page 8: lost in maunawili

maunawili valley, oahu. february 2016

marcus and i got lost as fuck during our hike to maunawili falls during our oahu trip in february last year. but let me back it up a bit…

the day started at 2 am. we’d just taken a nap after staying out the night before, drinking at tiki’s with our friend abe, from cali, and his coworkers and bosses on one of their many work trips to oahu that year. stupid decision, considering we had our head set on hiking the stairway to heaven early the following day. 

making it onto the trailhead means going at some graveyard hour right before the guard gets to his post. the thing is, hiking the stairway to heaven (or haiku stairs) is illegal. it’s dangerous - lots of the stairs/ladders are rusted, decrepit, and unstable. yet like most things that aren’t accessible, the payoff can justify the risk. 

for my friends and i some years ago, getting onto the stairway to heaven hike meant getting to the trailhead at 1:30 am, so marcus and i shot for about the same time.

of course we woke up late at 1:15 am, tired, still drunk. we packed up our gear and while we were driving, it started pouring. we got to the residential area where the walk to the trailhead begins. it was pitch black dark, and i instantly felt this pit in my throat like going out into the darkness, abandoned dirt field, and bamboo forrest to get to the trailhead in the RAIN would be a terrible idea. we’d also be one of the only people out there, too, so if we got hurt, that probably wouldn’t be so great. scaling those rusted, wet and slippery ladders up a mountain could’ve been trouuuuble. we went back in the car, turned around, got to my house and went back to bed

the next morning, we were still kinda bummed stairway to heaven didn’t work out, so we did another hike instead. maunawili falls is a fairly popular trail. it’s short, 3 miles, in and out, and ends in a waterfall. because it had rained the night before, the dirt valley trails turned into ankle-deep mud puddles. i’ll never forget how much they looked like large bowls of curry. squish squish squish squish… 

what normally would’ve taken 45 minutes to get to the waterfall took us about an hour and a half. it was hard to see the trail for part of the hike, so about halfway through, after passing over a few streams and a couple fern fields, we got lost. the whole valley was lush, towering, kind of like a giant cocoon. i spotted this prime banana tree, all silky and glossy from the rain, and i had to take a shot. we found our way back on the trail eventually but the detour was right. more photos from this hike to come. 

shot on olympus stylus epic
maunawili valley, oahu, february 2016

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