What would a tropical island be without lava? But, I prefer my lava served cold. They have some of that out on the most southwestern corner of Maui, along La Perouse Bay. Wild Greg had previously checked it out and decided it would be a good place to test my limits of interacting with uncertainty. We did that for the first time two years ago. This year we returned with other willing victims, and still some uncertainty for me, because Wild Greg is, well… unpredictable.
It doesn’t help any that there were oodles of warning signs at the trail head. Even if most of the cautions are about not altering the environment, it gave the place an air of danger. The wind was howling, and acres of sharp rock in the-purposed-area-of-exploration suggested tribal burial grounds. There were a few other groups of hikers, but I knew from experience, that we would probably go well beyond the last traces of human life we found.
You would think I would have been comforted by the fact that we were on a relatively small island. I’d been there several times. I had the shape and basic layout memorized. I knew my way “around” it. That is, I knew how to find places on the map. Put me out in the middle of a million rocks and I am bound to lose my sense of direction. Tell me to turn this way and that to look at various scenes along the way, and I am at your mercy. Put me in the middle of a bunch of wild goats, and who knew which way I’d run. I knew the goats were coming…. I know, there was an ocean on one side. But I’m sure I could get just a short ways in from that and get get completely lost.
This is not a place that I was ready to go bare footed in. It was more important that I be able to keep up with my guide, so I wore my RunAMocs. This increased my sure footedness much more than last time, when I had worn regular athletic shoes. I also felt lighter, like I might actually be able to give the goats a run for their money. :-) I at least had a supply of water that could be stretched to last a few hours and I’d been increasing my running mileage lately. I held my completely touristy, floppy hat securely on my head. It could be used as a tent in an emergency. It’s good to have a plan.
One of the other group members quickly fell into the roll of fellow conspirator with Wild Greg. They would nonchalantly wander over to high points of rock prominences where waves crashed. Obviously, no sense of gravity. All I have to do is be 10 feet from a ledge and I’m likely to fall over the side. Okay, no, I haven’t tested this theory, but it’s what I FEEL like anywhere near a precipice of greater than two feet. I figure, if my balance is dissipating that far from the edge, I shouldn’t go any closer!
Out in the middle of a wide expanse of lava, there were a couple of enclosures. We had many theories about these. We worked out so many potential scenarios, we should probably write a couple of novels. Maybe these were built to keep prisoners. Possibly, they were lookouts for invaders. It could have been lodging during fishing season. It is conceivable that animals were corralled there. Or perchance, the locals built them to give the tourists something to talk about?
We had heard that Maui authorities were trying to cull the herds of wild goats. From what we saw, they hadn’t made much progress. There were mama goats, baby goats, and fierce looking billy goats. The shoulders of the males may have only come up to my waist (visual estimate, we were never closer than 20 feet), but the combination of the horns and the forbidding stare gave me chills. I could learn a few things about intimidation from those fellows. I tended to walk quickly through that section, trying to appreciate the cuteness of the little goats, without letting the papas know.
The last people we saw were sitting on a little sandy beach drinking their mai tais. I think they had picked what they thought was the most remote location possible. Ha! They didn’t have my tour guide. But apparently even he can only look at so many rocks. After finding a very remote memorial to two men who had died trying to surf there, we headed back to more civilized places.
Another Wild Greg adventure under my belt and I lived to tell about it! So far, he has a good record, and I may consider another tour in the future. ;-)