City Exploration: Alapena Falls (or what I thought was Kapena Falls)

O'ahu is an oasis in the middle of the Pacific that contains numerous outdoor adventures for all skill levels.  If you are a water lover, there are countless beaches for you to swim, surf, sail, fish, or relax at.  If you are more of a land dweller, there is a trail (official or unofficial) that can be found in just about every part of the island---including the middle of the city.  Today, we took a mini hiking adventure right off of the Pali Highway...minutes away from office buildings, apartments, churches, and temples---proving there are natural gems hiding where we least expect them.

Kapena Falls was the location (or so I thought) of our mosquito ridden photo shoot/hike today.  I stumbled across this mini trail via Instagram.  There I was just scrolling through waterfall photo after waterfall photo when someone was finally kind enough to mention the name of the waterfall they were at---Kapena Falls.  That's what I read and researched.  I had not heard of this, so I looked…

Tantalus Exploration: Manoa Cliff Trail

This weeks Thursday trail took us up Round Top Drive, better known as Tantalus.  Recently we explored the Pu'u Ohia and Moleka Trails, also near the top of Tantalus.  The last on my Tantalus list to be explored was the Manoa Cliff Trail.  Mud, mainland-esque forest, bamboo, plant labeling, Diamond Head and Ko'olau Mountain views...not to mention hiking on a cliff.  Sometimes the cliff is a gradual (not scary one).  Other times the cliff is an "oh crap" one (as in don't think about the "Hazardous Cliff" warning sign that mentions possible death).  Ah, O'ahu hiking---always keeps you on your toes!

This week my hiking partner and I were on a limited time schedule due to summer school pick up.  But...we had to squeeze in a hike before the mid day pick up time!  We decided on Manoa Cliff because I knew we could do part of the trail in the small amount of time we had...and who doesn't love a little adrenaline rush in the morning (better than coffee!)…

Cliff Exploration: Pali Puka

If you hike O'ahu trails with any frequency, you make a mental list of trails that are  1) your favorite  2) your least favorite  3) easy  4) challenging  5) great to take friends/family that visit  6) long  7) wet  8) picturesque 9) must do 10) EPIC 

For me, Pali Puka falls under the category of EPIC.  It also, until this past Sunday, fell under the category of "must do" on my hiking list.  I'm so happy and lucky to have checked this one off the list.  If you have never heard of the Pali Puka trail, please take a moment now to Google, YouTube, look up Instagram hashtags for this hike...  
Right?!  Now that you are back from your Internet field trip, you are thinking 1-my pictures are nowhere near as good as other pictures out there from this same trail and 2-I'm crazy. Both are true.

And now I will type up my extreme words of caution, my disclaimer, my warning...
This hike is NOT for those who have a fear of heights.  It's NOT for young children.  It IS for …

East and West Pillbox Exploration: Sunrise and Sunset

Hiking on O'ahu is fun and the views are stellar, but sometimes I like to take it up a notch and experience some favorite past hikes at sunrise and sunset.  I've seen trails that I've been on numerous times change with the season---fruits appearing and disappearing, plant overgrowth, or mud from wet weather can really change a familiar trail---just as going for a sunrise or sunset hike can change an ordinary trail into a sit and stay awhile for the view trail.

Recently I took the family to a westside favorite, Pu'u O Hulu (or the Pink Pillbox Trail) in Maili, for a sunset hike.  The benefit of doing this hike at sunset is twofold---it is less hot late in the day while trekking up the mountainside, and the artistry and colors from the actual sunset of course.  

We weren't the only ones to have this bright idea.  We found the trail was filled with other hikers looking to capture a Hawaiian sunset from the top of this beautiful westside mountain top.  There were othe…