So, we hike a lot. Some years more than others. I'd say this is our third go at being extra hike-y people. The first time was when our oldest Gabe was a toddler. Then again right before our youngest, Zach, was born...and now. There are several hikes that I have done, but with years in between going. This, I have determined, makes a huge difference. It can be a good difference---coming back to a trail you love. Or it can be a bad difference, in the case of today and Aiea Loop.
We have done this hike before. With kids. And I in no way recall how long it was. In fact, I'm sure I've read online several times that people equate this trail with being easy and kid friendly. Hmmm. Once again, my opinion differs from the hiking community at large.
This trail is lush. It has a couple of scenic views. There is greenery and trees and plants everywhere. But, this trail is a case of nature getting in its own way. All the wonderful things that make this a truly secluded trail through the woods? These are also all the things that made me question why I love hiking. Or maybe it was the lack of preparedness I felt going into this hike. I made a mistake. Instead of reading the sign clearly WARNING of length and mud, I relied on my memory. Ugh. Huge error in judgment. Huge. Apparently I had forgotten the following key things:
1. The loop is almost five miles. That is fine, but in my mind I thought we were doing three miles.
2. End of November in Hawaii means rain. The trail was mud. Thick mud. Soft mud. Mud with puddles. Mud with rocks. Mud with sticks. Mud with fruit and flies. Mud with leaves. Mud with downed trees. My shoes are done. I'm now asking Santa for a pair of REI hiking boots a la Cheryl Strayed in WILD (the book)!
3. Mud and rain destroy a trail. Half the time I was unsure if we were even hiking where we were supposed to be.
4. Kids start getting complainy after three falls in the mud. Or two miles. Whichever comes first.
5. Unleashed dogs on trails don't mix well with mud and whiny children. We had a momentarily scary and muddy encounter with a very eager "puppy" that looked to be over 100 pounds. Jumpy. Saliva. Muddy paws. Side of mountain. Scared five year old screaming bloody murder. Today was super exciting.
We saw the most downed trees ever. We climbed under and over...we will kill it at the next limbo party.
We discovered a hidden Christmas Tree lot. 😂
We saw an airplane eye view of the stadium and Pearl Harbor.
We realized what we had gotten ourselves into...at the END of the trail.
Zach was not pleased with moms choice of activities. Actually, mom herself was not pleased with the choice. Lesson learned. We are not five mile mud hikers. Or trail entry sign readers...