Monday, May 30, 2011

Hiking Manoa Falls

As much as I love (and when I say love, I mean LOVE) Hawaii, lately I've been craving to get out of Honolulu and nearby areas. They're great, don't get me wrong. But Honolulu has certainly become very city like. It's not Manhattan city like, but it's a different experience here now then when I last came here 10 years ago. (although granted, that was only for a week and I was 17) There's TONS of traffic, a lot more traffic then my last visit. There's throngs of people, and lots of car horns. It's still beautiful and the pace continues to be much slower then at home, but my heart's been sinking at every new shopping mall I come across. I wanted to get away from the attractions and touristy traps, and see Hawaii as it was meant to be seen: for it's true beauty.

I began looking up various hiking trails that were easy and were feasible to the best of my ability. The Manoa Trail was listed as easy to moderate. It's about a mile, and not TOO hilly. It's located in a rain forest and a bamboo forest. The downside is that there are a lot of rocky areas, and flat muddy hills that are very slippery when wet. Which is most of the time. I was determined to do it though, so I decided company would be best in case I fell. Auntie agreed that she would love to take me, and we waited until she had the day off on Wednesday to do so. First we did a detour and she took me out to lunch at The Wai'oli Tea Room in the Manoa Valley. I'm saddened to say that I did not take many pictures of the area because it was raining, but it was beautiful. The  Wai'oli Tea Room is surrounded by an awesome tropical setting, and most people have breakfast and lunch here. You can have afternoon tea here as well, but it's best if you make a reservation for that. I'll tell you what though: The food? WAS AWESOME. I had a roast beef sandwich (YUM) that was so good I'll probably be going again. I also had a mango mixer, and chocolate mousse cake. Thanks Auntie. :)

After that, we headed to our Manoa Falls hike.

If you ever come here, a few rules before you come out on your Manoa Falls hike: 1) Load up the bug spray. A LOT. I went on Yahoo Travel to research the trail and read the precautions on the swarms of bugs. I am quite proud to say that I only got two bug bites because of this, and Auntie didn't get any when I sprayed her down as well. I'm quite pleased with the results. Make sure to get your face as well, and wear a hat. Spritz the hat a couple of times on the top of the rim and the base. The bugs will swarm around the hat, then retreat quickly because of the spray. 2) Don't drink any of the stream water, or swim in it. Some Hikers have gotten very sick this way (or worse) due to a bacteria called Leptospirosis. It's really rare in humans, but, you really don't want that. Bring Purell. (Hearing this of course triggered my own recurring disease. It's called the Worry Wart disease and has affected my great Aunt Nancy, my Nana, my Momma, and myself. We're cool like that)  3) There are wild pigs on this trail. You'll rarely (if ever) see them, but just an FYI. I did hear one of the way back down the trail. They're usually spooked of you, and leave you alone. 4) I kept seeing hikers wearing shorts and sandals, (or "slippers" as they say out here). I guess you could, but I'd wear good sneakers at least. And I wore jeans. The idea of anything on my bare legs gives me the jeebies. 5) If you have balance issues, make sure you bring someone who's familiar with the trail. And of course, always stay on the trail. (I can't tell you how many times I heard "Lets go off the trail!" from others) Okay? Okay.

Auntie brought two walking sticks with us. I ended up using both of them for better balance. Again, thanks Auntie. With the walking sticks, I was able to begin my journey up to the falls.

The trail started off pretty flat. I was under the misconception that it would be easy the whole way up, but that thought was quickly dashed. The trail (after crossing the bridge) starts off wide, then narrows considerably. Random curves begin to appear. I managed to get around the bends with no problem, and Auntie was behind me to assist. Eventually, we came to roots and high stairs. Aunt Lynn would grab my waist, hoist me up off the ground, and I would use the walking sticks to bring myself up the rest of the way. The trail was supposed to be 45 minutes, but I think that's the timing accessed for an experienced hiker. Every once in awhile, I became tired, so I would step off to the side and take a break. In the meantime, I captured some pictures.

This is where branches became more apparent in the trail, and roots just grew bigger and bigger.

