This hike will go down as one of the few EPIC hikes I did in Hawaii. I loved every hike I did in a different way but this one was incredible. (So yes there are a thousand pictures...) The plan was to do Moanalua Middle to Tripler Ridge with a break in between at the top of Stairway to Heaven! Basically it is the back way to Stairway. I wanted to do Stairway (or Haiku Steps) since I first got to Hawaii. Travis did it with Nate and then we kept doing other hikes... Then there was a bunch of rain and wind and we found out it had knocked out some of the steps so they were cracking down even harder on hikers (the steps are illegal which is so frustrating because they really are safe and why go through all that work to make them and not let anyone use them??) So the plan had us going up the back way and then along a ridge to get to the steps then coming back that ridge and continuing to Tripler Ridge. We had a guide who had actually done this hike before which was great! I knew it was going to be physically challenging but I was even more worried about the mental aspect. It's steep, there are ropes, it's muddy, you get socked in by clouds because you're so high up, and it's a steep drop off often with just enough room to walk!
I love hiking but I'm not an adrenaline hiker. In other words I don't mind the cardio aspect but I like a good 3-4 feet across and to know if I fall I won't die... Going up you walk a mile or 2 before you even hit the trail. Then starts the steep upward climb. Our guide Falisha kept saying I think it's just over this ridge only to climb 3 more ridges and hear her say no maybe it's this ridge. HAHA! It was long and I won't say I wasn't scared but I toughed it out and kept going up (and up and up!) There were parts that were starting to corrode so you would have just enough space to put one foot in front of the other or else fall off the side. There were ropes for the parts that were super steep but it was so muddy you would still slip.
We finally made it over that "last ridge" and I thought wow I made it! Umm no. You have to go across a ridge that seems like it would be ok if it was dry but it was so muddy and so wet water was just sitting in puddles. I wish I could explain it but I didn't even have a safe place to stop and take a picture. I gave up trying to stay on the edges instead of ending up in 8 inches of mud and was just walking through the mud trying not to slip because one side was a straight drop off. One of the hikers that had ended up following us slipped and his friend caught him but if he hadn't he would of gone straight off.
When we finally made it to the top of the steps it was absolutely breathtaking. (Actually this entire hike was beautifully breathtaking!) You could see everything and although the clouds were there they would move out just enough for us to get some great pictures. I was still so full of adrenaline I forced myself to have a small snack (I had brought a ton of food because I knew it would take hours but I could barely get down a snack...) We chatted a bunch and realized we would have to go back over that ridge and onto another ridge to get to the other part of the hike... Plus the downhill in the mud was not safe. I didn't feel comfortable at all but didn't want to ruin the hike for everyone... Lucky for me they decided it was probably smarter to chance the fine and head down the steps (we heard from others at the top that the part where the steps had been washed out was actually not that bad and totally passable.) The only other problem was we were now on the wrong side of the mountain from where our cars were... There to save the day?? Ashley's husband Andrew loaded up their kids and came and met us at the bottom!! I was thrilled to get to say I had done the steps but we were muddy absolutely exhausted and had some steep steps to climb down all while praying the guard at the bottom didn't decide to call the cops...
We headed down the steps and boy was that freaky! Going down is worse than going up (Ashley has done it before and she said she felt that way the first time she did it.) The stairs are so steep at times you're climbing down them like a ladder plus we had been hiking for 6+ hours by this point. Our legs were shaking and we tried not to stop because when we did our legs became jello! We came across the washed out section and it really wasn't bad at all. We made it down to the bottom and the guard told us never to come back which we promised we wouldn't HAHA! He was very kind and we were thankful. We headed to where we were told the best place to meet Andrew was and what do you know we still had another 1.5 to go! Oh my gosh was I exhausted! When I saw his truck I literally started RUNNING just so I could sit down. :) It didn't go exactly as planned but we had the best time and I will NEVER forget this hike or the amazing beauty I saw not to mention the fantastic company!!
|The feeling of the clouds surrounding you is eerie but I really liked it. It was calming somehow (Plus I couldn't see very far ahead of me so I didn't know how scary it was! :))|
|Ashley! I know pics won't show the steepness but look how far she looks but with very little to actually climb!|
|Just over that ridge (oh wait nope...)|
|Yup climbed all along that ridge you see in the distance.|
|More of the clouds.|
|People stood on that rock to take a pic and I was scared enough just to go around it with very little trail to walk on!|
|Climb every mountain!! Look at that backdrop! When the clouds cleared the view was breathtaking!|
|Trying to show the trail. Yep that's it.|
|Made it to the top! H3|
|I mean it looks fake! This is with my iphone can you imagine if I had a good camera and/or knew how to take pictures??|
|On the way down.|
|This was part of the washed out part but it's kinda hard to see. The steps were all still there just the railings were messed up so you had to be careful.|
|And yes I would do it all again!!|