MY PARADISE: A Journey to the Peak

MY PARADISE: A Journey to the Peak

by: Kris Adam Santos
Stripes Guam
published: January 10, 2013
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Hiking Mariner’s Ridge is the closest thing to paradise for me.

When I visited Honolulu last summer, I had decided to indulge on some good old nature walking. I asked the girl that I was visiting what was the best place to go on a hike. Mariner’s Ridge was a trail that my beloved companion suggested to me. Without having to beg her to join me on the tiresome journey, she responded to me with reciprocity. The next day we hiked Mariner’s Ridge together.

The entrance of the trail was in a hillside neighborhood. As you can imagine, there were plenty of cars parallel parked near the gateway welcoming hikers.

It is a popular trail to many locals, but not too populated by tourists like Diamond Head is. When we started at the entrance, I quickly observed that we were in an ecosystem similar to the desert. The sun pelted on our already tan skin. The sediment was arid, dry as towel that had been sitting under the sun too long. The vegetation was also a thin as it draped at our sides. The first phase of the hike lasted for a good 20 minutes.

After hiking up a fairly steep slope, we had hit a plateau. The plateau offered a few look outs where a person was able to see the western part of the island. There was more vegetation there and a reddish appearance of the dirt. An even bigger mountain known as Kokohead was in the distance. From what I heard, the hike up Kokohead was dangerous, laden with reports of death due to dehydration or exhaustion.

We stopped and took a water break. After, we stepped through the milieu similar to Mars until we hit the next phase.

We arrived at a withered part of the trail that led further towards our destination. The skinny trees reminded me of the naked forests in the winter time. The sun was a tad bit dim as well. It was strange, because we were in Hawaii where it was sunny with a fair amount of precipitation. We spent a little time walking and talking about how quickly the scene tended to change on this particular trail.

As we struggled through the increasingly steep slope, we soon found ourselves within a shaded labyrinth of green leaves and tall trees.

This part of the trail was filled with a lush amount of green vegetation. We both felt that we were in a jungle. It was almost like ripping out a page of Jungle Book–literally–other than the fact that I looked like a poor man’s Mowgli and there were not any talking bears. The canopy was visible from where we were standing.  Beams of sunlight radiated strongly through the open spots, shining on the dirt floor. We also encountered a number of people who were now descending from the summit. That is when I knew we were quite close to the peak.

Sooner or later, we finally hit an opening. This opening led to the peak where we were able to already see many a people sitting down and enjoying the view. I looked at my watch. It had been an hour or so since we started.

When it was our turn to finally step in and take our own pictures, we smiled at the accomplishment of conquering yet another mountain. Not many people realize this, but the harder the hike, the better the view. And boy was that view magnificent. There was a great blue Pacific Ocean that looked like it had been painted by the brush of god.

The sun looked like it had been repeatedly layered with orange and yellow. The clouds embraced the presence as if they were drifting towards the next painting on the wall. We were successful in spotting other hikers at the nearby peaks as they waved at us. There was also a wonderful view of Kaneohe Bay. In the far distance, I was able to see another trail called “Pillboxes." My companion told me it is one of President Obama’s favorite hiking spots.

After reveling in the scene, I spotted an open place to sit.  We headed toward a large boulder that was uplifted in the mountainous terrains. We sat and relaxed for a bit. I watched in the near distance as the currents came east with the waves. I looked at my companion while she observed the land below us.

This is paradise I thought.

Tags: Travel