Especially when the first half is up the mountain!
I ran/hiked up to a mountain ridge, one of the major ones on Oahu, today. Round trip totaled approximately 16.5 miles and 5 hours 15 minutes, including breaks... all four of them. It was an awesome hike. While I'm totally wiped out now that it's over, I loved it.
I surprised myself a couple of times. Near the summit, I rounded a bend and came upon a small patch of grass tucked in between two little ridgelines. The patch was about 20 feet square and for some reason it made me laugh. Out loud, like people do when they read something funny on a blog or something. After I laughed I wondered why and I realized it was because I was having so much fun!
Another little surprise came on the way down. The last stretch up, first stretch down is pretty tough. A very narrow trail with lots of water on it, mud, crap growing across it and it's on the side of a freaking ridgeline, the side of which seems to be straight down and in a few places literally was. On the way up I was trying to avoid the puddles and mud, with a little success until I reached a point that was just to difficult to jump across and there were no good looking dry footfalls. So, I shrugged and jumped into the ankle-deep water and keep pushing up. On the way down, however, I was having better luck jumping over the water and mud, maybe gravity was helping me. I slipped at one spot though, and planted both feet straight in the middle of another ankle-deep puddle. It really did surprise me, mostly because I didn't fall down into the puddle or over the edge of the trail, so I again laughed. More fun!
A third surprise came in the form of a piggy. As I rounded a bend where the trail wrapped around the ridgeline, I came to a sudden stop when I spotted a pig about 10 feet away. He looked like he was 400 pounds and had tusks the size of spears... but when I calmed down, he was only about 40 pounds and I didn't see any tusks at all. Fortunately, he took off arunning away from me down the trail. Well, fortunate that he didn't charge me, but it did worry me that I was running in the same direction he was running. I expected to see him around the next bend, but I guess he found a way off the trail that is invisible to human eyes. Thank goodness!
All in all, awesome hike/run. I'll do it again in a few weeks and take some Joes from work with me.
Here are the photos taken today (Titled "On the Trail (1-9) 27 Nov 2009).