Nancy Versus the Volcano

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my last full day in Maui last fall, the day I hiked through Haleakala.  I remember waking up that morning to the sun shining so majestically through the window of my hotel room.  My body felt flooded with exhaustion from all the activities I’d participated in during just a few short days: parasailing, zip lining, swimming in the ocean, to name a few, so my mind engaged in an internal dialogue that went something like this: “you’re tired. you love this hotel. there’s nothing wrong with staying around here all day. you’ll enjoy it.”

But, for some reason, I felt driven.  I had to drive to Haleakala.  I had to hike in the volcano.  I didn’t have a choice. I had to fulfill my dream.  When I was in Maui 19 years ago, I did not have the physical stamina or strength to do much more than walk across the parking lot at the top of Haleakala.  I had come too far not to realize another moment that was years in the making.

Around 9a.m. I set off.  It’s only 37 miles from the hotel, but the road up to the top is windy with switchbacks, so the drive takes about two hours, not an easy task when one is already tired……..Near the base of the volcano, I stopped at a small stand for a veggie burger and the cook was wearing a shirt that read “I’m from Hell.” An interesting omen……

Driving up the volcano, I kept thinking there had to be a treasure awaiting me, had to be a reason I felt this urge welling up within me to hike through this volcano.  A reason beyond fulfilling my dream.

As I drove up Haleakala, and reached the point above the clouds I started to sense an inner peace growing within, a sense of wonder, a sense of calm so deep nothing could ruffle it. I started to feel as though I was on top of the world, at the edge of the precipice of this thing called life.

When I reached the top and started walking around I could feel a transformational shift begin to stir.  After finding someone to take some pics of me at the top (one of which is banner image for this blog), I began my hiking journey.

I don’t know how many miles I hiked, but that’s another number that doesn’t really matter. With each step I marveled at the sight before me: mother nature’s majestic canvas, a beauty unlike any other.  A beauty that also exists within me, if I choose to see it.

After several hours, I could feel the exhaustion begin to overwhelm me.  I wanted to stop and go back to the hotel, but the same inner voice that propelled me to drive to Haleakala told me to keep going, keep walking to the top of the ridge in front of me, and when I reached that point and stood overlooking Haleakala, high above the clouds, I understood; I got it; I knew why I had to hike here on my last day:

For all of my life I had been chasing rainbows.  It took the warm and embracing power of Haleakala to let me know the time had come for the rainbows to start chasing me…………..

Me at the top of Haleakala with "baggage" I won't be traveling with again......

Me at the top of Haleakala in 1993 with “baggage” I won’t be traveling with again……

Me at the Top of Haleakala 2012

Me at the Top of Haleakala 2012

Another View from the Top of the Crater!

Another View from the Top of the Crater!

My favorite picture of the volcano!

My favorite picture of the volcano!

Above the Clouds!

Above the Clouds!

Standing at the Horizon of Life!

Standing at the Horizon of Life!

With the Wind of Life Blowing through My Hair 2012

With the Wind of Life Blowing through My Hair 2012

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4 thoughts on “Nancy Versus the Volcano

  1. Beautiful post, Nancy–made me feel like i was there. Keep up the good work! Your readers depend on it!

  2. I love your comment about it being time for rainbows to chase you. I like your concise writing. I can really learn to express myself better by reading your entries. You took us on a physical and psychological journey of great import in just a few paragraphs. Yes, your readers love and even depend upon your posts.

  3. What an amazing story Nancy…Very well written, full of details to allow the reader to visualize the experience as if they were there with you! You and your story are an inspiration to us all! 🙂

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