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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An impromptu hike today

After taking care of some business, I find myself on the windward side of the island and near a waterfall that I heard about but never been to.  So since I heard the hike to falls was short at only about 15 minutes each way, I decide to do an impromptu hike with just what I have with me.

So I know about where the trailhead is, but not exactly.  So I head out in search of it.

Today, I had several failures and one success.

I was hoping to find the waterfall, find some mountain apples that missus monkey and I really like, and to test out my injured foot that was hurting a bit after two soccer practices and a scrimmage on Monday.

First failure...

I find what looks like the main trailhead and head in.  After a short distance, I spot what looks like an opening in the tangled growth.  I look in and see a drop of about 6-7 feet.  The slope is steep at about 80 degrees and very muddy with limited hand and foot holds...basically one tree trunk at the top and lots of mud on the slope.  Looking beyond that, I see a small clearing and what looks like a trail.  It didn't look like the right trail to me, but at first glance, I didn't see another.  And I went for it.  It was slippery and I ate it.  Took a roll so as not to hurt myself.  And when I got up, I realized the I was still hanging on to my Guyot water bottle.  Lisa, at TwoWolves, might be proud of me for hanging on to the bottle I bought form her.  But she probably wouldn't be proud that I fell.  I explore the "trail" and find it leads into thick tangles of vegetation, like most of that area.  So I climb back up and halfway up, almost slide back down, but I make it.  At this point, I am muddy and not happy.

But I continue to explore and find another trail.  As I take this on, it looks much more promising.

It took me ten tries to get this picture.  There was a breeze and using a macro setting, the first pictures were all blurry.

The more promising looking trail.  This was the driest part too.

Most of the way looked more tangled than this, but less blurry.

More trail.

A little bit of an opening in a heavily covered trail.

There were several clear spots that afforded a view of mountain and sky.

Shortly after this, I decide to turn back.  I have gone for about a half an hour and crossed two valleys and am heading too high to find the waterfall, I think.  I am getting near the pali summit.  I figured that maybe my pace was slow since I was being very careful on the slippery trail.  It was muddy and rocky and the rocks were slipperier than the mud.  But I wasn't going THAT slow.

As I head back down I keep searching for other trails in case I took the wrong one.

I found a game trail but didn't take it.  In this picture, if you look through the vegetation, you may be able to see the game trail.  It is about five feet below the main trail.  I only found it because I thought I heard a pig and was trying to find it.  Saw the game trail but no the pig.

I found another trail and took it to see if it would lead anywhere.  I lead me into a thick dark tunnel of hau trees.  It was so dark in there that the trail was sloshingly muddy as very little sun got through.  I went part way and turned back.  I didn't see any footprints and didn't feel like I was going the right way to the waterfall.

So I failed to find the waterfall.  Bummer.

Second fail...

I see guavas, strawberry guavas, other berries, but no mountain apples.

No mountain apples.  Failed again.  Bummer.


In addition to wanting to find the waterfall so I could take my kids there, I wanted to test my foot injury.  It has been two months now and it still hurts.  Especially after the two soccer practices and scrimmage on Monday.  I found that it started to hurt less as I hiked.  When I finished and rested, it hurt again.

Tonight, after hiking and having soccer practice this afternoon, it really hurts.  I hope I can handle tai chi class and soccer practice tomorrow.  I should have listened to my Sifu and taped up.  But then, this was impromptu.  So I take it as a win, since I got to get outside, get a little muddied up and get a good sweat going while I raised my heart rate.

When I was leaving, I saw some young men successfully catch a rooster.  They were near the trailhead.  I did not see another soul on the hike.  As I drove out, I noticed that where those men had been was a small opening in the bushes.  I bet I went on the wrong trail and the one that goes to the falls was the one near where those guys were.  I was really tempted to stop and go check it out, but I had stuff to do and had to get back in time to make it to soccer.  So next time.

Normally, I take at least some basic kit with me when I go hiking or camping.  But on occasion, like today, I just want to go.  So here's what I had...

This picture was taken a couple hours after the hike and I managed to get most of the mud off the sandals, but not off my clothes.  I had my Keen sandals, a Victorinox alox Farmer, a Exotac fire steel, my iPhone, and the Guyot Designs stainless water bottle.  Not pictured is my camera and a two pieces of hard candy that I ate after I got home.

My lessons learned (or remembered)...

Hiking shoes or boots are better than sandals most times.  The Keens were slippery in the mud and wet rocks and lots of dirt and mud and stuff got inside.

Trust your gut.  I didn't think the first path was right, but I went anyway and went down.  Fortunately it wasn't a big drop.  

Do your homework.  I wanted to find the waterfall that I knew the general area of.  Checking first would have helped a lot and I probably would have found it.

Don't go hiking with an injury, especially a leg injury.  Screw that one, I had fun.

You can do a lot even with an injury.  I could have gone for hours more, I think.  But then, I might be hurtin' a lot more than I am now.

Bring a bag or something to carry stuff in.  Carrying the water bottle in hand was a drag.

Finally, getting out and doing something on a whim is awesome.

My after hike treat really hit the spot.  Hurray for the free refills at Starbucks.  I pounded down the first one there and got a refill to go.  When I got home, my two little monkeys drank most of it.

Last lesson, if you want it all for yourself, finish it before you get home.

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