Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love for Manoa

From Hawaiian BU

Taken from the book "Place Names of Hawaii"

Manoa. Lit. vast.

Manoa has been a part of my life since I was a young boy. I learned baseball on it's fields. I got in trouble with neighborhood kids, doing stupid things like marking off "our turf", and acting like we ran the place. I made out for the first time with a girl there. My family shopped all the time at Longs. And, my family would take me into Manoa and show me it's natural beauty through the various hikes located within. At the time, I didn't really care about those details. But now, well, things have changed, as have I.

I really believe that it is part of my process that I had to go through, to get to the point I'm at now. The secrets that escape us do so for very specific purposes, and when the time comes for you to uncover them, it feels like you have earned the right to discover these treasures. It's with these thoughts that I present this writing for those willing to read it.

If you have read our blog before, you know that both Chinese BU and myself are enamored with finding waterfalls on this island, and we spend large amounts of time trying to find them and enjoy them. We started out as most hikers do, travelling the most common trails that can be found in tourists magazines and websites. We then graduated to Stuart Ball's incredible hiking book, and the various online resources from people that had come before. It was during this phase that I began asking my family for help, and a whole new avenue for information became available.

My family is FILLED with hikers. Grandma has countless photos of herself in front of all types of Hawaiian historical places, some I have come to discover were VERY difficult to get to. My Aunty was the main trailblazer, continuously finding places all around Oahu and sharing her adventures with us. My Mom and Stepfather had all the Robert Smith hiking books from each island, and you can still see some of the notations they used in the books. Our Family home has literary resources, including maps, stories, personal collections, many of them not in publication anymore. When I finally decided to really make hiking a big priority in my life, and my ohana knew it, that was when I began getting access, and past memories began to become more visible and clear.

Over the past couple of years, we have been taking this knowledge, and finding our own place, and creating our own resource to point back to, this blog. We've had a lot of fun along the way, made many new friends, and found more trails than we ever anticipated. We've even hiked on other islands, and discovered that we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible for us. Just like Manoa, the world of hiking is vast!

One more thing before I finish this off- We have always talked about how the people you hike with is the most important part of the whole experience. Why only have this experience by yourself? That's why we take the kids, teenagers, and college students we work with on these hikes. We debate all the time about which hikes certain age levels can handle, in fact, its probably the most recurrent topic for us when we hike. Not only do we want to show the next generation these places, but hopefully instill in them the passion to care for these places as much as we do.

I've been spending a lot of time in Manoa Valley the past couple of months, finding trails that have never been written about, but have somehow been there for previous hikers. The goal is to connect all the major waterways that exist in the back of the valley. So far, I've been able to get to Aihualama, Wahi, Lua'alaea, Naniu'apo, and Waiakeakua. I think I'm very close to finding Waaloa Spring, which I think is off a side trail from Naniu'apo. I have been able to connect Wahi, Lua'alaea, and Naniu'apo without trespassing on private lands. With some help of the greater hiking community, we hope to make all of them interconnected a complete reality in short order. When that time comes, I promise to share that with all of you, that way, we all can care for these treasures that were once hidden, but deserve to be seen.

I'm excited about this! I'll be back with more soon.

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