Monday, May 31

Ka’ena Point

Ka’ena Point is the westernmost tip on the island, and the only way to get there is to hoof it. So hoof it, we did….and we drug Jewel along for the journey.Droid Daily 097

You can barely see the point in this picture, but it’s the very last point you see jutting out in the center of the photo. It’s about three miles down a hot and dirty trail……just how we like ‘em.

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Most of the trail is pretty easy going, and Joey and I just follow Jewel as she skips along.

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Until we come to the point where the road disappears. We could go straight and balance across a six inch plank or take the “easier” route and go up the side of the mountain…. Umm..yeah, we chose the easy route.Droid Daily 105

We got a late start so we knew we’d be in the heat of the day, but at the start of our hike we were under cloud cover and even had a few sprinkles so thought we had it made in the shade for the rest of the hike. Then we busted past that grey cloud and it was nothing but sun the rest of the day, and we were HOT. Not a coincidence now that I find out Ka'ena means “the heat”! Not a coincidence either that not many people were on this hike while we were. It felt great, though! There was a spot that we considered hiking down to the water to cool off but it was so early on we figured we’d have another chance, but we never did.

The guidebooks all recommend taking the northern approach to the point, because it’s a nice flat path out the dunes, as you can see in the below photo.

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Personally, I didn’t know what to think of these dunes. They were beautiful and unexpected, even though I’ve been here before (just forgot about them), but they were also a lot like the razor on top of barbed wire. THE LAST THING I WANTED TO TREDGE THROUGH AFTER DRIPPING WITH SWEAT AND WANTING NOTHING MORE THAN TO JUMP IN THE OCEAN.

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Kaʻena Point is a spear-shaped protrusion into the Pacific Ocean. Some ancient Hawaiian folklore states that Kaʻena Point is the "jumping-off" point for souls leaving this world.

We fell into the biggest pool of that spear-shaped protusion and savored every super salty second of it………. And Jewel proclaimed: At the end of every trail there’s a treasure!! Droid Daily 116

After finally cooling off we started exploring the beach and noticed that the beach here is nothing but wave tumbled coral pieces, large pieces…..not something we’d seen before, but is now in my car to add to her collection. While they beach combed I jumped back in the water on the west side and just as Jewel came in Droid Daily 128the largish waves to join me I was quickly pushing her against the current back out. There was a Hawaiian Monk Seal about twenty feet away  heading straight for us, and I wasn’t so sure we were welcome in his cove!

I grabbed the Droid as fast as I could to snap a picture of him, but this was the best I could do. Ha! I did take this picture but it was off an informational sign out there explaining that the area is a protected natural habitat for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and to basically ……..stay away. The one I saw sure didn’t look this cute He looked like he was on a mission to get me out of his water…..quick! Man…..What a rush that was. Can I have an encore? (Jewel had me to take this picture so that I could show you all what it looked like)..awwDroid Daily 129

Droid Daily 142 Next to the light tower is this knocked over bunker, or something. For us it was shade. Much needed shade.

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Then of course, we had to climb that cement block. Droid Daily 148

We had some great views from up there!

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Why do boys always have to scare girls? He thinks it’s funny to do push ups over an eight foot hole. Jewel and I, do not.

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After getting fully rested up, and still having plenty of ice cold water left, we begrudgingly made our way back towards civilization. But before we could even leave the dunes we walk smack dab into an albatross nest.

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I used that photo to show how large this chick is.

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I didn’t want to get too close to him, and I wasn’t so sure he wouldn’t try to come after me, but he remained perfectly calm. There was a large albatross circling overhead, I’m sure freaking out over us, but no dive bombs to our heads. We also were lucky enough to see some Nene birds, which are almost extinct!

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The sun wasn’t near as intense on our trek back, and with it behind us instead of glaring in our faces, we got to enjoy the views much more. It was less a hike now and more like a stroll in the park. So naturally Joey had to turn it up a notch and take the less easy route back.

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He’s taking the old road that washed away, while we take the new trail over the washed out mountainside.

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There’s that six inch wide plank he has to lower himself down to in order to walk across.Droid Daily 172

That’s him with his metal road and screws in his leg…..doing it!Droid Daily 173

This was as close as I dared to get to it.

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and whattya know?? there’s another cave. Caves are EVERYWHERE over here, it seems.

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Back on the trail………….

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What trail???????? Back on the boulders that you better cling to the walls so you don’t slide down them, trail.

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If I ever find myself with the opportunity to climb across an arch, I’m going to take it.

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I even got a group shot out of it!! (For the record: Most of the time I was walking with them, but occasionally I would run ahead or behind with my Moto Droid to capture the scene.)

