Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Puu Manamana II

I woke up to the sound of pitter-patter. Great...rain. As I looked out the kitchen window I could see nothing but white. I contemplated texting the crew but it was 6:30 am. As I debated whether or not waking them, to my surprise Beimes texted me, It’s raining at my house. Not a shocker, it’s always raining at “the second wettest place on earth.” Since Beimes was up I figured Justin was, too. The weather’s not bad in Lanikai, he responded. So I went to look out the balcony window and sure enough blue skies were headed towards Kaneohe. If the weather looks good at 8:00, were on, I texted the two of them.
Eight o’clock rolled around and the weather was pretty awesome. It was hard to believe that just an hour ago even the base of the Koolau Mountains was shrouded with clouds. We got ready, drove to Kahana Valley, parked along the highway, and began our adventure. At about 9:15 we turned at the trailhead marked by telephone post 79 and headed to the Crouching Lion. I don’t know why but today I was extremely tired. The hike from the base was exhausting. I dragged myself up, and couldn’t wait for the rock climbing to begin, quite the opposite from the last time. As we took pictures we could see rain coming. What a spectacle it was to watch the cloud approach and feel the wind shift. We waited patiently for it to past and as it lightened began the ascent on the infamous ridge. From what I remembered of Puu Manamana it was unbelievably terrifying. I waited for the hike to get steeper and crazier but as I climbed each rock face I realized it wasn’t nearly as scary. Puu Manamana got nothing on Anamolo.  It was, however, a lot of fun and definitely thrilling!
We reached the “Safer Bypass” and sheer ridge without much thought, and began the second phase of the hike navigating through the trees, mud, and fern. “Is this the mud you’re talking about?” Beimes asked. “You won’t have to ask when you see it,” I responded. Sure enough there was a lot of mud! The ferns were no joke too, and how irritating it was to have the head high uluhe scratching my arms and neck. A few ferns even got stuck in my hair, and Beimes was kind enough to let me walk around with them! 
After an hour of misery, we finally began the grueling descent. The path was slippery and felt exceptionally long. This time I found it to be rather annoying, and have no idea why I thought it was so much fun the first time around. I couldn't wait to get off the mountain. It would take another hour before we'd walk on flat ground, a total of five hours and fifteen minutes to complete Puu Manamana. 
I really doubt I’ll be doing the hike again. For sure, I'll be back to trek Puu O Mahie Ridge. The rock climbing and sheer drops are exhilarating and riveting like nothing else, but then I'm turning around. Forget the mud and ferns! The rest of the hike is just too taxing.

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