I have been hiking almost every weekend that I’ve been here and today was the first day that I wasn’t sure if I should try this particular hike. It is listed in the same difficulty category as previous hikes so I decided to do it. The plan was to hike a loop: Kahekili ridge trail to Pu’u Manamana. I wasn’t sure about doing the whole thing because the website described the transition from one ridge to the other as an overgrown trail. I was leery of trying to fight my way through it and figured I’d just do an out and back on the 1st trail.
However as you can see from the photo the 1st trail, the one in the middle distance, was a steep and narrow ridge. It had some very steep climbs. It was more hike than I was comfortable doing. I actually got on my hands and feet and monkey walked some of it. I didn’t really want to climb back down. So when I got to the end of the trail I decided to try to find the overgrown trail to the next ridge. The Manamana trail was described as being popular and well travelled so I hoped that I wouldn’t be alone and I would have a better trail for the descent. But on the overgrown section I lost the trail and was up so high on the ridge that I didn’t feel safe turning around. I decided just to get to the top and find the trail.
I have no pictures from this section because I couldn’t afford to let go. I was afraid for my life at points. And I prayed a lot. I discovered that I had reached a finger of the ridge, but not the main ridge itself. The finger had no trail but it was a ridge in itself and was very steep. I tried to stay on the ridge top to avoid sliding down the side. This required climbing around trees and through a dense undergrowth of ferns and vines which came up to my chest. Some trees actually fell over when I reached for them for support. Many branches, which I hoped might support me, fell off when tested. The thicket cut my legs and arms. I caught my feet and backpack on the vines many times. The brush also hid the drop off of the slope at times and my foot fell through twice. I caught myself with my hand hold on tree roots. I decided to make use of the trees that were rotten. I knocked over the tree and picked up the 4″ thick trunk to lay it over the thicket before me as a sort of bridge or tightrope. It flattened the brush to knee height and made walking on all fours more comfortable. I also used the trees to test what lay below the brush. I found a thick sturdy tree at one point where I took a rest. I tried to weigh my options, including calling my brother in a panic, calling 911, paying for an air rescue and sobbing. Instead I prayed again and decided I had to keep going. Shortly after this I came across a used bandaid in the brush and it gave me hope that some one else had survived this very climb. The brush began to thin out with a trail of dead undergrowth which made the trek easier.
I did finally come upon a trail, an actual trail! I fell onto my knees and gave thanks to Jesus. I made my way down the trail with shaky legs.
And that’s when I called my mom, it made me feel much better and closer to being finished. I think if I had called anyone earlier I wouldn’t have been able to hold myself together.
I didn’t take anymore pictures. It was a pretty view, but I couldn’t take a look. The wind was blowing and added to my anxiety about slipping. I continued to alternate between scooting down on my butt, walking and crawling on my hands and feet. I am so grateful to be lying in my bed right now, even with my arms and legs sore and skin burning with scratches. I am going to take a break from ridge hikes for a bit. And I am going to reinstate my “no leaving the trail” rule. If I did it over I would turn around and never try the overgrown trail.