Friday, November 08, 2013

Manoa Falls

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When I was in Honolulu back in September, one thing I wanted to do was tear myself away from the beach and the urban jungle for a bit and go find a hiking trail. Manoa Falls was the obvious choice. It's one of the tallest accessible waterfalls on Oahu, and the hike to the falls is short and fairly easy, though slippery and muddy in parts. The thing that really sold me on Manoa Falls is that you can get there on the regular Honolulu city bus system, which was important since I elected not to rent a car. All I had to do was walk from my hotel over to the Ala Moana Mall and hop on the bus #5, which heads up mostly-suburban Manoa Valley. The bus turns around at the point where suburbia peters out. At that point you can get off the bus and walk uphill into the rainforest, where you'll soon encounter both Lyon Arboretum (about which a separate post is coming) and the Manoa Falls trailhead. If the place looks vaguely familiar, apparently both Jurassic Park and Lost shot a few scenes here. The falls may also look familiar from an earlier post of mine with an Instagram photo and a Vine clip from the falls. I think I said at the time that photos from the "real" camera were coming soon. "Soon" turns out to mean "a couple of months later", but that's still pretty punctual by my usual standards.

I'd only visited one other Hawaiian waterfall before, 'Akaka Falls on the Big Island, and that was wayyy back in late 2000, and all I had was a crappy point-n-shoot film camera at the time. I figured this time I was going to come prepared. I don't usually lug a mini-tripod or remote shutter widget along with me, but I had the notion that I wanted to do some long exposure waterfall photos (See for example: Majestic Falls, Wahclella Falls, Yacolt Falls, and Cedar Mill Falls). All that preparation (which is a lot by my usual standards) turns out to have been overkill. Even though I barely missed a huge downpour just before I arrived, there wasn't enough water going over the falls just then to pull off the classic long-exposure waterfall look. Which is fine, I mean, them's the breaks, and it's still a waterfall in the middle of a tropical rainforest. I thought it was pretty great, and nowhere near as overrun with tourists as I was led to believe it would be.

There's a great article about the Manoa Falls trail at Exploration Hawaii (although you'll end up reading more of their articles, and wonder where the last three hours went.) Here are two more hike reports worth reading; the first one has a photo of the falls with much more water. Although looking at that photo, I'm not sure the long exposure trick would have paid dividends then either. I'm starting to think the only way to be sure would be to move to Hawaii and come here every so often for new photos, and come back later if I don't quite get the shots I have in mind. As if I needed another excuse to want to move there.

1 comment :

Coty said...

Thank you for the kind words and I'm glad that was able to help with your trip! Looks like you had a fun time! -Coty