Saturday, August 28

Makapu’u Tidepools

When it came to looking for hikes on Oahu I was first focused primarily on the most popular hikes, then I switched to hikes that ended with a waterfall. After doing a few waterfall hikes here I learned that Oahu is indeed not a great island for spectacular waterfalls. While I’ve enjoyed the hike itself much more than the waterfalls, the kids want that special treat at the end. So, I was pretty excited when I found this secret route to the Makapu’u tidepools and then when I mentioned to the kids that we would be getting up early the next morning to do it, they were all equally eager for it.

The kids and I had done the hike out to the Makapu’u lighthouse back when we were here in 2004, but I never knew about the deep tidepools down below it. The hike up to the lighthouse was easy since it was paved the whole way, but this secret hike takes you around the mountain, along it’s rocky shoreline.

Makap'u hike me & kids Makapu'u Lighthouse

Isn’t Jonas adorable in his little bonnet?

Anyway, I was so energized to start our day and had planned on leaving at seven, but expected more like eight. We didn’t leave until about nine thirty but since we were hiking to water, I wasn’t too concerned with the late start. Then I miss my very first exit to the other side of the island, but quickly get back on the right road. To then make yet another wrong turn on the other side of the island which forced me back through the mountain, via long tunnel, right back to the other side of the island. I said screw that way, let’s take the loooong way around and enjoy the southeast coast. Finally around NOON we hit the trailhead.

Makapu'u Hike 027Instinctively the kids took off ahead and headed straight up the road. I had to call them back and tell them we’re going down, not up, this time.

While everyone else went up the road, we veered off this rocky trail and headed straight for Pele’s Chair, that rocky peak straight ahead towards the coast. Some locals stopped us and told us there was no way to get to the pools we were wanting to from this direction, that we’d have to go up to the lighthouse and then straight down the mountainside, but I knew it could be done and was determined to make it happen. Plus I knew walking along the rocky coast would be more fun and scenic anyway then going on a blacktop path.

As usual Jake took off ahead of us and by the time we got to Pele’s Chair I wasn’t even sure where he went. Then he popped around some rocks and also declared the hike along the coast IMPOSSIBLE. Not to be deterred I had to see for myself…of course.


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While not, impossible….it was WAY too dangerous. After climbing over some questionable rocks that could easily break away with no warning, and then hitting this wall, along with the very large waves battering the coast, I had to agree….. and called off the rest of this hike.

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Even if we safely made it past this turn there was just more waiting for us. On a calmer day we could have walked in the water but as it was we would have just been pounded into the rocks. Luckily there was a great little cove to the right of Pele’s Chair where we could at least get in the water and cool off!

Makapu'u cove pan

We didn’t go the normal beach route though….we had to do it local style! By jumping from the rocks, of course. And as usual….Jonas was the first one to hit the water.

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Jake was grumpy because he said he was finally excited about a hike and now we can’t do it, so at first he refused to even join us in the water. The temptation must have become too strong though because he did eventually join us, but he still acted like he was miserable and this place was just NO FUN!

Which the local teenagers would have to disagree wholeheartedly with.

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Jumping from a telephone pole stuck into rocks ten feet above the water into a child’s innertube. Now that’s what the locals call FUN! They were also throwing soda bottles on the water and jumping on them to see how high they would rocket back up out of the water.

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But there was no pleasing my boy, so we stayed only about thirty minutes. With the promise of Pizza Hut, my new teen did eventually come around to his usual cool self.

First, a quick sightseeing walk along Waimanalo Beach:

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Then some fish taco’s with pineapple salsa:

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It was a rough day. I enjoyed everything we did, but it’s getting stressful that the boys never seem to want to do ANYTHING anymore except play videogames. All they wanted to do was come to Hawaii, yet I have to beg and plead with them to go to the beach. THE BEACH! What kid doesn’t want to do that? Even when they do go to the beach one of the boys are usually asking to go home within an hour.

I’m being patient, though.

Friday, August 27

Diamond Head Crater


White Plains 028 Diamond Head Crater is probably THE most recognizable landmark in all of Oahu. We see it from thirty miles away as we leave the Westside and hit the South Shore, yet as noticeable and famous as it is, there was nothing really drawing me to it. It was just another tourist trap that I needed to avoid, in my mind. Then I saw a picture taken from the top. Two days later we were hiking it.

diamondhead 003 We opted to drive into the crater, through a tunnel, and pay the 5$ parking fee. Otherwise people park outside or take The Bus, and add a long walk in the heat, on hot blacktop. No thank you. Our first view of the top is just shortly after the trailhead entrance, way up there in the top right of the above photo. I’m so used to green Hawaii I sure wasn’t expecting all this brown, but apparently they don’t get much rain over here.

