the na pali coast from honopu ridge

Two years after thrashing and splashing through rending, lacerating false staghorn fern on this messy trail only to stand at the precipice of impenetrable swirling mist and pelting rain…… I returned to Honopu Ridge. It was a rewarding, eye-opening reunion. For starters, near one of the umpteenth view climaxes I startled a big-horned billie out of thin-ridgetop woods and it bounded effortlessly along the side of a near-vertical bluff of grass and dirt. On my way back up the ridge I saw a couple more mountain goats on a cliff below, they were waiting for me to move on. I didn’t see a (person) soul all morning- that has happened to me numerous occasions now over the years on various explorations across the island so I suppose I shouldn’t find it so astonishing, but I do.

I’m still carrying a reminder of this day in the form of a horribly itchy six inch-long crescent scab on the anterior of my right ankle, it looks like a bracelet around my shin. It tears anew in a little place every other day, it’s a real headache. I left my hiking pants at home this year on purpose but regretted it on this walk. Some of the false staghorn fern along this path is like razor wire. I highly, highly recommend long pants for this walk. Dicranopteris linearis (uluhe, or false staghorn fern), a common fern of the wet old world tropics- forms long, tall, trailing thick mats and and it ultimately doesn’t tolerate shade well so what often happens after a virtual tunnel has been formed is the inside of the tunnel is painfully scratchy, sharp dead silver chef knives that slice and dice and chop and mince those who are absent-minded enough to not protect their delicate skin. What’s even worse is the long vine-like growth which has a tendency to grow across a poorly maintained trail…….five to seven feet down the trail that slender cord of uluhe you thought you pushed back with your trekking pole? It has grabbed hold of your back pocket or twined itself around your waist. Needless to say, uluhe inspires both laughter and cursing. At times, it’s best to just bash and crash your way forward and worry about the blood later!

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