Friday, February 15, 2008

A sledder's better than hike'n down!

If one is staring at the Chatter Box, waffling between going to Nanakuli (hiking in the desert sun, fighting thorn bushes and boulders, getting shot in the face by bullet thermals, and pumping-out tip collapses) or being a responsible adult (doing household chores, running errands, taking care of children), the phrase, “Doug sent me a chart that shows the most epic lapse rate ever!” will make you point your car towards Makaha. (Alex, I hold you completely responsible for everything that follows . . . )

We all remember the day . . . I got five grand, Alex & Don & Ray & The lovely June went to Waikele; Doug went to Kaena Point & back and then to Waikele . . . the greatest day EVER!!!! This promised to be BETTER!!!!!

I was NOT going to sit around my office helping old ladies regain their independence or children learn to walk. No. I had IMPORTANT work to do; that work was going to take place at NANAKULI!!

We met at 1:00 PM. The hike was, as expected, hot, dry, exhausting, and LONG. I hate hiking Nanakuli. If you’ve ever done it, you know . . . it sucks. I, specifically said to Don, “You know, I hate hiking up Nanakuli, but I REALLY hate hiking down.”

Little did I know how prophetic I could be.

At Low Launch, I thought it might be best to hike higher (whether I liked it or not.) Don and Tim (Chicago) agreed. Alex and Ray thought otherwise. As we trudged upward, Ray and Alex set up and launched. At Middle, Don, Tim & I discussed the best launch site. The wind was coming up the spine, but was mostly “school side.” I laid out and launched. Ray had gotten very low, but fought it out like a champ. Next thing I know, Ray & Alex are 500 ft above me. I, on the other hand, was barely maintaining. For 15 minutes, I scratched back & forth; desperately seeking lift.

Then, in classic Nanakuli fashion, the thermals tricked me. There was a puff from the dump side (the Dark Side); I sniffed at it. I went UP! (A little bit) So, I crossed over (Once you cross over to the Dump Side, it will forever control your destiny.) I was going up!! It was BEAUTIFUL!! . . . BEEP, BEEP, BEEP . . . Until, I was going down. Ya see . . . after the lift ends . . . the ROTOR happens. Yes, that’s where my left wingtip started collapsing . . . over & over & over & over. I chased my wing all over the sky until it, reluctantly, decided to remain overhead. I fought my way to safety (which means I was WAY THE HECK AWAY from anything that might even resemble lift.) I fought, and fought, and fought . . . and then landed out on the dirt road. Damn it!!! I hate Nanakuli!!! (except when it’s REALLY good . . . which is almost NEVER for me.)

Alex & Ray, who were very high, inexplicably, headed to the beach. (Apparently, it was very rowdy at 1900 feet . . . if only I had had the privilege of finding out.) Tim rode a sled to the cars. I packed up. McStalker, graciously, picked me up on the dump side and returned me to my car. (Mahalo Nui Loa!)

What to do? – What to do? Alex suggested that we get some beer and hang out on the beach (which had recently been policed, removing the homeless . . . so, it felt safe.)

Alex, Ray & I sat on the beach drinking IPA & ESB (yes . . . we’re beer snobs) while everyone else spent HOURS waiting for a good cycle. I have to say . . . those two guys are fun to hang out with. If you ever get the chance . . . I recommend it.

Doug & Scrappy gave it the ol’college try, while everyone else hiked down.

I felt bad for the hikers & the sled riders. I mean . . . Hiking up Nanakuli SUCKS!!! (see above), but, hiking down Nanakuli . . . well . . . that is THE LOWEST CIRCLE OF HELL!! (see one of Alex’s previous posts.)

OK . . . tomorrow will be better. See you at the meeting.

End of blog.



Alex said...

Nice article, Pete! I know it was fueled by Zinfandel. Speaking of which, I thought about it later and after doing a little math, I realized you and Ray must have had eight beers on the beach between the two of you! Yikes - I think the title of the article could have been "surviv'n the driv'n home is better than hike'n down!"

Suicide said...

I brought one of those beers home. So, it must have been 7 beers between us. Thank goodness. I would have hated to drink too much.

Also, the article was not fuel by Zinfindal (that was you), it was fueled by Malbec. (Tierra Brisa 2006 - Argentina)

Alex said...

Well I was flying high after only two of those tasty brews, but then again I'm the world's lightest lightweight.