If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen this picture. It’s on bucket lists everywhere. Haʻikū stairs, otherwise known as the ‘Stairway to heaven’ – a 3922 step vertical climb up the side of a mountain.  Sounds awesome, right? As soon as this trip was booked I began researching. Blogs, forums, hiking websites; I was there. I found out it was illegal as it involved trespassing on government land. Since 2013 a guard patrolled the bottom of the stairs issuing infringement notices of $300. Still not deterred. I knew the times the guard was posted and the times they changes shift.  But then two weeks ago it happened. A landslide. It took out the stairs in three places! I was devastated. I began researching alternative routes up to the WW2 radio tower at the top. Where this hike has stairs to the top, the alternative ridge lines only had ropes. Not heaps safe. My dream died. (Second photo: That’s the tower at the top of the ridge line on the right near the edge of the could. Epic!) On Saturday Laura and I did a tour to kayak out to Mokoliʻi, a conical shaped island fondly named ‘Chinaman’s Hat’. After some research in to the tour company, I suspected we may be the only ones on the tour. And right on cue a beat up red truck with only three kayaks on the trailer pulled into the beach park. The driver? Why of course, a 24 year old guy student, working in a food truck and doing tours on the side. Awesome! The tour was great and relaxed (bar a foot injury for Laura and a nice gash on my shin!). After mentioning we were keen for some hiking and finding out the Haiku stairs post-landslide now come with a $600 infringement notice and 30 days jail time, he started suggesting alternatives. Although he never strayed from his keen-ness and intention to go hiking tomorrow too. Fast forward a day and we found ourselves in Ka’a’awa waiting for our new friend Dave and his mate – Trey. The crouching lion or Pu’u Manamana was our chosen challenge.  The 6km track with 600m elevation almost immediately. “Pu’u Manamana is a popular but challenging ridge hike that tests your nerves and tolerance of dangerous situations. It is mostly known on the island as being “one of the most dangerous hikes on the island”. It is pretty intense but the views up there were some of the best on the island.” Source Forgetting island time and growing impatience for our 30-minute late hiking buddies, Laura and I set off as per the blogs instructed. “The trail head is between the ‘do not pass’ sign and the telegraph pole.” Sound legit? More legit then these legit trail markers. Signs? Pfft, no. Pink ribbon is how tracks are marked in Hawai’i. Under some trees, over a few others and we were off. Until Dave called within five minutes and we backtracked 100m of elevation and restarted the hike at a different track head – as questionable as the previous. And within a few minutes we had expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Not pictured: our 150+ BPM heart rates.  We were pretty thankful for Dave and Trey at this point after commandeering our backpacks, becoming our personal photographers and safety extraordinaires. By that, I mean, they assured us we’d be fine as we scaled over and around rocks with drops on either side…   Another ridge line, another rock climb. Almost at the top just in time for the cloud cover to be burning off! The various peaks we scaled up and over. The top! Woo! I couldn’t get over how awesome the mountains were. So green. So jagged. The ridge lines so narrow. Good thing there was little wind! The water, well, it’s just so clear! Once at the top we enjoyed the views and recorded some Snapchat vids for Dave and Trey’s mates. It seems young men are the same irrespective of the continent they live on. The walk back down was pretty cool with views of Kawa’a’wa and Kahana Bay. You can see almost up to Laie on the North Shore. See personal tour guide! Apparently another illegal hike is tucked in the Kahana Valley, ‘Sacred Falls.’ Trey was unlucky to get caught recently and issued with a court date and $300 infringement notice.  It seems an island full of mountains invites exploration! (Note: the extreme descent!) Can you see the crouching lion? Looks a little like Bella… Keen to get into some caves, Laura and Dave did some climbing. Spot Laura on the rocks just left of the breaking waves. Ignore the awkward perch. The rock was super spiky. It seems lycra provides no padding. Go figure. One of the best views of the walk. We went about a third of the way along the top ridge line before heading back.   A few standard mountain top photos. And yes, that is Laura jumping on a rock about 30cm diameter with 250m falls on both sides. Then down again! We made friends with the plants after a few slips and slides and then out through some long (!) grass and on to the main road around Oahu. And a final happy snap with our new friends Dave and Trey. It was so good hiking with people who knew the area and made the sketchy rock climbs seem a little less, ah, sketchy.   Mahalo! Care to share?Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister. Usually used a greeting, we never go past the first line (or if Google serves me right, apparently we’ve skipped the first and moved straight to the second). We don’t know the rest, nor do we really care. Sisters have weird things that they do. This is just one of them. Growing up with two sisters, one of the first questions people ask is about clothes and hair. Yes – it’s like one giant wardrobe and yes – we play with each other’s hair. And i’mnot even kidding. It was devastating when Jen moved out. We lost one whole third of our clothes. Now i can’t spread my wings (read: thrifty clothes stealing fingers) and solely rely on trendy Miss Laura. As for hair, let’s not even begin to talk about the amount of products and tools we have. And bobby pins, well we have totally solved the mystery as to where are all the bobby pins. They’re with us! Cars, handbags, carpet, bathroom, lounge room. (Still wondering how we’ve managed it? Buy a 200 pack and they’ll be everywhere. EVERYWHERE really!) The world is wonderful. Anyway, tonight this babe checked out for an engagement party and it couldn’t help but want to share the pic I snapped before she left. Here’s a few mental notes I made. 1. Killed the hair. Awesome team effort there. (She pre-curled it before I worked my magic. Yes, thank you, thank you. I’m pretty happy with it too. I have The Small Things‘s Kate to thank for that.) 2. She totally trusted me to do her eye make up (Well at least start it). The previous time I was a bit heavy handed and we ended up closer to drag queen. This time the only complaint was that it was a little light on and a tad uneven. I’d say alright for a girl trained 100% by Pinterest. “Laura, I am not a professional. Deal.” 3. She’s ridiculously skinny now. (So much so she hollered me into the bathroom this morning to check out the scales). She’s worked her butt off the past few months and now lords it over me that she can eat endless hamburgers, hot chips, finger buns and McDonald’s hotcakes. She’s proof you can still eat crap and be skinny. Secret? Gym membership. 4. Well she just looked really pretty and I wanted to share it!   Disclaimer: Before you start coming in with ‘Wow you’re such a great sister,’ don’t. We also had a massive fight today that was totally my fault. I haven’t really got to the whole “faithful, generous, loving, intelligent and cheeky woman” I was talking about a few days ago down pat yet. She’s picked me up plenty of times slightly intoxicated  happier than usual from parties or late from the train station. Tonight she asked me to drop her off at the party. I was free, but the party was 30 minutes away. Let’s summarise and say I wasn’t all that gracious. The guilt when her friend turned up at 6pm was enough for me to thoroughly regret my response. Consider this my public apology. I’ll try for a personal one tomorrow too. And maybe even a smoothie apology.