Saturday, April 11, 2009

Scramble Hills

"I got lost!"

We intended to see Laie Falls today, but for the first time in my three years of hiking, we actually got lost and missed out on the reward of an idyllic waterfall in the end. The waterfall must've been nice with heavy rains the night before. The sad thing is that we took the wrong turn 5 minutes into the trail. We kept on going and going for hours oblivious to the fact that we were on the wrong track. The hike was more challenging than expected. Our sources say that it would be a safe and easy hike. It didn't feel so as I found myself scrambling at some steep sections. It was then that I began to question whether we were on the right trail. The funny things is, we had the Stuart Ball book, an authoritative source for our navigation, and the route description written in the book closely matched the wrong trail we were in. It mentioned the lofty overlook back to Laie town, Cook pine trees, the grove of strawberry guava trees, and uluhe ferns in the same sequential order. The book also directed us to turn right as soon as we reached the uluhe ferns, and coincidently, at the first sight of uluhe ferns, there was a side trail leading steeply down to Kahawainui Stream. As we descended down the steep dirt trail, excitement grew with the increasing volume of rushing water. However, when we arrived at the bottom, there was no waterfall in sight. We decided to move forward hoping the waterfall was just a few yards away. But after several stream crossings, rock hopping, slips and dips, we began to entertain doubts and questioned, 'how much further?' After feeling some negative vibes among the company of hikers and the sight of the treacherous journey ahead, we decided to turn back with dismay. I didn't want to give up, I actually wanted to continue on the ridge and find the correct side trail, but time restricted us from doing so. With our heads down and our pride shaken, we headed back for the return trip.

It wasn't until we were in the car, as I was reading the Stuart book carefully, I discovered where we made the wrong turn. At the first fork after the Laie Falls trailhead, we bore right rather than left. The path on the right lead to an open dirt area, as mentioned in the book, and it eventually led to Scramble Hills trail. By its name, now I know why I was huffin' and puffin' earlier. The next time I do a trail, I will be more prepared and mindful, and never rely on the 'blind to lead the blind'.

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