Saturday, April 4, 2009
On the fourth of April, we aimed to set foot on the summit of Konahuanui, the highest point in the Ko'olau Mountain Range. The name "Konahuanui" roughly translates to "large testicles" in English. According to a Hawaiian legend, a giant threw his testicles at a woman fleeing from him.
The weather forecast warned us of rain, but this did not sway our determination to conquer Koolau's highest obstacle. We met knew friends, and good rapport and comraderie were quickly established. We started at Kalawahine trail which led us to Pauoa Flats. The first half was fairly easy and quick with its relative flatness. It was a good introduction to an assortment of native forest plants including some endangered native snails. We passed some ferns growing on the rock face along the trail. It was a sight reminiscent of the Fern Grotto in Maui.
After reaching the Nuuanu lookout, or the end of Pauoa Trail, we prepared ourselves for the real hike ahead. Our destination was blanketed by heavy clouds and I imagined a confucianist monk sitting at the top with answers to life's biggest questions. It was windy at some sections as we traversed along the steep mountain face. It rained momentarily and left a nice rainbow in the distance above Nuuanu Valley. The air was thin, wet, and cold; cold enough to take out my poncho in my backpack and wear it. There were eroded sections that required careful and sure footing. And steep sections that required nerves of steel. Luckily, ropes were available to aid us in the steep and slippery climb. Since it rained consistently the nights before, there were mud puddles as anticipated, and we later gave up trying to keep our shoes free from the mud. My confidence was re-tested after not hiking for some time. I hesitated with uncertainty and with the fear of slipping and falling. At a plateau high above, we were surprised to have reached the first of the two summits marked by a benchmark. The views were disappointing as it was thickly obstructed by the white clouds around us. But the idea of reaching the top, our destination, the highest point along the Ko'olaus, has made the journey worthwhile.
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