I feel like the only pictures I post on Instagram now are of cute pets from work and hiking in Hawaii.  For a self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” I’ve really embraced the hiking opportunities here.  This tiny island can seem just that – tiny – so hiking is a cheap way to explore, to kill some time, and to get some fun exercise.  I’ve been challenging myself to go at least once a week and to even push the kids to come along on the less strenuous or challenging trails.

Here are the most recent hikes I have accomplished solo or with the family:

Koko Head Crater hike:  within the Hawaii Kai area of fancy houses, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful parks, there is a large peak with a visible line of people ascending the steep incline.  These 1,048 stairs of torture steps will take you to the peak of Koko Head Crater and give you amazing views of the island.  Everyone who hikes this trail admits that despite the climb, the views are worth it.

I’m going to level with you all:  if I did not have the the husband with me, I probably would have quit about 1/3 of the way up.  He encouraged me, told me I could not quit, and let me stop every time I needed to.  From the bottom, the steps and incline do not seem so daunting.  They are stairs, right?  This old military railway starts easy but quickly increases in elevation and steepness.  To add to this, the stairs are not consistent in length and size; while this is a nice reprieve at times, it can also be very challenging.  Then, there is a short pass over an open drop of at least 20 feet.  If you can keep moving and not focus on the spaces between the railroad ties, it passes quickly (I did crab walk this on the way down.  I was afraid that the downward momentum would cause me to step between ties).  The last hundred or so steps are nearly straight up in incline, and this is probably the worst part.  But once you are at the top – huzzah!  I am master of everything!  There is nothing I cannot do!  Of course, one must climb those same steps down, but the hardest part was over.

I call this my “one and done” hike, but I could be persuaded to do it again.  Maybe.

IMG_2521 – Lanikai Pillbox trail:  when I have a day off and can put aside all errands/tasks for another day, I like to tackle a popular hike.  This ensures that while doing it solo, I am still around plenty of people in the event I injure myself (not yet, knock on wood).  This trailhead is located in the residential area of Lanikai and is short at less than 2 miles roundtrip.  As I attempted to find a parking spot, I saw busloads of tourists walking to the entrance.  I highly recommend trying this during the week, as many residents block off their street parking during the weekends.

IMG_2511This is a gorgeous trail with just the right amount of difficulty.  There are signs at the
beginning about the dangers of heat here.  There is literally no shade after you pass through the trees at the trailhead.  It was hot!  For those with small children who need to be carried – please do not take them on this one.  It is not the difficulty to worry about but the heat; I saw and heard so many children 3 and younger crying and red from heat and exhaustion.  I’m not telling anyone what to do, but keep them home and shaded for this one!  This is a ridge trail that inclines, plateaus, inclines, plateaus, and throws a few rocky areas to climb over and around.  That being said, the entire trail and views were AMAZING.  Kailua and Lanikai are truly picturesque.  I took a book (of course) and could have stayed there all day if there was any shade (or if there were less people).  I talked to a fellow hiker, and he pointed out that the ridge trail continues further inland and all the way down to Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo.  I ventured a little farther on this trail but was forced back by the heat.  For another day…

– Haleiwa shoreline:  we conned the kids into this one.  We called it a hike, but it was really more of a beach walk.  We started at the Haleiwa Beach park and ventured right past the sea wall.  You can either follow the trail through the trees or can follow the shoreline.  We chose the shoreline and let the kids explore.  They found crabs, shells, and rocks that we refused to add to a rock collection (Lorelei is a hoarder, I swear).  The winter season is approaching on the North Shore, so the waves were huge!  We even stumbled on the beach used to film scenes for “Lost.”  This was a great way to get the kids outside and to kill some time by the ocean.  And we of course ruined our exercise by getting tacos at Surf & Salsa afterwards, our favorite food truck.  Tacos are the perfect food!

IMG_2576  – Likeke Falls:  Long story behind this one – I have now attempted this trail 3 times.  I’ve either gotten lost or rained out, but not this time.  The trailhead is located adjacent to the parking lot of the Ko’olau Golf Club and Convention Center.  There are occasionally signs warning hikers about parking in the lot, so we parked down the hill and on the side of the road.  There is a chain blocking off a trail – this is your starting point (Side note:  you can also reach this by descending from the Pali Highway, but who wants to climb at the END of the hike?).

Andy and I took Lorelei and Addie on this one.  Yes, it was raining – but we said to hell with it and did it anyways.  We passed the graffiti-covered water tank and navigated up a short trail.  It was muddy, wet, difficult to navigate, and smelly (from pigs/standing water/nature as a whole).  But the girls loved splashing around, and the hike was really short.  Likeke Falls is one of those lesser known gems and totally worth the rain and mud.   The rain made this a decent waterfall, and it was less crowded than other waterfall hikes we have accomplished.  We made it down with only one of us falling (me, in the water at the fall), only one who cried (Lorelei when she ALMOST fell in the water), and learning how large leaves are nature’s paper napkins (Addie made that up).  A fun and easy hike for the 4 of us.

There are so many days where I am hiking/researching hikes and wondering, Who is this person?  I cannot explain it but to say that hiking is a great way to exercise and also see so much more of our current home.  I may sniff and sneeze through the trails (damn allergies), and I may hate myself when scaling a steep and slippery incline.  The end and reward is always worth it.  What is next for this newly adventurous girl?  I’m hoping the next hike happens on Kauai – stay tuned!

IMG_2476And here is a cute puppy for good measure.  🙂


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