Monday, September 20, 2010

Mariner's Ridge to Tom-Tom

From Hawaiian BU

I guess I feel like updating this blog, with the second entry of the day. We're going with one of my new favorite combos to do, climb up Mariner's (Kaluanui) Ridge in Hawaii Kai, hike along the the Koolau summit, then descend down the Tom-Tom Trail. I first came up with this idea trying to plan some hikes this past summer for the Teens in our STRIVE program at the YMCA. I was looking for something epic, something challenging for their age level, and then some place to swim after the hike, all within a 6 hour time range. My normal thing to plan would be a waterfall hike, but I wanted something that takes the breath away. When I realized that I could go to a beach close by, it opened many possibilities. And when I figured out that we could get dropped off in one place, and picked up in another, well that made all types of things possible. And this was the first thing that came to mind: A good ascent to a picturesque viewpoint overlooking Waimanalo and the whole windward expanse, then a cool crawl along the Koolau ridge, with the final descent down into Waimanalo town for some Keneke's and the beach!

Mariner's Ridge is probably one of the easiest ways to get to the Koolau summit, and a very well-used trail by locals. It's a great test for high school students to get to the top, yet allows for more challenges after a short break at the top. The one thing I was initially sketchy about was the path from the top of Mariner's to Tom-Tom. When Mitch and I initially did the hike to "check", it seemed that the path, although not heavily used, was clear enough to take the STRIVErs. We just needed to ensure that they remained focused.

When we took the Teens on the hike, there was some great excitement, mostly because they knew they were going to a beach afterwards. Mitch and I did a great job breaking up the hike into fun portions that allowed the Teens to rest as well as reflect on the things we shared with them. We also have the Teens write in a journal during their hikes, and it allows for some profound thoughts that they sometime share with us. Plus the scenery they encountered up on top the mountain really brings them to a great state of mind.

I guess I need to write more about the hikes we did with the Teens. Chinese BU works with Middle school kids, and he has some adventures as well this past summer. I've always said that the big thing I like about hiking is the people that go with you to the places that you discover. Their experiences provide for a more enriching journey. I have now done this route three times since that first time with those Teens. And each time I've done it, everyone that has traveled with me talks about how positive the experience is, even though there are some pretty challenging parts along the way (especially going down Tom-Tom).

For those of you that hike all the time, I know that it may be old hat to hike these trails. But for me, taking people that have never gone to these places is really exciting. And for those of you considering doing this, make sure you got a ride at both sides of the mountain. It would suck having to climb back up Tom-Tom, that's for sure! Unless you're hard core and want to go up Kaupo Cliffs (Chinese BU went up there today with some internet hiking legends and came back down Tom-Tom. Talk about some knowledge, that group he hiked with keeps their blogs up way more than we do, so hopefully we can all read about that adventure.)

Ok, enough for tonight. See all of you on the next hike!

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