Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A life less ordinary

So I randomly realized today that I don't need to be in a  relationship at this point in my life. That I'm really okay being alone, despite the occasional and for some periods of frequent despair I may feel about being alone. It was completely random and I was simply cleaning something in the office when I came to the thought. It's odd though... looking back... there was no internal dialogue that would lead up to it. Rather than a thought process, it was a feeling. It struck me, left it's imprint, and left. Now as I dissect I wonder if i have some type of chemical imbalance that creates random synapses in my brain to fire at times. Then again that randomness is natural in everyone...

So of relationships... my roommate and girlfriend got in another fight. It seems more than fifty percent of the time I see them together, they are fighting. Today, I heard them fighting as I approached my door. Soon after she stormed out and looked pretty upset or pissed. The other day, I get home and she had just cried a lot. There were tissues on the coffee table and even more in the garbage. I just think... what could they possibly fight about. Is it that important that they can't talk and work things out? And if they both feel that they can't or don't want to compromise, then why continue? The simple answer seems to be that neither want to be alone. Maybe I only notice cause of my fixation on being alone and in general, that which I don't have. Maybe I can help people realize what they have in a relationship. Though it seems counter-intuitive for a person with little relationship experience to give advice of that nature, it makes sense that those need a different perspective to move forward.... which brings me to a new point... what new perspective do I need to move forward? My fight is a bit different though. I don't seek a relationship per se but rather some thing to bring a similar type of fulfillment that people often find in relationships.. Something to stabilize myself... something that will continually give me another opinion... something constantly changing and growing yet consistent in another dimension... I suppose when I put it like that... another person would be the easiest way to satisfy that.

Perhaps travel... i was thinking today of my future options (short term). I hiked with this random guy, Ramos, on Laie Trail yesterday. He told me about his hikes and backpacking adventures on the big island. So today I began the search for a viable way for me to live on Big Island. Maybe another island... Maui has plenty of waterfalls to search for... maybe that will be a goal... scour the earth for waterfalls. I do need a more functional career if I am going to be all over the world. A trade or skill that is useful to any culture. I need to get past the fact that I need a well paying job and this pressure implemented by myself that I need to finish a formal education in some type of specialized field like accounting or engineering. My past only shows that those paths have not worked. Not to say that they won't in the future but it doesn't make sense for me. Becoming a pilot sounds intriguing but I question if my intent is just another childhood fantasy (though flying a plane was never one in the past). It would help me scout if I were really going to hunt for waterfalls. Then again it would also be useful to have a lot of wilderness survival techniques. Maybe I watch too much Man vs. Wild.

Wow just did some brief research on helicopter piloting. Unfortunately, training via the Coast Guard is pretty much out. By the time I finish the education requirements, I will not be able to satisfy the age requirements. Plus it's an 11 year obligation after that. Have to go to a private school. Let's play with this though for awhile, I know I can do it. It's just a question if I want to. Actually, it's a question if I can commit to it or if I'll be gazing out of a helicopter and decide to take up hang gliding or something.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Laie Falls Trail

Trails: Laie Falls Trail
Distance: 8 miles round trip to Laie Falls and back
Elevation Gain: about 1400 ft
Hiking time: about 4 hours
Area: Laie around the Mormon Temple
Trailhead: Laie Park
Trailhead Coordinates: Laie Falls Entrance N21 38.997 W157 55.939
Sights: Laie Falls
Directions via bus: Take the 55 from Ala Moana Center to Laie, past the Polynesian Cultural Center, past about 4 streets. Enter the North side of Naniloa Loop and make a right onto Poohalli St. It takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Directions via car: Take H1 to Likeke or Pali Highway northward. Take Kamehameha Highway up the windward coast. Follow it all the way up, past the Polynesian Cultural Center. Enter the North side of Naniloa Loop and make a right onto Poohalli St. Alternatively you can take Naniloa Loop and pass the Mormon Temple on the left and at the circle, go around and go onto Poohalli St. Park at Laie Park. Follow the road up. It's about an hour drive.
Recommendations for hike: Sunscreen, bug repellent, plenty of water. Though manageable in my walking shoes, hiking boots are highly recommended.
Trail Conditions:A bit muddy at parts especially near the falls. Narrow paths but no real danger. Not very steep.

Round trip profile

So today I set out on another waterfall hike. This one is on the windward side close to the Northern most point. It's quite a trip to get out there. It's in the small town of Laie which is populated with a lot of Mormons since Bringham Young University is right there.

Getting to the trailhead can be a little confusing. You do need to obtain permission to access the trail though but no one really checks when your up there. After parking, head up towards where it says no trespassing. Follow the road up and it'll curve to the left. You'll see a distinct piece of property with all these warnings (see pics below). To the left of that is another side road. That's the one you want. From there, you'll see signs to the trail head.