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It starts off long, winding, dusty and hot. And did I say hot and dusty?

diamondhead 006This was our first time using the Camelbak we bought from the Pearl City Goodwill…… four months ago. Can I get a big YeeHaw! for the Camelbak? The kids actually semi-fought over who would carry it! I’m used to carrying frozen bottles of water for everyone so this was a NICE change for me. I didn’t carry anything but my camera.

Diamond Head Crater pan

About halfway up we started seeing views of the interior that really started to define the crater, along with stunning views of all the houses creeping up the hillsides.

Just when we were panting good and hard, we hit our first set of stairs.

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Which led us into a 225 foot long tunnel, to another set of even steeper and longer stairs.

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Can you see how excited Jewel is about this set of stairs?

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She’s actually fretting over how much she’s sweating.

And where in the world is Jake? As hard as he tried, he couldn’t go as slow as us, and after finally completing all the stairs and then a three story high spiral staircase in an old Army bunker, we finally met up with him at the top. Only it wasn’t the TOP, top.

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We popped out at a bunker opening and then the boys decided to just stay there while Jewel and I went on to the very top bunker.

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We also met back up with Annie, who also felt that Jonas, Jewel and I were too slow and had taken off ahead of us with Jake.

diamondhead 042 They enjoyed some much needed shade time, while overlooking Waikiki.

diamondhead 045 Jewel and I went on and faced the crowd at the top on our own.diamondhead 035

Jewel is modeling the view directly south, and then as we make our walk back down the view is to the northeast, which includes, I believe, Cocohead Crater. (Another hike I would like to do before leaving the island).

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Ahhhh…..heading down is so much easier. It’s so easy that it’s easy to get careless, and in my magnificent hiking shoes (strappy crocs), I slipped right on some loose gravel and landed right on my butt! But I was like a cat and bounced up so fast the people behind me barely had time to gasp.

I ran before I could hear them laugh.

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Upon returning to the trailhead the kids always seem to have enough energy to climb trees. Hmmmm.

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After resting in the shade for a while we left to grab some food and ended up finding a perfect spot, right along Ala Wai Canal in downtown Honolulu, to have a peaceful, shady picnic lunch.

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Overall impressions of the Diamond Head hike:

Jake: Long and sweaty

Jonas: Ehhh…..there was hardly anything at the end…….and…….I’m not a big fan of hikes.

Jewel: Yeah! I really liked it! but it did make me tired.

Me: Better than expected! Would be even better if done very early in the morning, when it’s cooler and with less people. I loved it for the uniqueness of the stairs and the tunnels and the switchbacks, and of course the gorgeous views at the top. I also disagree about it being a tourist trap, we learned a lot about the Military’s history in this crater that we didn’t even know existed beforehand. So…..good for the body, good for the mind, good for the senses, and good for the soul. That’s what I call a Good Hike.

Tuesday, August 3

Makaha Valley Hiking

My main computer, that holds my three thousand and two pictures I've taken over the last six months here in Hawaii, got a nasty virus (which I still need to call Dell about), which means I'm off the hook from stressing about all those blog posts I kept meaning to write. I'm worried about losing all those pictures, but it is nice being able to start my head, at least. I would love to be able to write daily or at least every other day about our goings on's but I usually stop myself because I want to get caught up from that day at the beach two months ago or Jacob's entrance into the teen years that happened in MAY or a picture story of the first time I tried a stand up paddle board......or swimming with dolphins and sea turtles. But first....I'll do today:

Let's see......we're still in Hawaii, although we almost weren't. We aren't having any luck finding a sailboat here and we find so many great deals in California, it almost makes sense to go back to the mainland to work and find our boat there, but it seems Hawaii isn't done with us yet, so we're still here....for now. I imagine it'll still be another couple months before we find THE boat, we're still learning and figuring out what we want vs what we need. BTW....boat shopping MUCH MORE difficult than RV shopping.

I slacked off a little on my walks but yesterday convinced Jonas and Jewel to hike back into Waianae Valley with me and my friend, Annie. I was told there are ponds up in the streams and if we're lucky we can find an Icy Pond. So with the lure of these secret ponds the kids were actually pretty eager to go. All except Jake. He wrangled his rope like arms and legs around the bar stool frame and clung on for dear life, stating: "I just woke up and I don't want to go". It was already after 9 and I had wanted to be on the trail by 7 as to avoid the heat, so I stopped begging and let him be.

First we walked up to the water tower where we waited for Annie.

