I want to apologize in advance for a) the sheer amount of photos in this post and b) the quality of some of them.  We hiked this trail in November 2013, and I attempted to use my Canon 5D.  I gave up on that quickly just because it required too much work and neither of my two lenses (50 & 85) were wide enough for my taste.  So my only other option that day was my iPhone 5.  And I totally give the phone props because for many photos, it doesn’t do a bad job.  But if you zoom in at all, the quality starts degrading quickly.
Anyway, this was our third hike and our first long one.  There are two ways to get to Kaena Point – the westernmost tip of Oahu – and we chose to hike from the Waianae side because it’s closer to where we live.  You can also hike to the point and then around and then back.  But that would have been roughly 7 miles and the kids aren’t quite ready for that.  Just to the point and back was about 5 miles, and they were pretty much done.
For this hike, we crammed the daypack totally full.  I think we brought 7 store-bought water bottles plus protein bars, crackers and fruit snacks for everyone.  And I’m pretty sure we went through everything – it was a hot and exhausting trip.
As we were driving up the coast, we were treated to incredible views of the beaches of Waianie.  We’ve heard that they are beautiful, but the hype is seriously deserved.  Wow.  I tried to get some images, but it was impossible with our speed and the cars and trees in the way.  So you’ll just have to believe me and/or come visit to see for yourselves.
We finally reached our destination by entering Kaena Point State Park.  This was the mountain view just beyond the fence.

We had no trouble parking at the trail.  There are even restrooms right next to the parking lot and I’m fairly certain there was a sign indicating the trailhead. We almost didn’t head out on this hike because of the forecasted rain, but James suggested we go ahead and try, and I’m so happy we did.  Although the trail was muddy and puddled in spots, the skies were perfect the entire 5ish hours we were out there.  And thankfully, there were many small hills closer to the coastline that you could climb to easily avoid the mud.

Immediately out of the gate, we were welcomed by this incredible sight.  I think if we didn’t have the kids we would have been more adventurous and walked out onto the rocks.  Or maybe that’s just the excuse we used…

In my head, I like to think I’m patient enough to only take photos facing in our walking direction so that I can save these shots for the way back.  But I’m not patient at all.  And the beauty is just too much not to try and capture.  And I’m always curious about how successful the fishermen were.

I love that they just stop and gaze out into the ocean.  We have nowhere to be, so why not enjoy our time?
I’m your typical overprotective mom.  I lie awake at night thinking of the many ways my kids could fall off a cliff while we do these hikes.  But when we’re out here, I see the respect each has for the land.  And so I feel fairly safe letting them go a bit ahead.

And then you have my not-so-overprotective husband pretending to throw our youngest into the water.  I don’t know how I didn’t have a heart attack while taking this photo.

This is one of the hills I mentioned that helps you avoid the mud.  It’s better anyway to follow these short trails because you get closer to the water!

Another hiker stopped to take this picture for us.  I sometimes like to have something other than the up-the-nose shots our children offer.

He’s happy to be here.  I think.
King of the….rock?  You’ll see images like these frequently.  My “kids” (which sometimes includes James) really like conquering those rocks.

Wheweeeee.  That’s a shot.  I always think of which photos the kids will love when they grow old.  Which ones will they personally want in an album to show their own children and grandchildren?  I think this might be one.

She might be threatening to jump here.

Hopefully in the future, we’ll get a shot of us way out there on the edge of the rocks.  For now, this is as far as we go.

Contemplation.  Doesn’t this kid just SCREAM “surfer boy”?

This is a “I need to rest but I’m willing to give you a fake smile in exchange” photo.

Shady rest stop!  On our way back, we chose this spot to have our snacks.

There was a little rough area where it appeared the trail had been washed out.  And you had to climb up and around some steep-ish rocks.  I should have gotten a picture, but I was a little too nervous about actually getting through it.  But once we did, it wasn’t too long before we reached this fence. Many people drive Jeeps down this trail, but there’s no way to get actually to the point that way.  If memory serves, this gate and fence is a rodent control measure?  I’ll update if I find out otherwise.  You open the door and go into a little middle area so you can close the gate behind you.  Then you can proceed through the next door.

Walking on the point is pretty tedious as it’s all thick sand.  And thick sand plus hiking shoes is not a great combo.  But we did have a fun time searching for the nesting seabirds.  You can see one in the middle of this photo.

Right along the path, there were plenty of holes indicating birds were nesting inside.  You can’t quite see it, but there was one right in this particular hole.  They didn’t seem to be too worried about the five of us parading past.  They’re likely used to it.

Once we actually reached the rocky tip of the point, we were rewarded with three sunbathing Hawaiian monk seals.   I can’t believe I didn’t grab out my 5D to get some better quality shots, but maybe we’ll see more next time.

Like the seabirds, they clearly were used to humans.  Thankfully, all of the hikers were very respectful.  No one was running around or making loud noises.  We were just all appreciating the sights around us.

Then it was time to turn around and start hiking back through the sand.

We stopped to read the sign. (Shocker!)  And I’m sure Audra was begging me to come on.  It had taken us 3.5 hours just to reach the point, and we stood around for roughly another 30 minutes.  She was ready to get the show on the road.

Aidan is big on getting way ahead when we are heading back.  He’s ready to get home!  This time, Austin joined him.

But then we had to stop for some silhouettes.

I’m so mad that I didn’t pull back and get a wide shot of this.  It would’ve been fantastic.

Am I the only one that thinks this looks like a huge wave preparing to overtake the three?  Yes?  Okay.

Once we could see the beaches near the parking lot, we knew we were almost done.  It only took us about an hour to return.  Yay!

I cannot wait to go back and complete the full trail to see what it looks like on the north side.  That may be something we do sans kids, but I’ll certainly keep you updated!

The Color Run
Snorkeling, Bodyboards, Cameras - Oh My!