So I met this guy there and we just hike together. This trail is pretty straightforward and relatively easy. The hike is an even slow climb. It's not steep and it's not very dangerous.We were able to hold conversation most of the hike so it's not to difficult. It's just a bit long, about 4 miles to the falls. The trail actually extends a couple of more miles to a summit but I started at 1:30 pm and after taking a quick dip in the pool, there wasn't much time left.
The waterfall was trickling when I went. Not too impressive. The falls was at max 20 ft high. The pool is deep enough to swim in and the deepest part was about 8-9 ft Not bad. Water wasn't too clear. It just wasn't flowing enough.

Some interesting signs. Either a crazy veteran or crazy local. Who knows. Apparently they don't want to be disturbed.
Some more signs. I didn't get a picture of it but another said that if you are shot and wounded you would be shot and killed.

 Some of the views along the trail

Looking back

Most of the trail is like this. A narrow path along guava tress.

Laie Falls

This is looking down from the same spot where the above picture of the waterfall was taken. It leads down to another small pool and goes a little further.


Might try Sacred Falls next. It's gonna be another 2 weeks though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mt Olympus from East Manoa and ending in St. Louis Heights


I'm headed to one of those peaks!
Trails: Kolowalu Trail to Waahila Trail to Mt. Olympus
Distance: Depends on route. See variations below.
2.5 miles one way - Manoa Valley to Mt. Olympus summit.
2.8 miles one way - Waahila Ridge State Rec. Area to Mt. Olympus Summit

5.3 miles - Manoa Valley to Mt Olympus to Waahila Ridge State Rec. Area

Elevation Gain: 
about 2100 ft from Manoa valley
about 1400 ft from St. Louis Heights (Waahila Ridge State Rec Area)
Hiking time: about 4 hours and 15 mins (Manoa to Mt. Olympus to St. Louis)
Area: Manoa Valley, Waahile Ridge, Palolo Valley
Trailhead: From Manoa Valley, corner of Woodlawn Dr. & Alani Dr (these 2 roads intersect at 2 points, it's the one with the higher elevation and more North.
From St. Louis Heights, Waahila Ridge State Recreation Area.
Trailhead Coordinates: 
Manoa Valley Entrance: N21 19.253 W157 47.926
St Louis Heights Entrance (Waahila Ridge State Recreation Area) : N21 18.430 W157 47.835
Sights: EVERYTHING!! Well you have beautiful views of Manoa Valley, Palolo Valley, Diamond Head, Honolulu, Koko Head in the distance. From the summit you can view the windward side, Kaneohe, Kailua, Waimanalo!
Directions via bus:
To the Manoa side. Take the 6 from Ala Moana and ask the driver to drop you off at the closest stop at the intersection of Alani and Woodlawn. You'll see a side road at the corner. You'll see the above sign.
Directions via car: Take East Monoa road and follow it all the way up. It will become Alani Dr. Then it will intersect with Woodlawn Dr. Park around there. You'll see the above sign.
Recommendations for hike: Sunscreen, bug repellent, plenty of water. Though manageable in my walking shoes, hiking boots are highly recommended.
Trail Conditions: Muddy at the top. Steep. Narrow trails. Prepared to get extremely dirty!!! Not for the feint of heart.

The yellow trail is access from Manoa Valley. It joins with the more common route from Waahila Ridge Recreation Area. 

This is my entire hike, Manoa to the Summit and to St. Louis Heights area.
Wow! This is one intense and amazing hike! I've never climbed this much in a single hike before. I'm really glad I was able to do it. If I had researched the elevation via this route before hand I might have opted out. It's grueling and tough and seems to never end. It's a bit scary at points knowing that you're that high, especially when the trail is narrow and muddy.
Well the first part, Kolowalu Trail, was intense. It's a straight climb through the forest. It's 1.1 miles. I was off to a steady pace surprisingly and it took a bit under an hour to hit the junction that leads up to Mt. Olympus summit. I guess last week's Koko Crater stairs helped prepare me. 
The hike to the summit is amazing. It follows the ridge lines. The trail is easy to recognize. There are moments where you need to climb over rocks or down them. It's a bit narrow and steep. The higher you go the muddier the trail gets. Some of the steeper parts, you'll be on 3 points. Just make sure you're stable before making your next move. You'll come across a couple of different summits. Of course the final one is the best and totally worth the climb!
Make sure you enough energy on the way down. It wasn't as bad as I had thought. Often I was sliding down on my ass (on purpose) or crab walking down. Along the way down, you'll still do a bit of climbing as it follows the ridge line. The lower part of the Waahila Ridge has some intense climbs on the way back. 

This is the first junction you'll reach starting from Manoa Valley. Get ready for a climb.
The first half of Kolowalu Trail is through terrain like this. It's full of fallen strawberry guavas and mosquitoes.

