw about 3 more couples negotiating their way to the vista on our way back. We are still by ourselves in the forest and it's making me a little freaked out but my mantra was perseverance-bebe!
We finally saw the final .25 mile sign post, we were so elated but the last stretch as always seem the longest of all. We've wrung ourselves with our last drop of energy and finally we hear cars, dogs in the park and chickens!!! It's a good sign, I can kiss the ground coz we've MADE IT!!!
I tell my friends what we've done and most of them say I am crazy for doing that. I know it may sound crazy but I set out to do it to prove to myself that I can, to put a milestone that I've overcome my back problem (that having it doesn't mean it has to control my life), to test (in a way without our realizing it) that H and I can overcome adversity without having to lose our tempers or respect for each other. I came out of that trail dirty, spent and legs scarred (from the grass and overgrowth cuts) that I'd say can be figuratively compared to the Passion of Christ but otherwise glorious, somewhat experienced and totally fulfilled. I think, all these above all, is by far not synonymous to the term crazy.
Tomorrow's Thursday and you know what I've got planned for this day (my body will just love me for this)....
Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker