Tag Archives: hiking

Kilauea Volcano, HI – December 04, 2014

This time, during my visit to Waikoloa, I was not able to run. The second day of my stay there, while walking barefoot, I hit a lava rock with my foot, quite hard, and broke two bones in one of my toes.
Running was out of question, but luckily I was still able to snorkel and swim. Week earlier, I booked a guided tour to see the flowing lava and was supposed to go few days after the lava rock incident. Since this was probably once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to go, broken bones be damned. I mean, how often does one get to see the molten innards of our planet?
The morning of the hike (6 am), I managed to stuff my swollen foot into the boot, and drive to the other side of the island. Our guides led us through a very thick jungle, tracking through the knee-deep mud at times, and finally we arrived at the recently cooled lava field. The surface was not that hot, but you could feel the heat coming from even the smallest cracks. Finally, we arrived to the opening in a lava tube were we could see a flowing river of lava, just few feet from us. The heat and the gasses were quite intense. I quickly learned to hold my breath while standing next to it, but the sight was spectacular.
Trip back was the same distance, but it seemed much longer. I was getting very tired and my foot was quite painful. We made it back to our truck around 8 pm, I got a venti coffee at Starbucks and drove back to Waikoloa. I was back at my hotel around 11 pm, tired, in pain but with a bunch of great photographs and an incredible experience.
If you are ever visiting Big Island, you have to try this tour (Ahiu tours)! There is nothing else like it. Do realize though, this is not a casual walk in the park. Be ready to get muddy and to come back very tired.

Salt Lake City, UT – April 17, 2007 (hike)

Maggie and I did not have to go far from our house in Salt Lake City to be in the wilderness. There were a lot of great trails just few blocks from our house. One of our favorite hiking routes was “antenna hike” shown on the image below. This route went from our house to an antenna which was on one of the smaller peaks (I never figured out what that thing was) and then back to the house. For me, the antenna represented a goal to achieve, something to aim for, to make sure I do not quit half way up. Maggie probably did not care about the antenna, but she was always happy to go anyway.

Getting there was quite a challenge. Round trip distance was only 4.1 miles, but it was very steep. We would usually go up to the letter “H”, and then continue up the ridge all the way to the antenna. From there, we would come down the other side of the mountain, circle around and take Wasatch Drive back to our street. This was a nice hike albeit a very strenuous one. The hills outside the city are very rocky with very few small trees (Utah is a desert after all). If you try it, take your time, and be very careful, especially going down. It is very easy to roll your ankle on one of the loose rocks.

Antenna Hike, April 17, 2007 (4.11 miles)
Antenna Hike, April 17, 2007 (4.11 miles)

Harding Ice Field trail, Seward, Alaska – September 10, 2004

My climb to the Harding Ice field was between a hike and a run. I was trying to decide whether to include it or not, but once I took another look at the pictures from the climb, it seemed quite obvious that I’ve been mostly running so here it is…
Earlier that day, I took a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords National Park. After that was done, driving towards the Anchorage, I noticed a sign for the Exit Glacier and I went to check it out. Harding Ice Field trail head was near the parking lot. I have not heard of this trail before, but the sign said it was only 4 miles to the top and I figured it would have great views. I had little over 3 hours of daylight left, which I thought was plenty. Back then, I’ve been running routinely 6-8 miles, and I was in decent shape.
I signed the log book and took off (by myself). After a first ¼ mile or so, it became obvious that this will be quite a challenge. Calling this trail steep and strenuous is a major understatement. The elevation gain is about 4000 ft over the course of 4 miles! On some parts I almost had to scramble on all fours. Still, I kept running and running. I took few stops along the way to take selfies and pictures of the ice. I finished my run/hike and logged out 2 hours and 58 min after I started. That included some 30 min at the top, chilling out near the ice field, and few minutes here and there to take pictures. I have to say, this trail and the views are out-of-this-world. It was really worth it but I was very tired. I can definitely recommend this hike, but please, take it easy and give yourself a lot of time. I almost broke my leg on the way down.
Looking back now, I realize how insane this whole thing was. Since then, I’ve tried to reach the Harding Ice field two more times with my friend and both times we failed to make it to the end of the trail. Once we had to turn back due to the very bad weather and near 0 ft visibility, and the second time we had big problems with Grizzly bears on the trail, and then, my friend fell through the ice and injured his leg so we had to turn back.