Travel

Trail Running the Na Pali Coast Trail

The jungle was dripping down my back. Water droplets from above and within collecting on my skin as I traversed narrow knife ridgelines – barely a person wide – through lush rainforest, a thousand feet above the aquamarine ocean below. Two feet, two lungs and a big smile transporting me through the near marathon of enrapturing beauty that is the Na Pali Coast Trail. One day. One tiny island in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. 23 miles. 5000+ feet of elevation gain. 8 hours and 15 minutes. One beach lunch break with a side of poetry. One of the greatest days of my life. Hands down. Twice I wept without restraint running this incredible trail. Tears of gratitude and empowerment. They first streamed down my face as I entered the Kalalau Valley, better known to most as Jurassic Park. My eyes halting my body mid-stride, in awe of a place more like Eden than any I’ve ever seen before. My eyes kept searching overhead for pterodactyls.If dinosaurs still existed this is where they would soar.Breathtaking. Raw nature has always taken my breath away. Often I find myself overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the life and experiences I am able to live. Yet my time in the Kalalau was like few I had felt before. I was in a constantly blissful state, taking in a place so unique in its grandeur. Green peaks of every shade rising by the hundreds out of the earth, and erupting from the ocean below. Blues and greens never contrasted so vibrantly, so magically. What a gift; running through jungles, staggering views all around, daydreaming in an actual daydream, in a body that for some reason lets me not only imagine but accomplish running 23 miles in a day, with a boundless childlike energy. Yet, all the while wondering; “Is it possible? Can I really run the Ne Pali in a day?” And so again that day I was moved to tears during the last quarter mile of my run, as I ran out of the jungle, the setting sun on my back. Sprinting with arms held high overhead, like Rocky, laughing and crying. What a sight! I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve done it – because it’s a bit embarrassing to admit – but it was certainly the most satisfying so far. I screamed down the muddy, rocky trail feeling truly empowered, capable of anything. I wept as I reached the ocean, alone, taking in another sherbet sunset in a paradise that swept me off my feet in more ways than I’d care to admit.In so many ways, this experience was a personal hallelujah Running the Na Pali taught me that truly anything is possible in this life. Anything! If I could run 23 miles through the jungle in one day, what’s stopping me from any dream?

Nothing! As the sweat running down every inch of my body and the tears on my face merged with sweet ocean waves I recalled that everything is healed by salt water. Sometimes healing hits on days when we’re already feeling like a rockstar. When it does it’s a staggering jolt of joy, right through the heart. Manifesting, for me, in laughter and a never-ending smile as I realized that part of me will always live along these ridgelines, in the jungle and the ocean; in a place some might call Heaven.

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