From Hawaiian Bu
Today 2-BU Pa'ina joined the YMCA Club Mid kiddies for a hike to Maunawili Falls. As most knowledgeable hikers of Oahu are aware, Maunawili is probably the second most visited waterfall on Oahu after Manoa Falls. Due to the unfortunate commercialization of some of our island trails, the experienced eye can see how the hunt for presidential green can lead some people to alter and mold nature towards their own means. To this day, I can still remember the first time I ever went to Maunawili Falls as a youngster. My family had taken me and some of the older kids to share their mana'o about this precious resource and the need to ensure that it remained intact for future generations. I remember feeling like I was "let in" on the secret, and that I was to hold it in for only those people that were trustworthy.
Progressively through the years, I had visited this wonderful Windward treasure, and each time I arrived, I felt...sadder. Each time the route to take to get to the falls had changed. But today, I felt like I didn't even recognize the hike. The kiddies were of course all excited and jazzed about going to a waterfall and being able to jump from the various ledges into the pool. Chinese BU had lifeguard duty today (YMCA Protocol) and brought along the necessary equipment to secure the kids safety.
We parked in the neighborhood and the first thing you notice is the cars parked on the road: LOTS of them. Remember now, this is a Tuesday Morning that we are doing this hike. A couple we passed heading for the trailhead informed us that there were a lot of people at the falls. As we made our way along the trail, I just didn't recognize the trail like I used to. I have done Maunawili many times, but not in about two years. The trail seemed wider, like it had been deliberately cleared . The stream looked polluted, especially when the kids were searching for crayfish and they found candy wrappers lying there in the water. Of course, someone had placed slats on inclines so that it was easier to climb. (We got to make sure that ALL people get to the waterfall). And when we arrived at the falls, no joke, at least 20 to 30 people there of all types and backgrounds.
Bless the Club Mid kiddies because they thought that this hike was the greatest thing in the world. I didn't have the heart to tell them that this was not what I had remembered when I was their age. I guess what you don't know won't hurt you. And likewise, what is not shared with you, you have no influence over it. Inside, I cry for Maunawili Falls. But I understand that people will continue to share the wonderful things about Maunawili: the deep pool, the great view of Olomana from the ridge, the running stream where I learned about 'O'opu, Konahuanui in the clouds. I just hope those same people will also share the responsibility of caring and nurturing Mother Nature like I was taught. I'm not a big nature conservationist: I'm just a local boy who's saddening by the changes that we have inflicted on our resources and just hopes that other people join in to preserve what can be preserved. I'm sure Chinese BU agrees with me- we want ALL our kids to be able to enjoy and protect these wonderful gifts that we have been given. Take the time to teach them properly. I know 2-BU Pa'ina will.
Coming up next: Hopefully a report about Stairway!