August 3, 2015

Manoa Falls

One of the things I really wanted to do while I was in Hawaii (and one of the only things I asked Caitlin to make plans for) was to hike up Manoa Falls. I had read a lot about it online during the weeks following up to my trip -- I scoured the Internet for cool things to do around the island and was completely set upon hearing that Manoa Falls played backdrop to Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park! Dinosaurs! Yes! I was in. I knew I'd love it.

We tried to go a few times, but Manoa seems to be a mystical place where it rains more than it shines. The first time we attempted a trip, Caitlin and I geared up for a hike and went to breakfast. When we got out, the entire area was pouring rain. We drove a couple of miles through torrential rain before realizing that it wasn't going to let up, and there was no way we'd be able to go that day.

Keeping our eyes on the weather for the rest of the week, we made other plans and set aside this hike for the weekend. Thankfully, after a week of odd showers here and there, we were able to finally set off for the waterfall.

Needless to say, the hike is extremely muddy and unpleasantly humid. The air feels thick against your skin, weighed down by the heat of summer. I broke a sweat just getting out of the car! We treaded carefully, making sure to avoid puddles and slips at all costs.

It's easy to forget the very few negatives about this hike, though. As soon as you walk through the entrance, you're throttled into what looks like another world. Massive trees surround you and it goes as far as the eye can see.

When you look up, it almost seems unreal. Thickets of branches and leaves hover over you with bright blue sky peeping in between. While some parts seem wide open, there are a few areas where you feel like you could get lost if you stepped off the path.

The variety of plant life was crazy though! The trail is dotted with different types of flowers and trees, including what seemed to be a bamboo forest.

After sweating half of my body weight, we finally made it to the falls. The sounds of people laughing and the water crashing down were signs of hope as we reached the end. When the falls finally came into sight, Caitlin and I staggered forward, happy to have finally made it.

Though there's a rope telling you not to enter, it seems a bit silly not to duck under and make your way to the water. Everyone goes, and it's refreshing to sit by the water, even if you're not inclined to go in. We set ourselves up on a couple of rocks and ate sandwiches that we bought pre-hike.

When we couldn't take it anymore, we peeled off our sweaty clothes and laid them out to dry before taking a dip. The water was frigid at first, but I couldn't wait to get up close to the waterfall. I hadn't seen a full-fledged fall in a long time! I waded over, slipping on rocks in the process, letting the cool water beat down on my back.

It was refreshing and much needed. It gave us all the energy we needed to make our way back.

This is how muddy the trail is! It gets progressively worse as you get closer to the falls, mostly because those parts of the trail don't see as much light and are dirt, unlike the first part of the trail which was mostly rock and in the open.

It can get slippery and dangerous, but be careful! And don't forget to take shoes. We saw a ton of people in sandals and/or white pants, and we cringed every time we passed them, knowing what they had to look forward to.

Manoa Falls was everything I thought it was going to be. It's totally worth checking out if you're in Oahu, though from what I've been told, there are bigger and better falls with larger pools to swim in if you know where to go. There are a few that I'm eager to check out next time I find myself in Hawaii, but for now, I'm pretty pleased with this one.

The hike itself isn't too strenuous -- the humidity killed us more than anything (can you tell how fogged up my camera was in the beginning?). It's more of something that's fun and easy for everyone. And if you don't have any open wounds or are feeling lucky (we had cuts from the tide pools earlier that day), you can suit up and take a dip!

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