After weeks of rain and negligible amounts of activity, we were super excited to get out on this trail.  And it did turn out to be pretty fun.  But the first half was crazy muddy, and we brought the dogs.  And the kids.  And me.  Just really not a good combination.  James and Austin were the only ones not acting like the mud wouldn’t swallow them up whole.  What can I say?  I have my prissy moments.

So anyway, we headed to the trail and entered the Keaiwa Heiau State Park.  We knew nothing about the area going into our hike, and we were rewarded with beautiful Norfolk pines and eucalyptus trees. (You know I found that info on the state park webpage.)  Right in the below pictured area, there were covered pavilions with barbecue grills.  It really seems like a fun area to visit.

Past the pavilions, you drive along the paved path to get to the four campsites and the Aiea Loop trailhead.

We stopped here because I saw a bathroom!  And Momma had to pee.

To the right were many picnic tables, and I assume this is the campsite area?

The bathroom wasn’t anything fancy, but it did the job.

The rest of the fam joined me so we could get started on our trail.

These two couldn’t have been more excited.  I mean that, really.  Even though they look a little nonchalant.

So it turns out that we were going in the out.  We saw people coming out at this spot, and they were muddy.  But one guy said it was only at the end. (Spoiler alert: he lied.)  We figured it didn’t much matter if we went backwards, so on we went.

We must not be the only ones who go this way – there’s even a sign.

Hold your horses, folks, we brought two cameras for this trail so James got quite a few pictures with me in them.
Oh look!  Mud!  But I would like to give an early shoutout to James (for hanging onto the dogs for the entire hike) and to the pups for doing everything in their power to avoid anything wet.

We eventually made it to higher ground, and I kind of hoped this would last forever.  But it didn’t.

So apparently at camp last summer, Austin learned about stinging nettle.  And so every single semi-pointy plant on this trail became the stuff.  To be honest, I have no idea if he was ever right.  But he was very concerned about the possible effects, so we steered clear of every bit of “stinging nettle” he found.

We also saw some uprooted trees.  And I often wonder – do these happen at night? When people are on the trail? Slowly over time?

And this child.  I really cannot handle the gorgeousness.  Can I keep her 8 forever?

One of the best things about this trail is that we weren’t baking in the sun all day.

For a while, we were encountering dry dirt, and it was so, so nice.  We were actually believing the stranger dude.
But then…mud.

Dealing with several obstacles in the path was interesting for two dogs tethered together.  One always wanted to go over while the other simultaneously went under.  But James handled it like a pro, and they all made it through.

So pretty and lush.

This was the only truly watery area on the whole trail.  And I’m not sure if it was only wet because of the recent rains or not.

We’re smiling, but seriously, look in front of our feet.  And poor Aidan had already gotten it all up and down his leg.

If nothing else though, the trail was pretty.

More “stinging nettle!”

We had to take a “pose for an Instagram picture” stop.

There were many dogs on this hike – ones of all shapes and sizes.  And our puppies wanted to play with every.single.one.of.them.

Daddy and his babes.  All five of them.

Even though we are a klutzy-family, I enjoy the tree roots everywhere.  It encourages you to pay attention the entire time and really be in the moment.

We stopped a little before halfway for snacks and water.

CLIF bars – yum.

Then we were on our way again.

We walked by this one area and it smelled so good.  No idea what it was.

But this little tree looked like it was bleeding.  Anyone know anything about that?

A pulled back shot.

James got way ahead of us, and then I realized he just wanted to take a picture.  I think I’ve taught him well!

I really don’t know why it’s necessary to carve in the trees, but if you look past that, you’ll see our handsome oldest son hanging out in the background.

This one is a monkey.

Wonder where he gets that from.

The obligatory selfie.

These two ran up and down this area 76 times.  At least.

After a few “just one more!”s, we were on our way.
There wasn’t much to see through the clearing, but that’s a pretty nice ocean view.

I really wanted to get a picture of the trees to the right, but here are our favorite kids too.  Totally fake smiling.

And again.

Isn’t this an amazing view of the mountains?  Ahhh.

A little better ocean shot.

I think at this point, we were actually about halfway.  Time for more food. (We don’t skimp during these 5-milers.)

And back on our way.

As we headed up and around, the view changed.

Astro (the white and black one) started having a little trouble with his leg during this trail, but Avery pranced along like she could go all day.

That’s how my brain feels most days.  Goes in a million directions.

So this is the H-3 and I could have stared at this for hours.  Being up so high that the highway looks like a Hotwheels track is so cool.

We went a little farther and noticed a little offshoot.  The boys and I went up to investigate.

It turned out to just be a little lookout.  There was also a little grassy area which would be nice for smooching.  Or a lunch break.

So we headed back down.

At this point, we started encountering less and less muddy areas.  And I was overjoyed about that.

I’m learning to love climbing over rocks too.  The kids have pretty much always enjoyed that.

I love our family selfies!  They are always a hot mess, but it doesn’t even matter.  Look!  All of our faces!  And look! A tree!  Perfect.

I have to say, at the beginning of this trail, I was not thinking James’s idea to bring the dogs was not the brightest one he’s ever had.  All I could picture was 8 muddy paws dancing around in our van.  But somehow, he managed to keep them clean.  Go. Him.

And considering we encountered areas like this…

And this…I was pretty impressed.

I love it when Aidan will pose for me.  You know, he’s getting too old and too cool for that business.

At this point, we’re saying words like “We’re almost done guys! Promise!”  Sometimes we actually know that (based on our GPS devices), sometimes we’re just lying.  It’s part of being a parent.  Right?

But thankfully, this time, we were right.

And there is the actual trailhead sign!  At the end.  For us, anyway.

And since we parked down by the end, we had to walk to get back to our van.  And a nice passerby tried to warn us that we were going the wrong way.  But of course we weren’t.  Because we were done with that bad boy…all 4.8 miles!

Ziplining in the Smokies
Indy's Mini Marathon