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playing poker and teaching science: The measure of a man
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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The measure of a man


 
The Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai is listed in the top ten most dangerous hikes in the United States. This information in retrospect should be something one finds out more than one day before one begins such a hike. Hey, I was a little behind in my research. Sorry!

Wrestlers have a saying: "Water is for the weak." I came to find out however that water is also for the severely dehydrated and failing to keep adequately hydrated during the most grueling physical activity I have ever attempted leads to excruciating leg cramps, dizziness, and near total exhaustion.

But I digress...

When you strike out on the Kalalau trail you lose cell coverage in the parking lot of the trail head and immediately begin to climb. Kalalau hosts12 miles of exhausting trails that feature multiple treks from sea level to above 800 feet in very short periods of horizontal distance. The result being that all of your thigh muscles are engaged for extraordinary periods of time, to the point in fact that they begin to quiver with each and every step.

Then you reach Crawler's Ridge.

Crawlers Ridge is the part of the trail that turns some people back. It's a mile of VERY steep downhill. The path is volcanic and might as well be made of small ball bearings because you literally slide with every step. Also, the gail force winds pound you every step of the way. The trail is less than a foot wide in places with nothing to stop your fall from a misstep except the rocks 600 feet below.

Good times.


When every step brings pain, some people just sit down and quit. On Kalalau however there is no quitting. You HAVE to go on. Quitting just simply not an option. With each step I swallowed the pain and told myself there was no other alternative. I had to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We made it to the trail end beach and waterfall and set up camp, fighting cramping quads all the time. One day of rest later we were back on the trail, lesson learned. Even proper hydration however cannot stop the constant stress on your thigh muscles. The last two miles again were fraught with pain and exhausted, quivering muscles.

An experience like this really can't be properly conveyed with words. It becomes a true measure of how tough you are and how much pain you can endure. I know I was literally pushed PASSED my physical limits and still kept moving.

A challenge like Kalalau gives you insight into your true metal...

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