Friday, May 21, 2010

The Mysterious Seven Falls

On my attempts to research the seven falls trail, i couldnt find anything about them on google; only sites that talk about the manoa falls trail and nothing more. After hearing about the falls from Kevin, i wanted to try this trail that's closed off because firemen have supposedly pulled too many bodies of dead hikers out. That's what kevin says.

My alarm rings at 4:45 Thursday morning and awake in a daze to see that Dewey's already up and getting ready. I stay in bed wanting those few more minutes to rest, and just before i fall back asleep Dewey turns the light on. Damn. Can't sleep any longer. It was a good thing he got me up, though, because i wouldn't wanna miss the hike we had planned for that day. Thursday, May 20, 2010 was the day we planned to hike the seven falls with Kevin, the entertaining guard from haiku stairs. Mitsuo was supposed to come along with us, but he didn't get up again, so we left him.

Still waking up, we drive up towards the treetops restaurant around 5:20 and park on the street before it. At 5:30 we meet up with Kevin and the three of us walk up into the treetops area and onto the Manoa Falls trail. Walking along the boring trail in dim light at 5 in the morning isn't fun, and that wasn't what we came for. What we did come for were the seven waterfalls waiting for us deep in the valley. Usually people only see the first waterfall when they do the Manoa Falls hike and we wanted to see all of them so we climbed around onto another trail to climb up the side of the mountain.

FIRST OF ALL, it's a really dangerous hike so unless you really wanna do it, don't try it. Kevin hiked the trail before, and he got to the 5th waterfall. For that hike, he started at 10 in the morning and got out when it was dark. A big part of the hike is just wandering your way around the side of the mountain to get to each waterfall. The falls are all dangerous to climb both with or without the right gear. Kevin let his firemen friends know about us doing the hike so that they would be ready if we needed rescuing. We let our friends know that we were doing the hike so they could call for help if we didn't return by a certain time. We packed MREs and lots of water in case we got stuck overnight. From what i hear about the trail, many people have died on it. Kevin said he even found a bloody shirt on the path and saw pants and shoes in certain areas as well. I'd have to say it's on the list of advanced hikes in Hawaiʻi.

Since it was muddy and wet all around, they went barefoot and i wore just socks. The socks turned out to be a good idea because it gave me more grip and protection against pebbles and twigs than going barefoot. Dewey and i brought gloves and rope and both came in handy as well. For about 2 hours in the beginning it poured on us and we were soaked until we got to the 5th fall. The hike up to the first fall isn't that bad going up, but pretty hard going down. It's a steep climb up and there's one part that you need to climb an overhanging rock. There are ropes there, but the ropes are probably gonna break soon so we put in more rope to help out anyone that comes up there. Then, there's a vertical mountain face that we climbed down to get to the second fall. Going back up that vertical is pretty scary because all there is to hold onto is rope and some tree roots that are sticking out on the mountain. The trek from the entrance to the Manoa Falls trail to the second fall only took us half an hour, but from there on, we were wandering in the forest on the side of the mountain to get to the third fall. We ended up climbing up and around the third and fourth falls and ended up at the 5th fall, where we took a break at around 9:45. Still soaking from the rain hours earlier, we had some food at the 5th fall and continued on. From the 5th fall and on is pretty easy and we got up to the seventh fall at around 10:45. We saw more falls so we climbed up those as far as we could. In all, we counted about 10 falls. It wasn't seven falls, it was ten, maybe even more, but i suppose that the other falls weren't counted because they were tributaries.

Our descent took about 3 hours and we just went back the way we came. It was a good thing we bought 2 rolls of bright ribbons to mark our paths. We used up about a roll and a half on the trail so anyone who goes on the trail will know the general path to take. Actually, i think the reason we used so much ribbon was because we left lots of ribbons at the 7th fall to show we got up there and because we dropped a long piece of ribbon down the first fall for the hell of it.

On our trip back, it hardly rained, only a drizzle for a couple of minutes, but it took a little longer than we expected because getting down certain parts was tricky. For lots of parts where it was easy to get up, we had a harder time getting down. The sun was shining pretty bright and the clouds were blocking it, so we had a nice view without the heat. There were many rocks and dead branches on the trail that would just crumble out of under you, and Dewey slid a good 15 feet when he grabbed onto a tree that decided to rip out of the ground. Good thing there were other trees around for him to grab onto. We also let loose a good size boulder. It was lodged between 2 trees and we got it out and watched it tumble down the mountain. We couldn't see where it went because of all of the trees and plants blocking the view, but we heard it plop into the pool of the 2nd fall. It was about the size of a basketball so it was probably about 200-300 pounds. On its way down, it took out a tall guava tree-it just knocked it down-and kept going. It was awesome.

We got down to the lookout at the first fall at about 2:30 and had many tourists staring at us because we were all muddy and barefoot.

It was a very fun hike and not so much hard. It was more scary than hard because of the many places that you could fall and hurt or kill yourself. I would do it again, as long as there are more people who would do it because this is a hike where you shouldn't go by yourself.

Kevin says that if you take a picture and show him the picture of our markers at the top, you can go up haiku stairs whenever he's working.

Until next time...

Here are some pictures:

Looking down from the first fall

The vertical section to get down to the 2nd fall

Kevin at the second fall

Kevin in the 2nd fall

Looking down from the 5th fall

My lens got fogged up and it made a cool effect

Food break at the 5th fall

a nice pic of the 5th fall

i forgot i had that pink tape on my head

The climb down to the 6th fall

Walking up the 6th fall

Looking back down the 6th fall

The 7th fall

Another fall to the left of the 7th

Our initials

Our marker

Our other marker