“What have I gotten myself into?”
Especially in unfamiliar territory.
After the exhilaration of biking down Haleakala earlier in the morning, Mike and I made our way to Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui for a bit of a hike.
This is a multipurpose loop hike, and we did it wrong…ALL WRONG. Instead of starting the hike from the left trailhead entrance, we started it from the right. You might be wondering, “How do I know we did it wrong?” Allow me to elaborate…
At first, the hike was enjoyable. We walked through cool valleys, took a gander at several new bike park features, sat at a picnic table and ate our donuts purchased from Komoda Bakery.
So far, so good. Mike and I followed a trail marked with green blazes and hiked up, up, up, up, ad infinitum. We were 2+ miles into the hike without an end to “up” in sight. I was on a StairMaster® from hell.
We met a couple who were fellow hikers ahead of us. They were following the red blazes, which were used by bicyclists. These trails crisscrossed the green-blazed trail, but these folks hadn’t caught on. They were wandering all over the forest. They asked how long it would take to get out of the forest, and what trail they should use to get out. Not a good sign.
Mike and I continued our “up” hike. I stopped, looked to the heavens, and said that I wish I had a walking stick. I took a few steps and, like magic, one appeared at my feet. I picked it up, thanked the gods and continued our twisted trail hike “up”. Then the trail blazes disappeared and the terrain on the trail became more difficult to hike. Then the trail itself started to look less evident. I started to wonder, “Does anybody ever complete this hike?”
At this point, Mike and I stopped to discuss our folly. Using a long-ago-learned technique for determining how much sunlight we had left (thank you Girl Scouts), I told Mike that we had just over one-and-a-half-hours of daylight left. Being deep in unknown wooded territory, I wanted to take the prudent course of action and head back in the direction we had come.
Mike countered that we had never been beaten by a trail. Every one that we had ever started, we completed. I asked how much battery life his phone had left. It was very little. My phone was in the same predicament. He walked a bit further ahead to see if the trail became more noticeable. He came back and said that, if anything, the trail was becoming less and less discernible from its surroundings.
So, what did we do wrong?
- We should have paid more attention to the trailhead sign. We would have had an easier time of traveling if we had started on the left trailhead path.
- We should have started the trail earlier. At nearly seven miles, this was a long trail that deserved our respect for the time commitment required.
- Our phones should have been fully charged…for using as flashlights, if needed, or to call out in an emergency.
- We didn’t bring jackets. Had we needed to hunker down, it would have been a cool night to be in only T-shirts and shorts. If it had rained, we would have been miserable.
- Forgot the bug spray. Although we weren’t harassed by any bugs, once the sun went down, I’m sure it would have been a different story.
- We didn’t bring any snacks. Our bodies would have been craving carbs to help keep our bodies warm if we had been stuck out on the trail.
I hated that we were so ill-prepared. After a bit more conversation, we reluctantly headed back down the trail we had come up.
In the end, the trail at Makawao Forest Reserve defeated us. I’m champing at the bit to get another opportunity to do this trail again…the right way, of course!