Sunday, May 17, 2020

Nu'uanu-Judd Trail

Ok, the next hike on the agenda is O'ahu's Nu'uanu-Judd Trail, just off the Pali Highway outside of downtown Honolulu. This was not one of my favorite hikes, to be honest, though it's not entirely the trail's fault. I picked this hike because it seemed fairly close to a bus stop, although that turned out to be more like 3/4 mile after taking the winding (and sidewalk-less) road into account. Which still doesn't seem that far, but it was also an unreasonably hot and humid day, without the usual tradewinds, if I remember right. Which is usually a clue that it's not an ideal day for hiking, but I was only there for a week and hadn't gotten out as much as I'd hoped, so I figured I'd give it a try and see how far I got.

Once you make it to the trailhead, the first section of actual trail is the Judd Trail, an easy and mostly-flat loop that involves a lot of tromping around a hot, humid, and dark forest, with no views to be had, unless changing from native forest to pine trees to bamboo and back counts as a view. About halfway around this loop, it intersects the Nu'uanu Trail, which switchbacks up through the same dark, humid forest to reach the top of a ridge, at which point it becomes another O'ahu ridgetop hike. So the plan was just to get up onto the ridge and go until I felt like turning around.

Along one of these switchbacks, I leaned forward to get under a low-hanging branch, and somehow managed to launch one of my water bottles out of my pack. It slowly rolled off the trail before I could grab it, and tumbled down the slope into some unreachable underbrush, never to be seen again. Which is the only time I have ever lost something while hiking, at least so far. After standing there blinking for a while, I realized I'd have to dial things back since I'd already used a lot of the other water bottle. I didn't want to give up halfway up the ridge, though, since the whole outing would feel like a waste of time if I did that, so I figured I'd turn around when the trail got up onto the ridge & stopped switchbacking.

So I did that, and took a couple of photos with bits of Honolulu skyline in the distance while I was there, though I they look more or less the same as Honolulu skyline photos I've taken elsewhere. I then turned around, retraced my steps, looked for my lost water bottle on the way down just in case (to no avail), did the remaining half of the easy loop, and wandered back to the bus stop, the end. I did have some water left at the end, so I could maybe have gone a little further than I did, but I was kind of sweaty and irritable at that point and just wanted to declare "Mission Accomplished" and go home.

Obviously my experience is not typical, and I gather from other people's photos and descriptions that I turned around before the scenery really improved. So maybe I'll go back at some point and have another go at it, though it's not exactly at the top of my revisit list. Anyway, here are some links from across the interwebs with more of a positive take on the place and the experience.