I have an awesome wife, too, but you already knew that.
They go to extraordinary lengths to make me happy. Not only do LW and our neighbor B across the street welcome me home from work on the front porch with wine and cheese or chips and salsa with some sort of fruity tropical drink, but they go on hikes through muddy rainforests with me. There's more to come later why my neighbors and LW are awesome, but first let me give you a run down on our Manoa Falls hike today.
Manoa Falls is on a lot of local tourist guides. It's not far from Waikiki, so it's probably the closest and easiest waterfall hike for people on vacation staying in Waikiki. I've heard about it many times since we arrived on the island, but today was the first time we've gone on this hike.
If there were two things that stuck in my mind from what I've heard over the past year about Manoa Falls, then they were:
1) Popular spot where tourists leave their rental cars in the parking lot = high crime area where locals break into the cars and steal any valuables you leave behind.
2) Muddy trails, don't go when it's raining or has recently rained
First, our minds were quickly set at ease about our car's security in the parking lot when we arrived and found this:
Nowhere in any of the guides I had read did it say anything about paying for parking. However, I was happy to pay the $5 in order to have a feeling of security that there is an attendant there watching over the cars. It was a fairly small parking lot (it'd probably hold about 20 to 25 cars), so the attendant can see all of the cars from his chair at the parking lot entrance.
Second, I was pleasantly surprised with the trail. These trails were nothing compared to the Waimano Valley hike we did back in January. Waimano Valley was really and truly MUD. The trail leading up to Manoa Falls is well defined, with a good amount of gravel and rocks, with steps and bridges made from metal and concrete.
I'm not saying we didn't get muddy...
I thought I had seen and learned the names of most of the flowers on the island. I was wrong.
This sure was beautiful, but I have no idea what it is.
Turns out, this is a BANANA! (See first comment)
Turns out, this is a BANANA! (See first comment)
There were a good assortment of other tropical flowers that we've seen elsewhere around the island, too. [Aside: You know you've lived in Hawaii when you can name the flowers on your aloha shirts.]
I'm not sure why this picture grabbed my attention. Maybe because we've been watching the Olympics so much lately. How about this for a new Olympic sport: Synchronized Hiking?
When we got to the end of the trail, this is what we found...
The big DANGER sign warned us about a landslide that had occurred there once before and dumped like 300 tons of rocks on that very spot.
My standard hike summary is at the bottom of this post.
Okay, so getting back to why I have awesome neighbors. As long as we were over on that side of the island, I was itching to go back to Azteca Mexican Restaurant for lunch (the best Mexican food on the island).
Unforunately, I was the only person who brought an extra pair of clean shoes to change into after we were done with the hike (and the boys luckily had flip-flops in the car they could wear). Everyone's shoes were pretty muddy.
However (comma), they didn't want to disappoint me and miss out on good Mexican food though, so do you know what they did??? We stopped at a gas station mini-mart and they bought some "ABC slippas" (as in flip-flops purchased at an ABC store for a buck).
MANOA FALLS HIKE SUMMARY: I know when I'm trying to decide on a new hike location, I search for an overview about the hike that will help me judge if it's doable with two little boys. For anyone else looking to do this hike, here's a quick summary:
Map: The attendant at the parking lot gave us a pamphlet with a trail map and some information about the hike. I scanned the handout and will include it at the bottom of this post.
Mileage: My GPS reception for most of the hike ranged somewhere between horrible and nonexistent (I couldn't get the geocache near the waterfall because my GPS couldn't get a fix to tell me where I was). The handout from the parking attendant says it was "0.8 miles" but I think that's one way. This website says it's 1.5 miles round trip, and I think that's about right.
Elevation Gain: Parking lot was around 500 feet, the top of the trail was about 850 feet, so total elevation gain was approximately 350 feet of elevation gain.
Terrain: Gravel and hard-pack dirt, man made metal steps. Popular gouge is that this trail is not recommended after it's been raining recently. There are a couple of moderate steep drop-offs along the side of the trail, so watch your children carefully.
Time: It took us a little under 2 hours, and we stopped to have snack time at the waterfall.
Facilities: There was a two-seater outhouse just past the gate at the trailhead. It was fairly dirty for (a) typical outhouse reasons, and (b) muddy people tramping in and out at the end of their hike. However, I give them a thumbs-up for having a hand-sanitizer dispenser in the outhouse. Normally, my boys would water a bush or two along the way, but not today because the trail was narrow and there was a good amount of traffic on the trail.