Hiding in the Shade
While waiting the kids found the only shade they could, along an ancient three foot high wall. As soon as Annie caught up to us we took off into the valley and across our first dry stream.
Before the Fall
Where Jonas promptly slipped on loose sand and gravel and fell HARD right on his back. The picture was taken just seconds before the fall. Jonas is a tough kid and doesn't like to show weakness, but he was hurting something fierce. I had him lie down in a soft bed of leaves for a while before slowly getting him back on his feet. I figured we'd have to turn around at this point, but after about thirty minutes he was ready to go on we went.
Huge Arrowhead
I couldn't decide if this giant rock looked more like a dinosaur footprint or an arrowhead. It does look a lot like the footprint we saw in Utah. Only much larger.
Up Country
After the stream we walked along a dirt trail in the trees and scrub for a while, before coming to the largest Mango tree we've ever seen. There were literally thousands of mango seeds under it's umbrella that had been ravaged by the wild pigs. Not one edible mango to be found.

After walking another mile or so we pop out into a perfectly landscaped parking lot! It's the Kane'aki Heiau (temple) that we visited back in February. Now we could have driven to this point, but the heiau is only open certain hours, these not being them, plus we wanted the hike. We walked right past the heiau and it's two gardeners and ran smack dab into this gate:
I would have stopped here but Annie showed us how to cling to the side of the fence hovering over the stream twenty feet below and swing ourselves around. It's all her fault.
Now we're on a paved road leading up to a city of Honolulu well. I didn't know we'd be on a road. I was hoping we'd be in the rain forests by now! Luckily it's kind of overcast and breezy so the uphill hike isn't too too bad for the kids. We do stop often for breaks. We are also on the look out for fruit and coffee. We need some breakfast.

We found a Jabon tree with plenty of jabon's on them, they just weren't ripe yet. We'll definitely be going back in a couple weeks to pick us some of those monsters. Here's a link with some great pictures of the monster jabon's. We did pick one to bring home with us to examine. :-)
We also found Lilikoi!
Bitter beer Face
We picked all we found, about a dozen that were on the ground, and ate a few along the trail. They were different. Sweet, but sour, and a little like pomegrants in their texture. I'll like them better mixed in fruit smoothies, rather than just by themselves. They are a type of passion fruit. Another tree we learned about on this hike were the coffee trees. I know they are abundant here but I never knew which ones they were, and now I do and now I can't wait to find some ripe beans to send to my mom.

After taking a slight detour to find the Lilikoi we found ourselves off trail and bouldering straight up the stream.
Bouldering up the Stream
In between the boulders
Waianae Valley stream
Resting on the boulders
Break Time
While Annie and I could climb these boulders all day, it wasn't the easiest thing for the kids, plus we were all in crocs & flip flops. I could just see one of us getting our foot jammed under moving boulders. Finally we found our way back to the road, but by this time the sun was really blaring. I asked Jo0nas if he wanted to turn around but he actually said....We've come this far, can't stop! I was impressed with him. He hurt his back really bad, hates hiking, hates being in the sun, yet wanted to continue on in our search for some water to jump in.

We've been hiking for about three hours at this point and there isn't even a trickle in the stream, so hopes of finding a water filled pond are not looking good. We're still on a water company road and it's just getting steeper so I finally make the call to turn it around.
As we're walking back down a City of Honolulu truck is making it's way up and I try to ignore him as I walk by but he stops me anyway. He just kind of scolds me, I play stupid, and we keep on walking.
Monkey Jewel
At the heiau I take some pictures of Jewel and Annie in the trees and then we look for our trail that leads us back over to the water tower. We failed. We ended back up in another creek with big, loose boulders, and by this time it is really, really hot and our feet our hurting us. Jewel may have started to whine a little bit. If it wasn't her, it would have been me. We now have to turn around, and cut through the thick brush rather than tackling anymore of the stream, and find the trail. Thankfully it didn't take too long, and another thirty minutes later and we were back at the large mango tree. The kids were never so excited to see a tree.

Getting back to our side of the valley was nice, since we knew we were on the last stretch, but it was two in the afternoon now, there wasn't a cloud in sight, and no breeze to cool our sweat. It was probably the worst part, and we just couldn't wait to get to the watertower and start heading back downhill.
Jonas even managed to hitch a ride with Annie.
We ended the hike swimming in the pool at the Towers for about an hour before we had to slip our crocs back on and walk the last half mile home. Don't think I didn't almost ask Annie to drive us back...cause I almost did. We didn't get to see any icy ponds, but we learned a lot about the foliage here in Hawaii that we didn't know. Jonas learned that he's a lot tougher than he gives himself credit for. We got to try new exotic fruit, and learn even more after coming home to research them further. We had an excellent workout, with beautiful scenery, and good company. So even though the kids will never do that hike again, it was worth every ache and mosquito bite.
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