Hiking Part 2

Like I mentioned a few posts ago, there was plenty of hiking to do. Here are another couple of trails we hiked.

Pali Puka

WIthin the first few days of arriving, Kenny, Brian and I went to do the Pali Puka trail. It started at a lookout set back from the highway with a great view of Kaneohe and Kailua Bays and their corresponding towns. The trail itself was a bit of a hidden gem. Off to the side from the (very touristy) lookout area packed with buses and people, there was a broken piece of wall next to a forest of bamboo. It turns out that if you climb up through the hole in the trees there, you’ve found the path.


It went uphill quickly from there, and we had to use the trees to scramble up the trail which was a bit dusty and slippery. Before long we were out on a ridge with a dramatic (read: steep) view of the valley below. At several points there were two paths: one through the brush on the ridge and another out on the ledge. Kenny and I opted to use the outside route on the way up while Brian decided to go inside.


It was a bit harrowing outside since the wind was strong, but luckily the wind was heading into the mountainside, so it felt a bit safer. There were several points with ropes that we used mostly coming down steep portions of the trail. At the top of the trail, there was a puka, or hole in the rock. It was an interesting formation and you could see the valley down below.


Pali puka

We snapped a few photos at the top. While we were hanging out, we noticed that there were some pretty sizable rain storms heading in from the ocean,  not uncommon for an afternoon on the “Windward” side of the island. The trail was a bit tricky coming up as it was and we decided it would be best to not have to descend when it was wet, so we made a beeline   for the car and got off the trail just as the rain started. Overall a great, quick hike to start out with.

Maunawili Falls

Probably my second favorite hike after Stairway to Heaven (which will have a post of its own) was one we did on the afternoon of my last day. We decided to do a shady hike to a waterfall right near where my cousin Adam works. Unfortunately it was a muddy hike and we were planning to swim, so all phones and cameras were left at home.

When we arrived there were quite a few people on the trail; it was another case where you park on the street in a residential neighborhood and have to know where to go. But it was clearly a popular trail with the locals.

The path was very muddy virtually all the way up, but that made it all the more fun. There were trees to grab on to when needed, so it wasn’t too difficult, though there were a fair number of large stairs which I didn’t appreciate since we had just done Stairway a few days before and my calves were still killing me.

Most of the hike was in the woods, so there weren’t the typical wide-angle views of the other hikes I’d been on. But it was nice to be cool and shaded. There were a few points when we waded through some chilly streams which felt nice and added some ambiance to our trek.


shamelessly stolen from a Hawaiian tourist website

After a bit we finally reached our destination: the Maunawili Falls. The falls cascaded over some sloping rocks and fell into a deep pool. Kenny wasted no time in dropping his bag and heading up a trail, so we followed diligently. Little did we know that he was heading up to a jump spot that was a bit higher than any of us were expecting. We judged that it must have been 40+ feet up and was rather precarious along a cliff. Someone had installed a rope to grab to ease yourself out to stand on the ledge before jumping.

There was a crowd gathered at the bottom, mostly people who had just jumped but also some families and folks who weren’t up for the height but wanted to watch the rest of us suffer through it. Everyone was working together giving hand signals to let us know when the pool was clear to jump.

Kenny went first and didn’t hesitate at all. He’s really tall so when he went in and came out fine the rest of us followed suit. Liz was hesitant, but didn’t have any trouble once she got going. I was next and I figured that the key was to not hesitate too long, so I didn’t linger once I got the go ahead. It was a small ledge and a long drop, but the cliff below was inverted so I at least knew I wasn’t jumping into rocks.

The fall itself was much longer than I’d thought it would be. That was really the only troubling part — I had my eyes closed and there was a moment when I felt I should be in the water already but I was still falling, wondering where the water was. Of course it wasn’t far below, so I hit the chilly water an instant later. I’m definitely glad I did it in the end.


The only picture I could find on google that shows the high jump

Brian followed me and landed less than gracefully, but after a minute or two all four of us were hiking up past the falls to continue on the trail. It turns out a storm had shredded some trees along the path we were going to take, so we followed along the stream at the top of the waterfall for a bit, until it got pretty small. Then we turned around and headed back to the falls.

On our second pass through the falls, Kenny opted to jump from a lower but arguably more treacherous ledge, while the rest of us did the smaller jump, closer to the falls. We had to wait some time while a few scared people hesitated on the upper ledge. It wasn’t until we had the lower vantage point that we realized just how high the jump had been, so we were sympathetic to the people jumping.

When we had an opening, we jumped in and swam back across to the trail. After we’d dried off we descended and headed back down to the trailhead. The trip back was uneventful, though we saw several groups who didn’t look like they’d known what they were getting into — many wearing flip flops and one family looking like they’d come straight from church. If they made it all the way, at least it would be worth it, I guess.

2 thoughts on “Hiking Part 2

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