I woke up last Sunday to a text from one of my best friends back in California, saying her Spring break plans fell through. In the spirit of adventure, she booked a ticket to visit me and was on a plane to Hawaii the next day. We were both a bit bummed out at first, because the weather on Oahu has consisted of clouds and sporadic showers the past few weeks, and the forecast predicted the same for her whole trip. Luckily, we did not let the weather stand in the way of our plans at all.
We decided to conquer two attractions on Thursday, one of them being Crouching Lion at Sunset. The drive to the trailhead is an adventure in itself; the Windward side of the island is home to lush mountains, picturesque beaches, and waterfalls lining the sides of the highway when it rains. We made our way from Manoa, stopped at Makapu’u for a quick dip in the tide pools, then continued cruising to Kaneohe.
The rain was pouring down throughout the day, and clouds began to cover the sun, which was beginning to disappear in the West. We arrived at the trail around six pm, grabbed our camera gear, and started to head up the mountain; however, we quickly realized the rain had turned the trail to mud. Throwing off our shoes, we climbed barefoot through the muddy rainforest, moving as quickly as possible so we didn’t miss the golden hour lighting.
It took us about 30 minutes of straight uphill climbing to reach the top, but the view was well worth it. The sun began to set, giving the overcast sky a pink tint. The lighting was perfect: diffused, soft, and glowing all at once. Our friend Jake brought along his fisheye lens, and we began to shoot.
The way back down was a lot harder than the way up. I confidently led the way off trail into the darkness, this time downhill through the mud. We couldn’t see a thing, and we slid down the mountain through the mud on multiple occasions, not to mention the bugs. I had absolutely no clue where we were, but knew we were just headed down, so I stuck to that and luckily navigated us back to the highway.
We then continued up the East side and eventually made our way to Banzai sushi, where we ate to our hearts content, exhausted from the day. It was a crazy experience getting up and down Crouching Lion at night, but the pictures and the memories made it more than worth it!