Awa’awapuhi Ridge

June 3, 2016.

6.6 mi | 1600′ ele. gain | 4:15 hr.

Today we headed back to Koke’e State Park to check out another viewpoint hike. The weather was crap and the trail was muddy right at the trailhead. I was so done with this wet weather. We could have stayed home for rain.

We packed up our rain gear and set off on the hike. When I wasn’t busy whining about the damp and mud, I paused to appreciate the diversity of native plant life here. The forest was alive with a wide spectrum of colors, textures, shapes and sizes.

There was the ever-present and always delightful ‘Ohi’a lehua, which reminded me of rambutan. Beyond that I couldn’t tell, there was so much to learn about the plants growing here. I came across some familiar-looking plant life that greatly resembled paintbrush and thimbleberry, both common in Oregon. Were they related? I couldn’t be sure. It would be interesting to take a walk with a botanist today. My favorite plant was the one that had little lantern-shaped pods drooping from thin stalks.

As we approached the end of the trail, the trees gave way to meadows and suddenly we found ourselves at a railing. “Warning: Hazardous cliff!” it exclaimed. And I’m glad it did, since we couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of us. We were enveloped in a cloud of fog.

Ugh, so this is how it was going to be. A soggy mud hike to a viewpoint with no view. I was a little grumpy. We sat down and ate some food, hoping the cloud would lift momentarily. It never did, but we were entertained by a forest rooster and a red-crested cardinal (which is actually a tanager, not a cardinal). They were jovial enough and provided us something to look at instead of the dramatic ocean views we were hoping for.

We walked back in the rain, debating whether it was better to wear rain jackets or not: keep the outside rain off and drip from the inside? Or let our sweat evaporate and get replaced by rain? It was a fierce debate.

By the time we got back I was pretty ready to be done. Just one more day until our Hawaii vacation would come to a close…

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