If type-one fun is defined by two-feet of fresh, blue skies, and brews, then type-two fun is defined by bushwhacking through 10ft-tall cane grass, uphill in monsoon rains, knowing you may or may not stumble upon a wild boar, and may or may not find the actual trail again…
Just as we depart the trailhead, the sky unleashes and within two minutes the rain has already soaked through our packs. But we continue to follow the trail that isn’t actually a trail at all, but just a giant patch of cane grass through which some incredibly faint line exists from when the last person decided, like us, that this would be fun. And so we push on through the towering blades, next to spiders that appear to be from another planet, as the rain continues its descent to its final destination–our heads. At a certain point we realize we have entirely lost our direction, and we’re stuck wandering through fallen trees and branches in a now-wooded grassland when I hear a grunt and squeal as the dead leaves rustle in front of me. The feral dogs that the sign from the trailhead warned us about? Oh–wild boars, even better. Despite my fear of being attacked by piglet, we wander on, finding the trail only to lose it again.
But eventually–without any help from the topo map that the Park Service didn’t have–the bushwhacking and wild boar sightings and following the ever-faint line through the grass leads us to a primitive campground inside the world’s largest dormant volcano. We pitch our tent on the wet grass, next to a cliff dripping with ferns and native plants and residual rainwater, as the sun dilutes its light below the crater walls. After cooking Ramen on a make-shift camp stove of a sterno canister and twigs (because there was not a single place on Maui to buy isobutane canisters), we shiver our still-damp selves into our sleeping bags, perfectly contented.
Type-two fun is the fun that, in the moment, is actually kind of more like misery than enjoyment. If you had asked me mid-lost-in-the-brush-next-to-the-boars if I would do that hike again, it would have been a resounding “hell no.” Had you asked me the same question, three days later at 5am, watching the sun rise over Maui from 10,000-feet, it would have been a resounding “hell yes.”
Type-one fun doesn’t usually make for a very good story; type-two fun is the kind you reminisce on for a lifetime. Type-one fun might make you smile, but it doesn’t change you, challenge you, or facilitate growth. Type-two fun is the kind that brings you to a sunrise at 10,000-feet with sore legs and wide eyes.
If we only seek the simple, then we will never see or understand the complex beauty that surrounds us. The most interesting and wonderful things in this life are not often viewed from a living room couch. Sights of raw beauty and the sort of fulfillment that resonates deep within your gut often come with worn boots and blistered feet; and stories that begin with soaked packs and broken compasses often end in night hikes where the stars provide more light than your 250-lumen headlamp, and the warm brilliance of sunrise is welcomed from your perch atop a remote island in the Pacific.