Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Folly of Youth.....Part Deux

OK, Admittedly the cliffhanger conclusion to this story is LONG OVERDUE! My apologies, but I've had more pressing matters to attend to these past 11 months. (Has it REALLY been that long?)

At any rate, I did my level best to discourage Max from running the coastal trail and several weeks later I followed up with his father to inquire and see what Max ultimately decided to do. My hope was that somehow I managed to reach him.

Apparently, Max decided to 'walk' the coastal trail. This was a non-trivial task to say the least, but it was at least marginally more sane than what Max originally had in mind. That being said, it wasn't as if Max was a highly skilled outdoorsman and had years of 'hiking' experience under his belt.

Curiously, Max opted to NOT wear hiking boots as he thought he 'might' like to run. Not too surprisingly, Max elected to not run at all. I'm reading the first few sentences of this email and can't help but think this is not an auspicious start!

Max embarked on this trek and the first 20 miles went smoothly enough until his feet started to hurt. I guess a nice pair of hiking boots would have come in handy. Standard running shoes are not necessarily designed for the kind of journey he was attempting to undertake. To Max's credit, he soldiered on for a grand total of 25 miles.

Max's gear included a 5-8 lb. camelback pack, a 1.5 lb sleeping bag, some rehydration packets for his water, a blister pack, a flashlight, a cellphone, and some maps. I'm thinking some food, a tent, and perhaps a flint might have helped!

The next day was an exercise in pain management as Max's feet hurt with virtually every step.....shocking! Max seemed to think that his 21 day wilderness trek (in hiking boots) that included hiking 10 miles a day would prepare him for this veritable death march along the Coastal Trail. Needless to say, this is when things get interesting.

Finally recognizing his limitations, Max runs into a ranger who kindly invites him to rest at a wilderness hostel 'somewhere' north of Santa Cruz. If this isn't the beginning of a bad horror film ('Hostel' anyone?), I don't know what is!

However, Max stayed at the hostel for two days in a vain attempt to allow his feet some time to heal. After two days of rest, Max strapped on the running shoes again and hit the trail. Another 20 miles later, Max found himself in significant pain yet again.

Fortunately, a local needed some help 're-roofing' his home. Max obliged and helped in the re-roofing effort in exchange for a 15 mile ride to Santa Cruz. After some strong persuading on the part of his family, Max elected to take a bus from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara (why he would not opt for a bus directly back to the Bay Area is beyond me?!?!) and then caught a bus back home from there.

Needless to say, Max's feet were traumatized likely due to the fact that running shoes are not designed for miles of hiking. One of his knees was very sore/uncomfortable which necessitated a visited to a sports physician. Rounding things out, he had a litany of blisters for his efforts.

Fortunately, it sounds like there was no permanent damage done. Hopefully, Max has learned something from this experience. I'm the last person to discourage someone from chasing their goals or dreams, but ideally you chase them in a thoughtful, well planned, and well prepared fashion. Max's humbling (and hobbled) experience perhaps gave him some MUCH needed perspective!

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