My first post on this new blog!  I’m so ready to get this show on the road!

This was our sixth hike since moving to Hawaii and by far our easiest. (I’ll blog about the other hikes soon!)  It’s a completely paved scenic trail on the windward coast, and that meant we were accompanied by lots of other people.  And if you’re like me, that’s not your jam.  But we are on a mission to check out every trail we’re physically capable of handling, so I’m excited to cross this off our list.  And despite the amount of people, the views are absolutely breathtaking, so it’s definitely worth the trip.

I have to tell you that since moving here, I’ve come to learn that you can be moved to tears by nature’s beauty.  I feel kind of silly getting weepy when we see new parts of the island, but it actually happens.  I just am constantly in awe of how amazing this island is.  And because of that, I couldn’t help but take photos as we were nearing the trailhead.

We pulled into the parking lot and quickly realized that this was a popular hike.  It’s difficult to know just by looking online, but it makes sense really.  It’s not too far from Honolulu and it’s paved.  So that means that it’s the perfect trail for residents and tourists alike.

We had to park near the main road and walk through the mass of cars. Of course the whole point of hiking is to move, so the extra distance is a bonus in my head.

According to this sign, the trail to the lighthouse is about 1.5 miles round trip.  We saw differing distances online, but we didn’t measure it ourselves.  As a side note, I love reading these informational signs!  Oh, and it’s also good to note that there are no restrooms or water fountains located on this sunny trail.  Come prepared!

We got started and I was soooo excited for the beautiful sunny day.  Rain was forecasted for much of the island and I feared it would hinder our trip, but we lucked out!

Those are our three munchkins.  As the picture depicts, our youngest was super excited about the hike.  The other two?  Not so much.

This is a view towards the ocean.  That is the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail that leads down to the water.  We’d like to come back some time and navigate that.  It’s not paved, but I think we may have seen people taking coolers down there to picnic.

This was the view behind us.  It just kept getting more gorgeous as we went.

Thanks to always having our smart phones with us, we were able to research what this land mass was off in the distance.  Can you see it?  It’s apparently Molokai Island.

We stopped for a moment to look for whales.  Everything we’ve read says they can be seen between November and April.  But James says the best time to see them is from January to March.  We plan on returning next month when my mom and stepmom come to visit, so I’m hoping we’ll get lucky then.

Then I decided to climb up on this little area.  I’m not a big fan of heights, but I’m working hard to advance my climbing skills.  There are many trails on this island that require climbing, and I don’t want to miss out on them!

James is our daypack carrier guy.  Go him.  For this short hike, we probably came a little over-prepared.  We packed 3-32oz water bottles plus CLIF Bars and fruit snacks for each of us.  But I’m happy to go home with food or water.  I just never want to not have enough.

On all of our hikes, it takes way longer to reach the top than it does to get back to the van.  This is why.  We love to stop and soak in the views.  And Mommy takes a bazillion pictures which constantly slows us down.  They’ll thank me one day.

Here we are starting the final climb to the lighthouse.  As I said before, this was definitely not a strenuous hike, but it’s nice to mix it up.  We’re reminded that you don’t have to kill yourself to be rewarded with gorgeous scenery.

We decided to stop yet again though because there was a perfect little sitting area.

We finally reached the end and it dawned on us that we couldn’t actually go into the lighthouse.  It’s still controlled by the Coast Guard.  So although we were kind of bummed, we were happy to have reached our destination!

This is the view to the left of the lighthouse.  We are looking at Manana and Kaohikaipu Islands, nicknamed Rabbit & Turtle Islands respectively.  On the far left of the picture is Makapuu Beach Park and the Makapuu Tide Pools.

We stopped to have our snacks.  And yes, we always pack out what we pack in.

Everyone but our oldest – Aidan – jumped up on the rock for fun photo opportunities.

And then we began our descent.  James informed me that there was a bunker up somewhere on that hill that we could also hike to, but we decided to save that for later.

It’s funny how I still manage to take a ton of pictures as we retrace our steps back to the parking lot.  But honestly, the view feels totally different when you are going the opposite direction.  So I have no choice but to capture it.

I am obsessed with taking photos of our children side-by-side.  They’re so close in age and since they are homeschooled, they spend a lot of time together.  It’s nice to know that they really do like each other.  (Most of the time.)

We didn’t walk down this little path to check out this building.  The roof was covered in rocks and I’m really not sure what it was.  We’ll have to explore more next time we come.

We saw this sign on the way up, but we didn’t stop to read it.  This time we did.  Again, I’m always a sucker for information.

We rounded the bend and could see the parking lot off in the distance.  Even when our hike is short, it’s still nice to know when it’s coming to an end.

See this Santa on a bike?  He passed us 4-5 times and he was blasting (but in a good way) Christmas music.  Our kids decided he was on a mission to spread Christmas cheer.  And he was doing a great job.

Our entire plan for the day was to hike and then head to the beach.  Along with our goal to hike as many trails as possible, we want to visit all of the beaches.  But we’ve barely scratched the surface there, and we weren’t really sure where we were headed.
We had seen the Makapuu Beach Park on our hike, and the water looked amazing.  So we drove around there and pulled in the parking lot.  That day was my mom’s birthday, so we were video chatting with her when we got out of the van.  Because of this we decided to check out the rocky area next to the beach first.

This is a different view of Rabbit & Turtle Islands.

You can see Audra showing her Nana the ocean.

So at the time, we weren’t really sure what this area was.  Our friend had suggested we visit “the tide pools” but I really couldn’t figure out what she was talking about.  After visiting this area and then coming home to do some research, I think we may have been in the right area.  We just needed to walk a bit farther down the coast away from the beach park.  But we didn’t do that.  We just stood there and stared.

I don’t know what it is about mountains, but I’m just blown away by them.  I guess it has something to do with growing up in the Midwest where we have lots and lots of flat land?  I’m not sure.  But I love how the ridges all look different.  It’s simply amazing to me.

And you can see James taking a picture of me.  I’m usually the one wielding the camera.

And there I am! 🙂

So it turns out that the Makapuu Beach Park is beautiful but the waves are BIG.  At least, they were that day.  And we didn’t see any families hanging out there.  It was mostly young adults with surf or body boards taking advantage of the waves.  We decided to find another beach that had safer water conditions.  We didn’t want to worry about letting the kids into the water.  We are still new to the ocean and the kids are working on their swimming skills.  We need some more time to feel comfortable.

Unfortunately, as we drove down the road, the light was fading and we just decided to head home.  But don’t feel too bad for the little ones – they got three hours of quality beach time the next day in the Ko Olina Lagoons.  (I’ll post about those soon too!)

That’s it for the first post.  I hope you enjoyed the images.  It’s impossible to capture the beauty of this place, but I’m determined to try!

Snorkeling, Bodyboards, Cameras - Oh My!