Disclaimer…I do not think just ol’ anyone is capable of doing this hike. The potential for a serious mishap is high. You will slip, fall, cut, scrape, and/or bruise yourself. And the higher the water flow, the tougher the hike is. This hike requires balance, limber joints and upper body strength. If you are not adventure-minded, skip this hike altogether. There is a reason why this hike does not appear in any guidebook.
My buddy and I stopped at the gate just passed the mini-bamboo forest hike, about .25 miles passed the 6.5 mile marker on Hana Highway. We jumped the fence there and trudged up a path to the left, being careful not to agitate the very hefty cow lying in the shade (who would still be there hours later). Other reviewers say you have to pass a field of cows, but we only encountered the one. Then, at the top of the hill we could see a reservoir. We went down a slippery grassy slope to where we could meet a stream feeding into the reservoir. (Meaning, if you’re facing the reservoir, the stream will be towards the left side of it but not passed the gate that will be further on your left on the trail. I suppose you could go around the other side, but that would be a much longer walk.) And on up that stream we went.
|Just another 7' high wall in the stream.|
Very quickly we learned that neither my hiking shoes nor my buddy’s sneakers would grip the slippery rocks, basically forcing us to spider-walk much of the way upstream. Even as an experienced hiker myself, multiple time we caught ourselves saying, “Are you kidding me?” as we bruised our ankles against rock after rock. Navigating the stream took focus and it got a little bit old fast. I don’t remember how far upstream we got, but at an early point we encountered a fork in the stream. We decided to go left and it turned out to be the wrong way, so, go right at the fork. Of course, we didn’t know that at the time so we kept going upstream to the left, sometimes through 6 feet of water, never seeing the thicket of vines you’re supposed to encounter and wondering when the hell it was going to be over. Eventually we came upon an access road and man-made drainage ditch at that point we knew we were way off course.
Thinking we were screwed, we wandered the access road going downhill, figuring we’d try again some other day. Somehow, we turned left at Albuquerque and stumbled upon the exit of the cave portion of the Commando Hike! We couldn’t believe it. We checked out the
surroundings and our way out was either down a 70 foot cliff or
back through the cave, basically doing the Commando Hike in reverse. (A third
option would have been to continue down the access road, but we hadn’t thought
of that yet.) Since I wasn’t jumping off the cliff we went into the cave and
made our way towards where the entrance is supposed to be. I have to say this
part of the hike was really fun until we saw the part of the entrance where you
shimmy up the 10 foot waterfall and we both refused to go down this way. It
just looked too tricky. So, it was back into the cave and out the way we were
supposed to go. Again, fun, until my buddy said he was stuck between two rocks
where there were no hand holes to lift himself up and out. Somehow he squirmed his
way free and we continued up the cave. There is a 10 foot rock wall inside the
cave to climb but it was pretty easy since the rocks were rough and easier to
grab. (Well, my buddy did slice a finger open on a jagged rock.) Oh, and you
will need headlamps for this bit as it is really dark in the cave.
|Going DOWN to the cave entrance.|
Once we came out the other side, we were quite proud of ourselves. Not only did we go a much longer way upstream than we should have, but we did the cave portion of the Commando Hike down and up. Booyah! But we weren’t done yet. We turned left to a really sweet water hole with a small cliff to jump off. There was an option to grab a rope and climb the waterfall there, but the day was wearing on and we had no water or food with us. Stupid? Yes. We hadn’t planned to be out there so long but apparently shit happens. So after my buddy jumped off the cliff, we went back to the access road, backtracked a little bit, until we could keep heading downhill keeping the hike’s ravine to our left and the ocean in front of us. The car was a blessed sight. Flatbread Pizza Company here we come!
Our little adventure would have been better had we packed food and water in a dry-bag, but hey, there’s always next time. It may be a while but I’m sure we’re game for another go ‘round. Also remember to go right at the fork in the stream. You can thank me later with a brew. Cheers.