Monday, August 31, 2009

Manoa Falls

Last week's Intro to Hawai'i series threw off my posting schedule, but now I can start to catch up. I've got a couple posts on my recent activities in Honolulu planned (photos included), a discussion of recent movies I've seen, plus my routine entertainment news kind of post and a Saturday stroll down memory lane. Today: a post with photos from a recent hiking trip.


I live about a ten-minute drive from a tropical rainforest. Up Manoa Valley towards the central mountain ridge, where the clouds essentially all get stuck and make a lot of rain, lies a lush rainforest. I understand they've filmed some jungle scenes for Lost in that area (including The Orchid station exterior and the banyan tree that Ethan hanged Charlie from). And last week for the first time, I made the hike to Manoa Falls, buried deep (and by that I mean there's a mile and a half trail leading to it) in the tropical rainforest.

The first thing I noticed as we drove up the road to the trail head was that as we transitioned from residential area to forest, everything suddenly became HUGE. Compared to the trees that I see elsewhere on the islands, these were many times bigger. Also everything became much dimmer. It was sprinkling on and off throughout our hike, so the clouds made the sky gray, but also the thick canopy of the trees further dimmed the light.

The walk to the falls was muddy but beautiful. I was wearing my old sneakers I've had since high school, and actually neither of them made it out in one piece. Pieces of rubber on the bottom of them were suctioned off in the mud! I recognized the banyans and the multicolored trunks of the eucalyptus trees along the path, but mostly I had no idea what the plants were--the giant ferns, the twisted roots, the orange flowers. There were several extensive bamboo groves along the path; walking through these when the wind blew through them, knocking their tops against each other--thok, thok--was a pleasure.

We reached the waterfall quickly enough. It's not a particularly impressive waterfall, not too high, and not too full at least when we saw it. There are also warning signs about falling rocks and how if you go into the pool at the bottom you'll be in danger, so stay behind the rope, etc. We saw a trail continuing up, and wondered if it perhaps led to somewhere at the top of the falls, or somewhere else that had a view. It turned out to more than double the length of our hike, but it was worth it. When we finally came out of the thick forest into the light, we were on a windy ridge overlooking the next valley. On the way back down, we took a dip in the pool at the bottom of the falls. We had started our hike early, so on the way up we had encountered only two other parties, but at this point the tourists were pouring in. There were a dozen or so people standing looking at the falls when we went swimming, but no one else joined us. They were probably just wishing we'd get out of the way of their photos. The water was cold and refreshing, and it was a good conclusion to our hike.

Speaking of photos, almost all of the photos I took on this hike sucked. I've complained about my camera screen not working before, and I know I should just shut up and buy myself a new camera. But anyway, as I said it was surprisingly dark in the rainforest, and all of my pictures taken beneath the shade of the canopy were blurry, and I couldn't tell nor could I have adjusted the settings anyway because I couldn't see the screen. Alas. I got a couple reasonable shots of Manoa Falls, plus some clear pictures out in the light at the lookout points.

Here's the bottom of Manoa Falls so you can see that there is indeed a waterfall and a pool that we could swim in. I'd say this is shows about half the height of the waterfall.


Somewhere along the path above the falls, as we zigged and zagged back and forth through bamboo groves, banyan groves, and other vegetation, there was a parting in the trees where we could look over the rainforest of Manoa Valley.


When we reached the top of the ridge, we could see all along the next valley, over Pali highway (Bonus: who knows what "pali" means?). You may have noticed I'm kind of addicted to making panoramics right now. If I had taken a step forward when taking this photo, it would show water all the way to the left and right; that is, if I had set up the shot better, you could have seen one whole cut across the island (though not at its widest transect, of course).


It was a nice hike, and given its convenience to my house I will probably be making it again. Hopefully with a better camera. And better shoes.

14 comments:

Hezabelle said...

Gorgeous!!!

Sebastian said...

*mumbles something about people with rainforests and vistas like that in their back garden*

(And no, not jealous. Nuh uh!)

Eleni said...

Hez - I'm glad we "discovered" this hike. We crossed paths with someone who said he'd hiked to the waterfall many times over the years, but it was his first time going up to the ridge for the view. My parents are mailing me my hiking boots, so hopefully next time I go back I won't have chunks of rubber coming off my feet in the mud.

Seb - Well stop mumbling and start planning! (You can come too, Hez, you just weren't the one mumbling :)


Pointing it out kind of ruins it, and it's already pretty cheap but... Anyone notice the "Easter egg"? It's a very small glimpse, but considering how I run my blog, that's as much as you're gonna see...

Andhari said...

Gorgeous! I really do get the Lost Vibe from the pictures, especially the onw with the silhouette of the island. :) So lush.

Sebastian said...

IS THAT YOU STANDING BY THE WATERFALL?!

Eleni said...

Andhari - I found some website where they give directions to various places where they've shot scenes in Lost. Maybe I'll have to go check some of them out.

Seb - No, not me...

Eleni said...

Eh, I nerfed the resolution when I posted the photo, but that's totally a guy by the waterfall. It's the Housemate.

Sebastian said...

Did you just reply to yourself? :P

Eleni said...

It was a second reply to you. Feel flattered.

Sebastian said...

I was trolling you, sweetie pie.

Remember... British... irony... I THOUGHT THE CAPS WERE A GIVE AWAY.

(Feel very flattered.)

Eleni said...

Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don't get that here.
[Too obscure?]

We need another irony indicator. Caps look like yelling, and how am I to guess what a Brit might be yelling about?

Sebastian said...

Too obscure for me, but not for GOOGLE!

http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?IronyWarning -- quite a fun read :)

I can do italics AND caps if you like.

Eleni said...

Good old Google (I made sure to put in the right number of oh's, no's, and ho's so it would be readily Googleable).

Caps or whatever are fine. Really, I suspected irony, which is why I delayed the second response an entire day before giving in like a loser for the sake of clarification--clarification which, by the way, was directed as much towards others as towards you.

Sebastian said...

You are too kind to your other non-British readers... really, too kind.

(He looks cute, all 20 pixels of him. Like a beach bum.)