Haleakala the Fast Way - Page 2
Haleakala juts 10,023 feet from sea level on the island of Maui. Photo by Eddie Gianelloni.
Leaving the store, I returned to my base camp—newly named “The Beehive” as a result of spilled GU—and fell asleep. I took several days off to recover, drinking coffee in beach cafés and waiting for the weather to clear.
Three days later, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to stars close enough to touch from the door of my tent, i decided to make my second attempt. Starting up the trail in the dark, i felt less intimidated by the tapeworm trails through knee-high jungle grass and ankle-roller rocks.
The dreaded goat crossing came after a quick hour and 10 minutes. i felt good, but the sound of barking again set me on edge. This time, though, i was greeted by a couple of Peruvians tending the flock. They shouted at the dogs and that was the end of it.
The route sees little traffic below the crater. If there ever was a proper trail, the jungle ate it a long time ago. After some bushwhacking, I crossed the Haleakala national Park boundary, where a pristine alpine trail emerged, offering faster running with views clear down to the ocean where I’d started.
Punching through the clouds at the crater, the hot, lifeless landscape made me feel as though I’d left the planet. Sheer walls hugged both sides of a tight notch, protecting the route from the wind. The horizon was stacked with fiery red and orange ridgelines.
The final 3000 feet of Moab-style slickrock and sand were dry with sustained, painful switchbacks. after slogging over two ridges, I’d burned through what little i had left to give. When i finally emerged at the summit, I glanced at my watch: 3 hours 37 minutes.
The other day, a gal asked me why I sacrifice so much to run in the mountains. I told her, “I like to chase things.” Finisher medals and T-shirts are great, but there is something uniquely fulfilling about doing something creative that is all your own.