Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Northshore Exploration: Pu'u O Mahuka

Today's adventure brought me to O'ahu's northshore---Pupukea, above Waimea to be more precise. There is a hiking trail at the end of the road behind Pupukea Foodland that I have done, but today my time was limited---my outing needed to be accomplished before noon, so I decided on a return to Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau.

Heiau is defined as a sacred historic Hawaiian temple. Pu'u O Mahuka is the largest heiau on O'ahu and translates to mean 'hill of escape'. It definitely felt like I was escaping the city and modern life today. It's beautiful here. 

Besides the gorgeous view, there were plants, leis, and offerings laid respectfully to honor ancestors. 

The trail around the rock walls of the heiau enable visitors to take in the Waianae Mountains, Waimea Bay, Waimea Valley, and the horizon on the Pacific Ocean. The weather was perfect for the walk down the path that led to another vantage point of Waimea waves crashing on big black rocks below.

And of course, no mountain trail (regardless of length) is complete without discovering a graffitied Pillbox. 

Although, not technically a hike, the trip to Pu'u O Mahuka was outdoors, I got to walk amongst the trees, see mountains, and breathe in the salt water air---all the things I love about hiking on O'ahu. trip to the northshore would be complete without a pitstop to Brew and Foam for coffee. I even bought another new hat for my outdoor adventures. Hashtag Wonderful Wednesday!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Besties, Birthdays, Bridges, and Bays: Hanauma Bay Ridge Revisited

There are some hikes you do that you almost immediately forget about. While you are on the trail, they are nice, but sometimes there is nothing terribly memorable or appealing about the path and scenery. That is NOT the case for the 3.5 miles of Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail. This past weekend I returned to the same trail I did for my birthday hike last month. This time it was for my best gal pals big 40th birthday hike. 

The weather couldn't have been better---blue skies with a slight breeze were the perfect conditions to do this uphill/downhill/rocky/no shade (save one lonely Kiawe bush) trail.

Since this was round two on this trail for me, I thought I would be better prepared. It's true I found parking and the trailhead with zero problems. But, that initial hill in the beginning...still wore me out! I tried to  pace myself and even ended up walking backwards part of the time...which totally backfired when I lost my footing and tumbled abruptly onto my butt. No injuries sustained, just several hearty laughs and some asphalt pebbles on my palms. 

Since it was just me and the bestie hiking (no kiddos), we did make good time back down the rocky terrain, through the only flat ground portion of the trail, and back up another hill to what was the end point of my previous hike on Hanauma Bay Ridge. A check of the clock told us we had time to explore a bit more. And I'm so grateful we did. Down more steep rocks we went and before we knew it we found ourselves where the land and the ocean meet. We also discovered a natural bridge that extended over rapid churning waters. We stumbled onto epic scenery and I was giddy with excitement. I love a surprise!

Of course epic scenery called for an epic photo shoot. We did not want the day to end with us becoming a catastrophic selfie statistic, so we quit while we were ahead, took a gazillion mental pictures and moved on to the last lookout that was beside a beautiful natural cave with waves crashing and A'ama crab scuttling all about. 

We both enjoyed every minute of this (challenging for me) hike. I did my fair share of huffing, puffing, and rest stops, but I made it to the end and back and was lucky enough to share the experience with my best friend. I'm sure we will both remember this hike for awhile. 

Although I am pretty much singing the praises of this hike, I do acknowledge that it can be dangerous. It's not a hike for everyone. The hills and heat can be rough on little kids or older adults. Bring water! The path to the ocean is uneven. Wear shoes with good traction! You could encounter rogue waves, in which case your hike may turn into a swim. Wear a life jacket! Just kidding. But definitely know your limits. Always take a hiking partner with you. Call your bestie to come along! And if they are more experienced and in better shape (as was the case for me), great! Tell people what your plans are. I had my phone with me, but of course I had no reception. If we had gotten into trouble, both our spouses knew exactly where we were and what we were doing. 

That being said...the magnificence of nature really stole the show on Saturday. 
Being swept to sea didn't seem like the worst way to go with such an epic backdrop. 

Here's to not being swept away, but getting carried away from time to time, and sharing a gazillion more epic adventures---happy birthday bestie~ 

After hike birthday bash---we had to celebrate being alive! 😉


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Honolulu Exploration: Makiki Valley Loop Trail

Tuesday Trail: Makiki Edition. We added another hiking buddy to today's trail. After a whiny, complaining, hungry, and multiple trips/non-serious falls from the five year old---let's hope she decides to join us again! 

Makiki Valley Loop Trail is a 2.5 mile trail that actually consists of three individual trails. Kanealole Trail is .7 miles of uphill trail over roots and rocks with sights of a stream and bamboo. Kanealole meets up with Makiki Valley Loop Trail that is a 1.1 mile series of gradual switchbacks that meets up with three other trails at a junction of "which way should we go". But, in order to return to our car parked by The Hawaii Nature Center, we headed down the final part of today's hike on Maunalaha Trail. Maunalaha was another .7 miles of downhill hiking (uphill if you take the loop counterclockwise). This section of the three in one trail was my favorite. Big roots, big trees, big shade, peek-a-boo views of Honolulu and the Pacific in the distance, and of course it was the last leg of the hike!

This loop trail was much better than that other popular loop (Aiea). It was less muddy, better maintained, shorter, and all around more enjoyable. 

Even though this trail is not too difficult and is kid-friendly, my little Zachy was not feeling like a happy hiker today (maybe he needs a break 😳). 

But we persisted and we conquered Makiki despite a few obstacles...and rewarded ourselves with some silly pictures...and a stop to Liliha Bakery for a world famous coco puff. It was Pi Day after all (3/14 to be interpreted 3.1415926...). So we indulged in all things circular and pie like---loop trails and coco puffs! 😉

If you've never done any of the trails in the Makiki Trail system, I recommend it. These trails are great for beginners, great workouts on those humid/vog filled days, and an excuse to stop in to the always popular Liliha Bakery (it's so good that I went off diet for it).

Happy Pi Day!