After about mile four and a half Jewel did ask her Dad if he would carry her. Also at this point she says she’s never hiking this again. I asked, “What if there are monk seals at the end?”

She say’s…”I’m going!!”

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Having her Dad carry her did not last long once she saw coconuts down by the water. You see……we’ve been collecting coconuts so we can try something out that we saw on Survivor that involves coconuts and blowholes. That’s all the info I can release at this time, but stay tuned for more details.

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She went all the way down there to get her coconuts and then threw them up the hill as she hiked back up, until eventually she could pawn them off on her dad to carry.

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Which of course means now I’m HOLDING EVERYTHING ELSE. But ahhhh…….I really could care less.

As we got closer to the end of the trail and towards the beach we came across a local fisherman who told us he had refreshments in the cooler in his truck and to please help ourselves. We thanked him, but walked right past his truck once we got to it to just have his friend that was sitting in the truck run after us bringing us two ice cold bottles of water! Amazing! Those two old timers are what the Aloha Spirit is all about and it felt great to be on their receiving end. What a perfect ending to an already awesome day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again….Nature Has The Best Playgrounds!!

Thursday, May 20

May 18th

Or I could title this post, Three Days in One, or Sun Up to Sun Down, or This is Why We Live Here or better yet… Why I Drag Them Away from XBox Live.

Jewel and I were both up at the crack of dawn, before SIX A.M. and since we had some time to kill before the rest of the house woke up she suggested we go walk down to the beach. It’s a little over three miles down there and back up, and I knew she could handle it, so after consulting with Facebook it was determined we should most definitely go.  droid morning 002

You may recognize this scene, minus the horny peacock, from Tsunami Day. We took this road all the way down to the beach. droid 012 Where we enjoyed being the absolute only people on the entire beach. I did some yoga stretches and then buried Jewel in the sand. And we still have yet to see the sun. After a while we made our way back up the hill but not before Jewel was wishing that someone could drive her up. By the time we made it back home she said she won’t be doing it again, but was glad she did. I kind of remember feeling the same way my first time too, but it’s actually a pretty easy walk ……….and you can’t beat the scenery.

After getting home Jewel made herself a necklace, while I ate some health food.

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And I figured that would be it for our day, but then as much as I just wanted to watch Arrested Development on NetFlix ALL DAY long, I decided we needed to get out of the house together and to introduce the boys to Mr. Sun. I told them we WERE going outside and they could pick the place. Jake said Kailua, and then they were all ready and waiting on ME. It took us about an hour to get there, one long tunnel, and one rainforest.

Jake was hoping for the large waves that flow into the stream, but instead it was almost no waves and a sandbar separating the ocean from the stream.kailua & halona 031

The stream was green too, and smelly, so there was no playing in it today.kailua & halona 032

But no worries…. the ocean here is always turquoise blue and the sand is almost as fine as powder.

After a couple hours we went in search of food and then the boys said they were “ready to get back to Xbox Live”. They actually said those exact words. Ugh! I knew if we headed back at this point we would be stuck in traffic so they agreed it’d be better to hang on a beach for another hour or so, then to just sit in traffic. That’s when I remembered this little cove that I’ve always wanted to go to and I’ve already learned the best time to be on the beach here is between 5 and 7pm, while everyone else is eating supper, and before it gets dark, so I just knew we would love this spot, right at this moment.                                                 kailua & halona 042

It was BEYOND all expectations! It’s called Halona Beach Cove and is just around the rocks from the famous Halona Blowhole, and the filming site for the love scene in From Here to Eternity. For us, it was wicked cool fun! There’s only a small sandy area to play in the water and there were some teenagers in it when we got there so the kids climbed around the rocks first and explored as far as they dared, a cave.kailua & halona 062

The cave appeared to be about two hundred feet long, and even though we could see light at the end of the tunnel, we were not brave enough to follow it to the other side without a flashlight, so we definitely have to make another trip back.


Soon enough we were in the water and body surfing the waves in, managing to avoid all reef and rocks. I’m not afraid to admit, I played in the water more than anybody! The water temperature was perfect, the waves were perfect, and we even had great visibility for some snorkeling. The cove was full of rocks so it was also full of fish, and at least one sea turtle. While I was in the water swimming and the kids were climbing the rocks, Jake noticed a sea turtle right next me. He was eating seaweed off the side walls right up on the surface, and before I knew it Jake had my new crappy cell phone (not Droid) out and snapping pictures.


cell phone 006 This wall is also where we were jumping into the water from.