Auntie offered to get some shots of the stream for me with my digital. She's a good photographer. I'll have to add her shots in another entry, since I have no clue how to upload her pics from her camera.
After clearing another bridge, Aunt Lynn wanted to take a hiking picture of me for proof of our adventure and to let the dad know I was still alive. What a good auntie.
Eventually, we came to the Bamboo Forest. I loved the scene. I'd never witnessed anything quite like it before. My aunt said it used to be thicker, but sadly, some Bamboo has been cut down.Why on
Earth such a thing would be done I have no idea. There are pictures of the Bamboo Forest on her camera, since I put mine away when it began to rain. (her camera is waterproof. Alas, mine is not) As the trail went on, Aunt Lynn pointed out areas where scenes from the show Lost were shot. There are quite a bit.

Suddenly, we came to a dead stop in the trail.
I hate to admit that I uttered these words:
"I don't know if I can do that," I told Auntie. "I think I'm nearing my end of the trail."
Ahead of us, were a lot of rocks, some boulders, and a tree trunk. With my aunt's assistance, she was able to point out where dirt was that I could safely step on. I used the big boulder to hold onto as I walked around and over the rocks. I thought the tough part was over, only to find steeper stairs and more rock piles.

On January 10th, 2002, a huge landslide went over the end of the trail. Luckily, it happened when the trail was vacant, so no one was injured or killed. It shocked everyone, since this type of incident does not occur often. While no one was hurt, it did change the landscape ever since.

Auntie said there was no pressure over how far I wanted to go on the trail."I'm leaving it up to you," she said. "No pressure at all, but I think the falls are just up there." I looked at the rock piles. I thought for a moment. I decided that I came all this way, I might as well go a little further. I was determined to see what I came to see. After struggling with the walking sticks, I handed them to Auntie, rolled up my sleeves, and grabbed onto the rocks. I proceeded to climb on my hands and knees up the muddy boulders. Finally, I reached the clearing. Covered in mud from chest to toe, I reached this sight:

Many hikers had long since turned back at this point. There was a bench on the left hand side that I was grateful to sit on. Finally, the Hawaii that I came to see.

Sometimes in certain seasons, Manoa Falls is as dry as a bone. I came at the right time of year. Auntie and I sat and talked for a little while. Then that's when I recorded my video blog to all of you.

Then, we decided to turn back before it got dark. I felt so accomplished. It was easier going down the trail then going up. When the going got tough, I just sat on my butt and slid down the hills. I wouldn't recommend it, but it worked for me. Auntie and I took turns alternating between the walking sticks and holding on to each other. Before I knew it, we were at the bottom again, sweaty, muddy and tired.
But not defeated.


  1. You look so tiny behind that gargantuan pie! Yum!

    We have wild pigs around here too but I never see them. I mean they would be way off in the woods so I wouldn't be likely to find one, but those things are MEAN huh? For some reason running into one in Hawaii sounds scarier than running into one in Alabama.

    You straight stole Aunties' walking stick! Just joshing of course. I think you are very bold to even try this trail! It sounds treacherous! But worth it.

  2. Awwww, Hayley. I'm an elf. Tiny has been my middle name since forever. (Let's just say I cheered the day I was able to reach the drinking fountain likw all the other elementary school kids) And the food was YUM indeedy.

    Oh they're mean alright! I think I'd be spooked of wild pigs regardless, but I'm be downright afarid of them here, although they're probably just as dangerous in Alabama. I think it's because they're in the jungle and there's a lot of them. Hunting dogs are let loose twice a week on the trail to kill them.

    I totally stole Auntie's walking stick! (HAH.) I'm not ashamed to admit it either. The trail was well worth it. It's not TOO bad (for here), just a trail that would be difficult for anyone experencing balancing issues or older people. Most trails in Hawaii are not for the faint of heart. (some are just straight up cliffs. In fact there's been three hiking deaths reported on the news since I came here--from different trails mind you. One was an experenced hiker, one a college kid fooling around with his friends and not paying attention, one a tourist. It's trails I would never dare try.

  3. This sounds really fun! Have you watched the show Lost? I was obsessed with it, so I'd love seeing spots from the show.

    Good job sticking with it til the end and making it to the falls!