Members of the Outdoor Adventure Student Association braved the intense wind and misting showers to hike Kuliouou Ridge on Jan. 21. The weather seemed to lift the energy of the hikers who would laugh when the wind would push them, and the incline kept their bodies warm as they moved up the trail.
After making it through the heavy traffic if Honolulu, the group’s bus slowed down as it neared a power line draped across the street that had been blown free by the wind. The bus driver slowly navigated the bus underneath it to get the hikers to the trailhead.
The students exited the bus and gathered in a circle to say a prayer before disembarking. Sheets of rain descended on the landscape off in the distance. A gust of wind pushed against the group, which caused a few to lose their balance and a few smiles and chuckles during the prayer. Kenny Villavong, a junior from California majoring in business management and member of the group’s presidency, led the group up the trail. Trevor Knight, a senior from California studying business management, and president of the club, stayed at the back to make sure everyone in the group made it there and back safely.
The trail was covered by trees, lush green flora, and fauna. Some hikers chatted while they hiked while others were silent. Felicia Werjefelt, an undecided freshman from Sweden, said she loved the whole hike up. “The nature was so varied. The group was diverse and fun. [They] all stayed positive despite the weather!”
Megan Riley, a freshman from California studying business management, said her favorite part of the activity was the cheerful happy group. “Even though it was rainy, muddy, windy and not a good circumstance, everyone was just happy to be there. They didn’t even care. Even when we slipped and fell in the mud we just laughed it off and kept going.”
Everyone regrouped at a covered picnic area on the ridge just past a clearing. A few hikers stood in the clearing to face the wind and feel its power pushing against them.
Werjefelt said the weather added an extra sense of adventure to the hike. “The club lived up to its name: outdoor adventure. I definitely want to go back to the top when it’s not cloudy to see the view!”
At the top of the mountain, Riley said, “It was hard to hear my thoughts because of the wind.” Some students hid in the bushes off behind the trail to retreat from the wind while they waited for everyone to make it to the top. “You could truly feel the power of the wind and rain up there,” commented Werjefelt. She also said she felt a power within herself from accomplishing such a hike.
The first viewpoint on the ridge showed rainforest. Hikers laughed about the view and continued on to the peak.
When the last group made it to the top, Knight gave a tour guide description of the view. “If you squint your eyes, you can see KoKo Head from here,” he said.
The narrow parts of the trail had turned into a small stream. The insides of everyone’s legs were scuffed with mud by the time they made it back to the bus.
Knight cautioned the hikers, “Watch your steps on the way down. If you slip, try to catch yourself. If you don’t and you fall, fall with grace. If you don’t fall with grace, at least laugh it off.” Students did just that, slipping and steadying themselves the whole way down.
Riley and Werjefelt even slipped so “gracefully” the fall sent them barrel rolling down the hill. But both girls rose at the end of the fall, laughing about how lucky they felt to have survived.
“It didn’t really hurt,” said Riley six days after the incident. “I still have a bruise from it.” She said Werjefelt and her had been joking only moments before about not falling before they slipped in the mud. “[Werjefelt] just kind of tucked, rolled and went with it! She didn’t care! I thought that was cool.”