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I swear I felt like a kid yesterday. We’d body surf for a while, then climb up and over and around the rocks so we could jump in again. The best was Jonas and I holding hands and jumping in together.

Before long the local teenagers left and we had the cove all to ourselves. Occasionally some tourists would make the trek down into the cove and you could hear all the “this place is amazing” and “Wow!”s, and one even got in the water, but mostly they’d take their pictures and then go on to their next gorgeous sight. We were lucky enough to not have a thing to do or a place to go and we got to spend hours down in the cove.

We’re also in a lot of people’s vacation photos and videos, as both sides of the cove had scenic viewing areas directly overhead. wow….That’s a little uncomfortable to think about.


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The right side of the cove is where we spent ninety percent of our time. We jumped from that large rock into the water and also climbed it all the way around and out of the cove. At one point I had to rescue Jewel because she got herself scared stuck.  

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Jonas had my heart racing when he climbed out on the point. As wet as it was, was proof that waves could and would, crash over these rockskailua & halona 053 But all was good. It was hard tearing ourselves away from this cove but the fact that it would be pitch dark any minute got us going, so we shut the place the down.kailua & halona 078

A great day was had by all.

Monday, May 17

Mauna Lahilahi

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Mauna Lahilahi translates to “Thin Mountain”, and according to the locals this is the World’s smallest mountain. A couple months back I said I wanted to hike that mountain and ever since then every time we drive by it Jewel says, “Man, I really want to hike that mountain”. Now I don’t know if she’s saying that because she heard me say it or because it’s just screaming to be climbed, but today we decided was the day.

I did a brisk walk this morning up to the water tower and back, then figured we’d spend the afternoon at the beach. But then we remembered it was Sunday and since Jake only wants to go if he can surf, we figured we’d just wait until tomorrow after everyone goes back to school and work. (At least that sounded better then we were just plain lazy.) Then by about five Jewel was having a breakdown because she spelled a word wrong and Jake corrected her. I determined she was having saltwater withdrawals, so her and I took off for the beach, but brought hiking shoes just in case.

We headed straight for the mountain, and after walking almost all the way around it I had to ask a local on the beach how to get to the trail to go to the top. There’s a few paths but nothing that looked like an official hiking trail. Basically it was just find your own way up the mountain.

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About half way up we were treated to gorgeous views of Maunalahihi Beach Park and Waianae ValleyMaunalahilahi Hike 008

We trudged along pretty good, really enjoying the easy challenge of the rocks

Maunalahilahi Hike 015And then we hit a vertical wall and thought we were done, but we weren’t ready to give up yet and after a lot of debate we made the decision to tackle it.

Maunalahilahi Hike 018I was very scared to climb it for a few reasons. One: Not a soul except the homeless man on the beach knew where we were. Two: My daughter is only eight years old. Three: We’re in bathing suits

Carry on.

We made it up the wall and then our adrenaline was through the roof! Jewel was thanking me for bringing her on this hike, saying she wanted to remember this moment forever, and that this was a GREAT day. I’m thinking the same things, but I’m also thinking: Holy crap…where did I bring my baby? What if she slips? Hawaiian rocks are infamous for giving way and killing hikers. What if I fall?  What if it gets dark?

Maunalahilahi Hike 020  l’m literally shaking at this point and she’s all “Look…sailboats!”

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Looking inland offered perfect views of our valley. Top left are The Towers which is near our condo.

We walk a little more and then get to another vertical rock wall that I’m frankly too ill prepared too conquer. I had planned on looking for the geocache hidden at the summit, but considering our situation and my inexperience with this mountain we decided to turn back. I want to try it again when I have some pants on and maybe with someone that’s done it before, or at least without my baby. I could never live with myself if something happened to her and I already felt like we accomplished what we wanted to do. It was MUCH harder and scarier than I thought it would be, and am actually extremely proud of what us girls accomplished today.

One thing I didn’t expect on our way down though, was to get lost.

Maunalahilahi Hike 025 Can you see the trail in this picture? Yeah…neither could we.

We ended up going down the wrong rocks and having to climb back up and around. At this point Jewel’s starting to get a little worried, and it’s funny….her fears kicked me into power mode. I had to let my fears go and assure her we would get down safely, and before dark.

Maunalahilahi Hike 027 Then because we didn’t take the same route down we passed our water bottle I set down to free up my hands, so Jewel happily climbed back up to retrieve our water.

After our hike we walked down to Turtle Beach Maunalahilahi Hike 016

Where we enjoyed a sunset swim and snorkelMaunalahilahi Hike 037

Hawaii. Never a bad day.

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