Well, the holiday season is upon us and I have become quite a bit more busy than usual. With my father in town and the school semester nearing its end and all the other stresses of every day life, hiking has taken somewhat of a backseat to everything else going on right now. Instead of hiking multiple times every week, I now find myself relegated to hiking whenever I can squeeze it in. However, I have found in life that if you truly love something you will find a way to do it. Recently my wife and I and a few of our friends have started night hiking and have found it to be surprisingly safe and rewarding. Hiking at night is great for a few reasons. First of all, the city lights are beautiful to look down upon and the photo ops are amazing and neverending. Secondly, the feeling of having the trail all to yourself with the night sky above you and only your friends around to joke and talk story with makes for a great time. Lastly, since hiking during the day has been somewhat taken away from me due to my schedule, night hikes offer me another way to still hit the trails, granted I don't usually get but a few hours sleep when we hike at night, but the trade off is well worth it.
On this night, my father, who was still in town visiting, myself and two of my good hiking partners met in the mariners ridge subdivision in Hawaii Kai around 6:45 pm. As the last person in our group finally arrived, we wasted not time and set off immediately for the trailhead at the back of the subdivision. To the right of the trailhead there is a house that has a beat up old fence and a weird look to it compared to the other posh houses in the nieghborhood and this house has always given me a weird feeling during the day. As we walked past it this night I got an even creepier feeling than usual and I swear that this house is haunted but I seemed to be the only one who was all that creeped out by it. Once past the house we reached the trailhead and started the walk up the dirt hill and reached a wooded area shortly after. This is possibly the easiest trail to the koolau summit on the island. It is very short although the walk up can be kind of steep and taxing, but overall anyone can do this hike and it is a great place to bring your dog or kids as well.
As we continued our way to the summit we all talked and joked amongst each other and within no time we had reached the summit. I was shocked by how quick we had made it to the top, but again, this is an insanely short and easy trail. From the summit the sights that were bestowed upon us were magnificent and there were no clouds or anything else to obscure our views on this beautiful, brisk night. We set up our tripods and took turns taking pictures of the city lights below us as we all talked and told stories. We spent more time at the summit taking pictures and hanging out on this night than we did actually hiking. After our prolonged break at the summit we all headed back down the trail and were back to the Mariners Ridge subdivision before we could even blink it seemed.
As we talked on the short walk back to the car, we decided to make the "night hikes" a weekly thing and it definetly has held true up until this point. The two night hikes we did this week will be posted very soon as well. What I have realized from hiking at night is how fun hiking and spending time with your friends can be. I have always loved hiking but at night it tends to be a lot more laid back and the conversation and laughter seems to flow even more excessively throughout the group than usual. I am gonna make a real effort to hike as much as I can during the day before the new year but I am surely going to keep up with at least one weekly night hike as well, for this is when I seem to have the most fun. The one and only down side to hiking at night is that by the time we finish we are often to tired to go to 7-eleven for our ritualistic post-hike slurpee outing.
For anyone that is looking to hike at night, I would strongly suggest starting with Mariners Ridge. It is very short and easy and there is practically no exposure so you will be safe even if you do take a little tumble at some point. To get to the Mariners Ridge trailhead take kalanianaole hwy eastbound (coming from the airport) as if you were going towards hanauma bay. As you are driving on Kalanianaole hwy you will see a street on the left hand side named keahole drive where you will need to take a left (if you go past the outback steakhouse you have gone to far). After making a left onto keahole drive it will turn into Hawaii Kai Drive. Next you will turn left on to Kaluanui road and follow it to the very top until the road dead ends. The trailhead is at the dead end and is very obvious and easy to find.