Hiking is something for which I’ve never been exactly avid; I enjoy it, but it’s just not something I’m always revving to do. Nonetheless, I couldn’t stay in Hawaii all summer and not don my walking shoes, an inordinate amount of bug spray, and spend the day wandering up some potentially treacherous mountain trail. So I grabbed my sister, who has lately become my go-to Adventure Sharer, and found my way to Manoa Falls, a 150 foot waterfall tucked away in the Ko’olau mountain range.
The walk was an easy, albeit slippery, one, through dense greenery that was the kind of vivid one would expect from any Hawaiian island. The waterfall was a short way up the mountain, and, admittedly, was a bit of a let-down (not just a bit).
Since it hadn’t rained in a while, it was really just a trickle into the small pool beneath it. But even so, the colors were beautiful, and there was the kind of peacefulness to the environment that one expects from such idyllic spots, which really can only be felt through experience.
Because the Falls weren’t exactly falling that day, Rose and I decided to adventure upward, to see if more exciting views were hiding further up the mountain.
Bypassing the caution sign that led toward the Aihualama trail, we climbed the excessively slippery rocks toward the top.
Two hours of walking up the side of this mountain. Not completely sure what was waiting at the top. We passed numerous glimpses of the valley below, and with every curve in the snaking path we were motivated to keep going.
Yes, I was promised a stellar view of downtown Honolulu at the top by some hikers on the way up; but even though I didn’t get exactly that, what we found at the peak was well worth the trek up there. I expected some dramatic view, and although there was a distinct lack of drama, the serenity of the valley between the peaks of the Ko’olau range was absolutely breathtaking (however, the “breathtaking” part may, in actuality, have been caused by the massive amount of wind up there).
As I overlooked this valley, I realized that its magnificence wasn’t in any drastic, unparalleled vastness, but rather just in the fact that it was. It was calm, tranquil, as though satisfied with its own simplicity. I found in it all a reflection of the development of my own being. As for years I’ve tried to establish myself through superfluous, external outlets, rather than actually looking inward to discover an isolated core, I found a sense of peace at the peak in finally conceding my own human limitations. This hike led us not to any incomparable view, but rather to something ordinary, yet perfect for that very quality. As Amory Blaine says in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, “I know myself, but that is all.”