This is the junction where Waahila Ridge Trail and Kolowalu Trail meet. The first sign on the left leads up the ridge to the summit. The right just shows how steep it is.
Still more to go. At every ridge top, you'll see another! Just when you thought you were done. The right shows some of the more interesting terrain.

Keep going!

Still about 40 mins before you reach the summit.

See those people up there!
This is one of the trickier parts. It's steep and muddy and narrow.

Looking back. Not from the final summit though.
From the summit: The ridge line I came from.
From the summit: Some crater. I think its Kaau Crater. I have to explore it later.
From the summit: Manoa Valley
Various views from the summit. This last panoramic looks over the windward side. Amazing view.
On another note, close to the summit, there was a hiker with a sprained ankle and his friend. Though it wasn't a serious injury there was no way he would be able to hike down on it. They were calling the local rescue for an airlift out of there. There wasn't any place to land though so I was curious how they were going to do it. I gave them the GPS coordinates to let the rescue know. This thing is handy! Totally worth the purchase.
I was about 20 minutes away and figured I'd catch them on the way back. At the summit I heard a helicopter come up. That's pretty good response time! I started heading back and grabbed some photos and a movie of them airlifting them out. I wasn't at the actual site of where they were rescued from but still it was amazing to watch. The helicopter didn't land. 
After first scouting there location, they headed back (I guess to pick up some equipment). Actually that hovered over me for a bit and I directed them to where the hiker was. Glad to have helped! Soon after they came back and dropped some sort of rescue basket out. I'm not sure if someone was in the basket on the way down. The helicopter circled for a bit while they secured the hiker (didn't have a line of sight to see that part). Soon after, the helicopter returned and they hooked the basket and flew off. The hiker was dangling from a line from the helicopter (I'd imagine 20 - 30 ft below the chopper) as they flew back.
I was impressed.
Before I post the video, I want to contact the local news channel and see if I can make some money off of it. Why not? Otherwise I'll give it to them and have them mention the website or something.

An amazing sky! Picture taken from St. Louis Heights residential area. It's good to be in Hawaii!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Muanawili Trail (Pali to Waimanalo)

See that ridge on the left. I'm headed along this whole range towards there.
Trails: Muanawili Trail
Distance: 9.3 miles (according to the sign); 8.9 miles according to my data; 10.2 miles from the Pali Hwy lookout to the closest bus stop in Waimanalo

Elevation Gain: about 500 ft
Hiking time: a little under 4 hours at a fast pace
Area: Kailua, Pali Hwy
Trailhead: Pali Lookout - north bound towards Kailua along hairpin turn. Same as Likeke hike
Trailhead Coordinates: N21 21.867 W157 46.826
Sights: Kaneohe Bay in the distance, Waimanalo
Directions via bus: Take 56 or 57 from Ala Moana. Take the first stop after the haripin turn, which will bring you to the intersection of the Pali and Kamehameha Highway. Walk back along the Pali to the first Pali on the North bound side.
Directions via car: Take the Pali north, along the hairpin turn, park at the lookout.
Recommendations for hike: Some light sunscreen, sneakers or boots, bug spray. Some raingear depending on forecast
Trail Conditions: Muddy along a foothill

The yellow is Maunawili Trail. The gray afterwards is the walk to the closest bus stop in Waimanalo.

This is only the yellow portion marked in the map above.

So today I set to go from the Pali to Waimanalo via the Maunawili Trail. This is the same starting point as my Likeke hike. The terrain is easy but it's a long trail. It just tested my patience. There aren't too many sights and I wouldn't really recommend it unless you are just trying to complete as many different hikes as you can. There really isn't much to see. The entire hike follows the range and it hugs the mountain at a relatively low altitude. You'll find multiple oppurtunites to catch a nice view of Kaneohe. It reminded me of the Likeke hike. It constantly goes into a gulch and climbs out.
Along the trail you will frequent the scent of strawberry guaves which was a nice surprise here and there. The trail is clearly marked but there are sections where it is overgrown with plants. Sometimes it was difficult to see the ground but it didn't pose a problem.
Enjoy the pics!

Soon after you start, you'll see this sign with some stairs to the right of it. The stairs will bring you to the Likeke Trail. Stay left.
Soon after you'll come across this.
Some strawberry guaves along the way. Hungry?

A couple of miles in you'll see this sign that leads down to Maunawili Falls. I'll be back to access the falls via this route.
Not quite sure what this is. Just noticed it from one of the open spots along the trail.
Kaneohe in the distance

Some interesting clouds

The look back. Amazing how the weather changes so quickly.

Where's the trail? It's easier to see when you're on it.

One of the few interesting things I saw along the trail. There was a small section with these. Only saw 4 or 5 flowers.

About 7 miles in, I approached this along the path. At first I thought I'd have to turn back. I was able to climb over.

Which way? You'll come across this about 7 - 8 miles in.  I took the middle path. I'll be back to take the rope up the ridge at a later time. 
Almost there. View of Waimanalo.