Oahu is not particularly well known as a tubing destination. Yet I have had more fun with a few bucks worth of inner tubes on this island than anywhere else in the world.
A while back when nobody wanted to hangout, my girlfriend and I decided to search for a new adventure. We often like to go scope out new hikes just the two of us so we can get a feel of whether of not it would be worth bringing the rest of our group (a.k.a. the FRAT). We followed a steep and slippery trail at the back of Wahiawa, in central Oahu. We found a beautiful stream and immediately knew we had to bring the entire gang to explore the area.
Some of our friends really brought their “A” game, along with every inch of style and swag they could fit in their hiking shoes.
The first hill down was crazy steep. Several of us slid and rolled down the hill. There are a bunch of roots that can be conveniently used as stairs if you spot them.
Once in the gulch, we had to cross multiple streams. The forest began to take over the trail. There was no escaping its touch. Leaves and branches were constantly poking and smacking us in the face.
Those who think chivalry is dead have not met my buddy Jared.
Mike had just slipped into a spectacularly deep mud puddle. There was no staying clean at this point. Everyone tried their best to dodge the mud, but it got the best of all of us.
After a solid 30-45 minutes of hiking with our tubes (glad none them got punctured), we finally arrived to the stream. It had not rained in a few days and the stream was distinctly lower than when we had previously reconned it.
Many rocks and logs were now visible, but this would not deter us. We inflated a few more floats and embarked on a stream which would drift us to an unknown location.
The water was FREEZING!!! At least for those of us who have lived in Hawaii a little too long to remember what the actual cold feels like.
I get cold very easily so I was a bit apprehensive about getting in. But I could not let my crew set sail without me.
Our buddies from Wisconsin were not fazed by the water’s temperature at all.
The water was flowing very slowly at first, but we were still so stoked to be doing something completely different from our usual hikes.
We slowly worked our way down the nearly stagnant stream.
Something I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter how awesome or lame your location is, as long as you have great friends then wherever you are will be the best place on Earth.
Luckily everyone in our group is super silly and has a crazy since of humor, which helped take out mind off of our hypothermia…
Every so often the water would get too low and we would need to hop up and portage our tubes. Better not to risk popping your tube and having to swim all the way down (which happened to us once). By the way portage is a fancy french word that simply means to carry a boat or its cargo between 2 navigable waters.
At times it really was just like floating through a lazy river.
Other times, we would be getting tangled into sticks and other random debris.
Nothing beats being betrayed by your friends as they try to tip you into the coldest water you’ve ever felt on the entire island.
Our friends from Wisconsin thought it was so funny how cold we felt and therefore proceeded to splashing us for the remainder of our voyage.
Just rowing our boats
We did not mind the shallow spots. We had a blast from beginning to end.
We laughed, we cried, we formed fear bonds with our buds. It was an epic adventure.
Luckily we found what looked like a trail to get out of the stream, otherwise I don’t know where we would have been able to get out. Most of the stream’s banks were very steep cliffs and mountains covered in ferns. There would have been no way for us to hike out of there unless we found a trail. Who knows, we might have flowed all the way down to the ocean.
We meandered through the woods a bit. We got muddy all over again, but going up and down the hills really helped us stay warm after getting out of those frigid waters.
My girlfriends always spots hidden wild orchids while we are in the forest.
We eventually found our way back to civilization. What a good day!
The green arrow is where we began and the red arrow is where we got out. We floated down the stream anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. It’s crazy how little distance we covered, but I guess that has to do with the meandering of the stream. We would love to explore the stream further, but we were losing daylight and definitely didn’t want to be stuck out there after dark. Plus I’m pretty sure I would have died of hypothermia (in Hawaii).
A lot of people heard of our tubing adventure and asked us where they could go tubing on the island. We are always happy to take people, but just as a reminder, this stream was not made to be tubed by any means. It was not manufactured at a water park, so there are no lifeguards or any other safety features. There is also no way of knowing if the stream is dry until you are in it. Despite it being sunny, torrential rainfall upstream in the mountains could cause the stream to start raging and flash flood. Always be super careful when you explore in Hawaii. Many people make the mistake of thinking these islands are a safe haven for exploration, but our archipelago is anything but tame.