I love a good hike. To be outside, having an adventure, letting Mother Nature dictate how your day will shape up…is there anything more exciting?
The other day I hiked the Waihe’e Ridge Trail hike. It is a hike I attempt on very rare occasions, usually with visitors or really ambitious friends. The ridge trail is one of those hikes that would be tops on my “favorites” list (if I even kept one of those lists).
Right from the parking lot, the elevation gain begins. As soon as you step through the gate, you are greeted with a few feet of gravel road, then are faced with an uphill climb…although it is paved.
At the top of the paved portion, you get a stretch of grass, which leads to another gate. On the day I went on my hike, the ground was saturated, and there was a ton of mud in the beginning of the wooded section of the trail.
After slogging through the mud, there is a sharp turn in the trail which has a beautiful lookout point. A bench points you in the direction you should be facing, and the view is of two distant waterfalls, working their way down the mountain across the valley below.
Have a seat and soak up the view for a bit, drink a little water, and take a few pictures. Once you have enjoyed the moment, get off your duff and keep going. You have a long way to go to the top!
The views of the valleys below, on both sides of you, are beautiful…provided the clouds cooperate.
The hiking trail is well worn, and there is no fear of getting lost. The exposed roots are all over the trail, so when it is wet, avoid stepping on them. The pine tree pictured below is a great landmark, which you can see from miles away when you look up at the ridge or spine of the mountain.
After the two-headed pine tree, you are, quite literally, out of the woods. From this point on the foliage is closer to the ground and the views are around you at any point. There are a few medium-sized trees along the trail but nothing like the beginning portion of the hike.
There are a few spots on the hike where you can look ahead and see the trail in front of you. The picture below shows a few hikers ahead of us as they zig-zag up the trail.
One of the negatives with the Waihe’e Ridge Trail hike is that every ten to fifteen minutes a helicopter flies over you. I found this to really be annoying after a few hours. A hike should be peaceful, serene, and relaxing, but these damn helicopter tours come flying into the valley, making all kinds of noise. They were relentless, and I mention it only because it really affected the mood of my hike at times.
After the roots, the mud, the stairs, the huffing and puffing, the sweating, and the swearing, you may finally arrive at the end of the trail, where you are treated to a lone picnic table. The lonely picnic table is just asking for a group of ambitious hikers to cover it with fine linens and serve a delicious lunch atop it. Unfortunately for the table, all it got from me was my posterior for a few moments and a quick picture of it to be recorded for posterity.
Here are a few more pictures from the Waihe’e Ridge Trail hike on Maui.