A Sunday at Makapu’u Lighthouse

I have never been an outdoor person, but I LOVE hiking on this island. Maybe it is the gorgeous views on practically every ridge or peak. It could be all the plant life and greenery that still seems foreign to this Midwest girl. I know that it is the combination of exploration and physical activity; I much prefer exercise that is entertaining.

Ka Iwi shoreline from Makapu'u Lighthouse
Gorgeous, right?

The reasons do not matter. I am just enjoying it while I live here. And luckily, two of my kids are enjoying it as much as I am!

Two out of four of my children – 50% is pretty good, right?

We recently took Addie and Leo out to the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail. The last time we were here, I took all the kids. Leo was in a stroller. The older girls complained. It was hot. This time, Leo did nearly the entire trail on his own, and Addie was so quick that we had to tell her to slow down more than once. Funny how things change.

We like Makapu’u Lighthouse in the winter (yes, Hawaii has a winter season) because it is cooler. This trail has no tree cover, so that tropical sun gets hot quickly. It is a paved uphill trail and relatively short in length and elevation, making this an easier hike for little kids. It clocks in at a mere 500 feet elevation and 1.5 miles roundtrip, and I’m always impressed when tiny legs can make the entire hike. True to its name, there is a lighthouse at the peak of the trail. You cannot hike to it, due to safety issues, but it is still viewable along with the Ka Iwi Shoreline. On a clear day, you can see even see the islands of Lanai and Molokai in the distance.

But the best part of the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail in the winter is the opportunity for whale watching. Every December through May, humpback whales migrate to the area for the warmer water and to breed. It takes a good deal of patience to spot them. But if you are lucky, you will see spout of water or a fin come out of the water. It is so cool to see! Kids and adults love it; in fact, I think the husband enjoys it more than the kids.

On our latest hike here, we viewed whales and a turtle. The weather was perfect – just a little overcast and a cool breeze from the coast. Addie enjoyed stopping at each information point on the trail to educate us on whales and sea life, since she loves animals and wishes to be a zookeeper like Robert Irwin. Leo found every flower and slug along the trail. Andy used patience I did not know he had to find the whales each time they surfaced. I kept everyone hydrated and lugged a tired toddler on my back for part of the way down.

It was a great afternoon, one that I will fondly remember.

There was nothing special about this day. We hike when we can and often take at least one child with us. We have seen whales before. But I love these experiences because I am able to have them.

My children have sacrificed in this military life in so many ways. But they have also been able to experience so much: from traveling around the country and world to speaking multiple languages to learning about new cultures and people, they are so fortunate.

And I am equally fortunate to be able to provide this and experience it with them. It is this knowledge that helps me when the days are tough. Living in Hawaii is not always fun, no matter what my pictures portray. This tiny island challenges me daily. But I still cannot believe I get to live here, for whatever time I have, and I am trying to enjoy each experience while I can.

A Sunday at Makapu’u Lighthouse: nothing extraordinary, yet a memorable experience indeed.
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