Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kane'ohe Exploration: Pu'u Ma'eli'eli

First day of school intersession, we laced up our oldest, dirtiest sneakers, filled our water bottles, packed our snacks, and headed over the mountains to windy and cloudy Kane'ohe for a hike!

Pu'u Ma'eli'eli or the digging hill trail, was an uphill, muddy at times, root filled, berry filled, view filled hiking adventure. We had a large group by our standards---three adults and three boys (two teens and a preschooler). We made it up in pretty good time (under 45 minutes) and cruised on top of the Pillbox at the end of the hike for a long time taking in the sweeping coastline view. To our left, Chinaman's Hat (Mokoli'i), to our far right Rabbit Island (Manana), in front of us Kane'ohe Marine Corp Base and Kane'ohe Bay. 

Although the weather was good for hiking, not too humid, not too hot, it made for a slightly blurred and overcast view from the top. We were all already wowed with the view on a drizzly gray day---a testament to how amazing this view must be on a perfect clear day. So you know we will be going back!

I'm guessing this hike was around three miles. I'd read online anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 to 3 miles. The mileage doesn't really matter, it's the terrain on this hike that can cause some slight distress. The beginning mud hill was fairly easy to get up, but coming down---let's just say we would have made the winning tape for "America's Funniest Home Video". Almost everyone in the group fell at some point. No injuries, just shaken pride and muddy butts. 

There were also sections of the trail with many roots (my nemesis from the time I had to be valiantly escorted by firefighters off a trail...)

Thankfully there were no firefighters involved in yesterday's hike.


Like all the Pillbox hikes on O'ahu, we got to enjoy some serious graffiti art. Wolves were the specialty for this set of Pillboxes. 

On the hike down we discovered a rustic tree swing that none of us could resist swinging on. The perfect carefree way to end a trail that I fell in love with. 

We all really dig...the digging hill in Kane'ohe. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tunnels and Aloha: A Return to Waimano and Hamama

In my previous post I gushed about my birthday eve hike to Hanauma Bay Ridge. On my actual birthday however, I spent part of the afternoon exploring the upper portion of Waimano Trail---it has tunnels! And zombie intel...apparently they exist. 

We met new hiking friends at the trail head in Pearl City (across from Pearl City High School) and began our hike a little after lunch time with three kids all under age five between us. They were all great hiking companions...and the perfect heights for the tunnels we explored.

I have done the lower portion of this hike a couple of times, but for some reason never ventured to the upper trail, which after exploring a portion of it, I think I prefer. 

There were lush views of the valley, flowers and berries along the trail, old rock walls for added interest, a couple of sweeping views of West O'ahu, and the perfect snapshot/snacking bench. 

Flashlights and hard hats suggested for these tunnels. Flashlights to see...hard hats to protect your noggin (especially if you are over four feet tall). I successfully bonked and thunked the top of my head twice. I guess I'm a slow learner. This trail seemed designed for the mini explorer in your life. All three kids loved the sights and feeling brave after going through each tunnel. We explored five tunnels in total (technically four since the fifth was filled with murky, uninviting water). Apparently, the trail continues and more tunnels are ready to be explored...saving that adventure for a later date...

The second hike I returned to this past week was Hamama Falls in Kahalu'u. Driving into Kaneohe and past the old Hygenic store on Kamehameha Hwy, there is a side street near Kahalu'u Elementary school that leads you to neighborhood parking for a hike up a few steep inclines to the finale---Hamama Falls. 

This hike is on private property and has seen better days. The last time I did this hike with my boys it was not overgrown, very well maintained, and an obvious popular swimming hole hangout. Times have changed.

Now, there are fallen trees to hurtle over, sad old reminants of fun summer days past and of tree swings over the water, horse droppings (that this girl unsuccessfully avoided...a hiking first), and a general vibe of disarray and abandonment. But, we persisted on...

Although the path to the falls appeared different from my last trip, the falls themselves had not changed, so we stayed for a bit taking them in and enjoying our day with two special guests that joined in on the Valentines Day hiking fun. Thanks for joining us Amanda and Sarah! 

A "Galentines" Day hike...

with Aloha

...and a stuffed Honu.

I've learned that returning to hikes I have done previously gives me perspective, refreshes my memory, and is a great way to celebrate a birthday and Valentines Day. And sometimes you find tunnels of discovery and aloha that you never new existed before.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

East Honolulu Exploration: Hanauma Bay Ridge

This week it was my birthday. Of course, I had to commemorate the occasion with a hike---an Eastside trek on my birthday eve with my Thursday Trail buddy and my five year old Zach. 

I successfully survived the first year of my forties. The big 4-0 last year was filled with many different hikes around O'ahu. Going with the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", I'm determined to start my 41st cycle around the sun, the way I spent most of last year---exploring the island I love one hike at a time (and maybe throwing in some food destinations while I'm at it). 

We started my pre-birthday hike early in the morning. We had a quasi plan of how/where to park, as well as how/where to start the trail of this quasi restricted hike. 

Apparently hiking the ridge above beautiful Hanauma Bay is frowned upon...

Which is too bad, because it is extremely gorgeous and fun to do. 

But sometimes you have to persist

This hike was definitely a lesson in persistence. Although we started early after parking for $1 in the Hanauma Bay parking lot, it quickly became scorchingly hot. And the terrain on the way up was steep. And the terrain on the way down was rocky. 

And still we persisted

This hike was hard because of the following factors:

1. "Prohibited"
2. Blazing sun
3. Uphill battles, I mean climbs (not once, but several times)
4. Tantrum from the five year old (hand holding and a handful of M&Ms calmed him down)
5. We didn't exactly know where we were going. 😬

But we persisted

And we were rewarded with stunning views of Diamond Head, Koko Head, Koko Marina, the Ka Iwi Coastline, Hanauma Bay, the sparking ocean, Maui, and Lana'i. 

Of course my iPhone photos won't do the sights justice. You will just have to take my word for it that it was breathtaking. 

All the scenic views, and a few other factors, made this one of my most memorable hikes yet: 

1. There were zero mosquitos to contend with. Bonus! 
2. I broke in my new hiking boots and hiking socks even more. Extra bonus! 
3. I checked off a hike from my "Hiking Bucket List". Bonus bonus! 
4. We had a birthday hike photo shoot. 
5. We took a risk that paid off. 


And to top off all of the cool sights, hard work, and tantrum enduring...we demolished authentic sub sandwiches from Jersey Mikes in Hawaii Kai. 

All in all, a fantastic way to kick off 41. Hanauma Bay ridge trail, pre-birthday festivities, Jersey sub sandwiches, and persistence are a winning combination. I think persistence will be my mantra for forty-one, so far it has served me well.