I recently returned from a family vacation to Hawaii, otherwise known as “the scene of the crime.” Let me state this emphatically: It was not my original intent to kill my family. However, and this is a VERY important point, I did not ACTUALLY kill them. I just ALMOST killed them.
I used the AllTrails app on my iPhone to find a hiking trail near our Airbnb. One looked great. It was called the Hanauma Bay Death Trail. No, that wasn’t it’s official name. It’s actual name was the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail, but I think the word “Ridge,” in place of the far more accurate “Death,” was a typographical error.
The first sign this hike was a mistake was when I Googled the name of the trail. A news story popped up that said the hike was illegal. Here is the headline –
Here is the meat of the news story –
An illegal Hawaiian hike? Dare I risk it? OF COURSE! Me at the water cooler after my vacation:
Boring co-worker, “What did you do on your vacation?”
Me, “Oh, nothing much. You know. The usual…We just went on an EXTREMELY ILLEGAL tropical hike!”
The second sign this hike wasn’t a good idea was literally a sign, or more specifically, TWO signs. A “No Trespassing” sign posted on each side of a tourist hanging dead from a nearby tree – just kidding about the dead tourist – but NOT about the two signs or the LOCKED GATE blocking the entrance to the trail –
But, much like a naive character in a horror movie who follows a mysterious trail of blood down into the basement to find out where all the screaming is coming from, I led my family forward.
So under the gate we went.
The AllTrails app is super easy to use. You just keep your blue location dot on the red line marking the trail. Which, in this case, I stupidly did. Here is the overview of the trail –
The trail began friendly enough –
A neatly paved trail gradually going up the rim of the volcanic crater which created one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
Here is the bay side from the top –
Once past the summit, the red line continued off the paved trail and down an embankment. (This image fails to adequately show how incredibly steep it is.) –
This might has seemed odd to a hiker less experienced than myself, but not me. I was committed to following the red line, as they say, … even if it killed me.
As I led my family toward certain death, I did so with absolute confidence. Down we marched like lemmings toward a shear drop-off above jagged rocks hundreds of yards below. (In all fairness to AllTrails, the red line did not actually lead off the edge – there was at least a three millimeter “safety buffer.”)
I apologize for not having any photographs of the “ledge of death.” At the moment, I was occupied hanging on by my butt cheeks to the slippery volcanic soil and screaming for everyone to stay back.
In all fairness to me, I was actually far more likely to have killed myself than anyone else. By the time we realized that the red line was leading us into oblivion, we had skittered several hundred yards down a steep embankment of loose sandy soil. A steep embankment which we then and to climb back up.
I was by far the worst physically fit. If we were on Survivor, I would’ve been the first voted off the island. In fact, they might have eaten me.
I learned two things from this Extremely memorable experience:
1. Never trust the instructions on a free app.
2. At the very least, someone should have posted no trespassing signs and locked the gate.
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