Recently, I was fortunate enough to be taken on a most rewarding hiking experience. The exact location of said walking adventure was just off the windward side of O'ahu's, Ko`olau Mountain Range. Widely known, this is a popular destination spot for many local residents and first time tourists as well. Alongside our main guide John Edward, myself and another young man by the name of Pila rounded out the group. Arriving, a good portion of the initial hike was spent maneuvering on and around the Maunawili Falls Trail. Very easily followed, this trail leads to a favored cool off spot below the prescribed trail monikers namesake. Though much foot traffic was originally observed, thing's changed quickly in that regard. The deeper we advanced, the less human contact we came across. Our explorative party was now advancing further and beyond this much popularized section as had been planned without pause.
Much of the beginning trail head was found to contain an abundance of tree roots and rocks. Despite its rough looking appearance, hiking through was found to be pretty manageable. I did note that there were many different hikers of various age walking the trail. I also observed that several individuals were doing the same trail using casual footwear such as flip-flops and such. Some sections required the crossing of flowing water. At these points, many of the rocks found were left slicked by the surrounding mud and splashing moisture. A slower path jostling from rock to rock, or just flat out trudging through the water made forward progress consistent through these parts.
Now past the main gathering spot, our adventurous trio came upon its first real fun challenge. Up was the only way to go. Continuing left was not an option, and neither was the right. Problem was though, that there was no stairs to climb. Nothing but a dirt wall looming ever so plainly right in sight. For us, all there was were some basics. Some thick vines dangling from overhead trees, exposed roots to grasp onto, and several pocketed foot holes within the dirt. Scaling higher in elevation, one by one up we went in tow. Following John Edward's lead, meant that I was given a great view into proper hand and foot placement for my own advancement. Once safely on top and back on the over-grown trail, we moved on. Forward progress was now being obtained only by skill-fully navigating one hurdle to the next. Above, we see a photo of Pila easily walking a drainage pipe that was suspended 20-30 feet above the ground. We found this rusty looking pipe shortly after are ascent up the wall of dirt. While Pila opted to traverse back and forth several times for photographic purposes, I opted only once to make way across the same pipe ala the saddle-scootch method.
The use of a map and protractor came into play quite frequently during this expedition. Coordinates were checked throughout in order to pin-point location and distance covered. I myself was especially interested in learning a little more about this specific aspect of guidance during our hike. Fully aware of my upcoming participation in the 2013 "Tour Divide" race, meant that I should pay close attention I was thinking. Obtaining a better understanding into the use of this important skill, seemed only logical for my own future benefit. Funny thing in that at one point during our hike, that we finally had reached lands end. We had left the marked boundaries of the discovered world as we all knew it. In actuality though, progressing forward anymore only meant that we were going off the maps page.
Along the newly constructed concrete drainage canal we went. Cautiously skirting atop the sides by walking in criss-cross fashion. Carefully ducking below the low over growth of hanging foliage, the running water below quietly ran past. Finally the decision was made to simply just walk right through the flow of cool water. Good thing for that as it had allowed our forward speed to increase. Throughout the entire hike, I listened intently to my chaperons tell tales of historical nature regarding local legend and lore. Reference of times long since past couldn't have felt more realer than when our party reached the exact spot pictured below. This location was an important find for us this day. Explained to me in this manner - Rain water that had fallen in the past 50 years or more, has been sifting through the Earths own filtration system all this time. It had soaked into and through the rich soil, continuing to travel on. Through various underground caverns it flows before emerging from the lower countryside. Now mainly for agricultural purposes, you can clearly see some of that clean precious water being rerouted elsewhere for many other means. Old meeting new right before our very eyes. A vision of the storied past meeting the building future. There we stood just watching the water run freely right from the Earth itself, and onto its new humanly erected path. Amazing to think and ponder, the wonder of it all I mean.
Views such as the one above, always leave me searching inside my mind for reference to some similar view having already been seen. Most often I would say, that they come from a previously viewed movie in regards to familiarity of scene displayed. Just looking at both pictures of the wooden foot bridge, I can easily get lost in the thought of what my mind sees right there before it. Vivid imagination allows escape to a feeling of adventure being obtained far away from civilization. Of being deep within the dense jungle, surrounded by all sorts of hidden dangers. Despite obstacles faced, the only path to safety is forward. Across the rickety bridge we go, as it sways beneath us from our weight. Once passed, our continuation on is made through the tangle of ferns. Each step made possible by the constant swing of a sharp machete out in front. Compounding matters, is the ever constant air of humidity that blankets us all. Its thickness so full, that you could cut it with knife. Alarmingly, the still of silence is broken with the sounds of life coming from within the forest. Like a shock wave reverberating, it eerily signals that we are not alone... Remember the film Predator?
Our descent down finally took us to the dry river bed that ran below. The water level was low, but there was enough present to keep forward momentum towards Maunawili Falls. Over the slippery rocks we went en route to our jumping point on the falls. As what all adventurous men do, we celebrated. We celebrated in loud, and manly fashion! With a quick leap, hoot and holler, we boldly jumped into the safety of the water below. Showing no fear of submerged rock, or perceived depth of the water. Even the threat of the pesky micro-organism "Leptospirosis," lurking within the water couldn't prevent us from taking that last step. Plunging we went. With a huge splash and short swim afterwards, it was all over. All that was left for us to do was hike out and off the trail. Our tanks of manly nature, full and runneth over with ample supply of such a glorious journey being had.
The celebratory feast held afterwards...that is entirely another story within itself to be told.