So there I was, hiking along the King’s Highway, a trail that takes you from Hana Bay past Waianapanapa. The surf’s getting big, crashing into the weathered lava cliffs and spraying more than 120 feet in the air. I leave the trail and look for a good spot to shoot the water, cliffs and spray, and lo and behold, there’s a small perch with just enough space for me and a tripod with the perfect view, except there was no easy way to get to it.
I bayonet my 16-35mm f/2.8 lens on the Canon 5D MARK II, attach the camera to the tripod and leave the pack behind to begin slithering down the rocky slope. Half way down, I realize the situation isn’t good. The next ledge is about six feet away, and where I am now, getting back up to the trail will be a big challenge. In my haste leaving the pack behind, I’ve also abandoned my water, energy bars and cell phone. Literally stuck between a rock and a hard place, I decide to go for the next ledge, deciding that jumping down would be safer than dragging my butt along the sharp lava.
Leaping for shelf, my left leg slips, and instead of a straight descent, I tumble forward towards the rocks. Letting go of the tripod, I hear the crunch of plastic as the camera bounces off of the lava. Time slows to a snails pace as I see sky, then lava, then water. After what feels like an eternity, I hit the ledge and hear something snap. Instantly, I know I’ve broken something, but I feel no pain. All I see is darkness closing in as I reach for a handhold.
A moment later, I realize I’m in bed, drenched in sweat and I’ve completely ripped the sheets from the mattress. How much garlic did I consume last night to cause such a nightmare?
I’m a firm believer that dreams are our way of telling us something, and this one was filled with potential messages:
1. Stay on the Trail. Yes, there are beautiful vistas found off the beaten path, but it’s the path people will take to look for you if you don’t return when you’re supposed to.
2. Always keep a communication device on you, whether it be a cell phone or an emergency GPS transmitter.
3. If you have to abandon gear because of weight, don’t sacrifice food or water.
4. Try to hike with a friend. If you have to go alone, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
5. Before trekking to an unknown location, survey the area. If it looks like a difficult hike down, it’ll only be more difficult getting back up.
6. Ease up on the garlic intake, Scott!