Tag Archives: explore

Rise and Shine: North Shore

This is going to be sort of a diary entry because it was honestly one of the best day adventures I had ever gone on to date. It would be a lot more easier if you were already up in Hale’iwa, but were starting in Honolulu.

The Plan: Spend the whole day up at North Shore

How? Get up before the sun does!

beach just before Historic Hale'iwa
beach just before Historic Hale’iwa

My friend (Madge) and I had this day planned in advance because we knew there would be some logistics needing to taking into account. We wanted to hit up all the main beaches along the North Shore coast, we wanted to have time to explore Historic Hale’iwa, and find a place to eat… and we wanted to bring our bikes. So to break it down;

-shop-tan-swim-bike/explore-eat-document/photographs

We didn’t want to be weighted down during our bike ride along the shore so we kept our packing light. Phone, Wallet, Camera, Book, Towel, Hat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Spare shorts, Sweater, Water Bottle, Sandals. Done

We woke up very early (6am) for two main reasons.

Let's get out bike on!
Let’s get our bike on!

1) We wanted to give ourselves as much of the day up north as possible, we’ll sleep on the bus ride since its about 2 hour journey.

2) Were both bringing our bikes and generally the #52 bus only has rack space for two bikes so we didn’t want to chance some other biker ruining our chances of a seamless trip up north.

What we naively didn’t consider was the distance between Hale’iwa (where we got off the bus) and Pipeline beach, which I think helped us in terms of being “left in the dark” for the amount of distance we needed to cover. So the bike ride itself became a journey with no real end in sight… till we came upon the destination.

Along the way we stopped at a popular spot for turtles to lay their eggs and do their nesting…

Hey Missy!
Hey Missy!
Nesting Turtle
Nesting Turtle

Biked over the bridge at Waimea Bay and admired the amazing view from there.

Spring Break 2012 271

Some local fishermen on the pedestrian bridge
Some local fishermen on the pedestrian bridge
The rock is a really popular spot for youth to jump off of when tides rushing in.
The rock is a really popular spot for youth to jump off of when tides rushing in.
The quieter side of Waimea Bay
The quieter side of Waimea Bay
Biking in Beauty
Biking in Beauty

Biked through some beautiful trails with over-growth and arrived to our destination of Pipeline and admired the athleticism of surfers taking on those aggressive waves this beach is internationally known for… and tan.

Sometimes locals would bring their dogs down to the beach to chill out while they hit the surf, there doesn’t seem to be any rule in terms of whether or not a dog is allowed on the beach. It just better be very well behaved and trained. We hung out with this sweet fellow (in picture), Lab? He was just doing his own thing walking up and down the shore, taking breaks, being cooed at.

Owner was surfing
Owner was surfing
Chill af dog
Chill af dog

We spent a few hours on the beach just relaxing and enjoying ourselves, it was our first true experience of spring break in Hawaii since the previous years were spent traveling for competitions on the mainland.

Coolest chick on the beach, challenging the guys!
Coolest chick on the beach!
Look at her go! I swear she's probably only 14
Look at her go! I swear she’s probably only 14

This girl showed up during our time on the beach with this amazing bright pink printed paddle board. Those look to be her parental units (in the image) and they were carrying their own camera equipment to take some action shots of her on the waves. She did great considering, from what I can see, SUP’s aren’t the most welcome item on the waves. Majority wise, it was surfers who were on the ocean that day, but the waves weren’t too crazy that boogie boards and SUPs couldn’t handle them.

Always stretch before surf
Always stretch before surf

Madge and I got LOTS of SUN and SAND!

RUN!
RUN!
Brown goals
Brown goals

We stopped in Hale’iwa for a late lunch at Bob’s Pizza. Refreshing beer and crunchy salads were our desire. I did get jealous of Madge’s salad, it looked so delicious! Then to top it off! While we were enjoying our meal, right behind me was the guy I was crushin’ on hard having a meal with his lady…. yep. (Yes in the photo below on the right side in the white shirt with his back facing) A little bit of self-deprecation never hurts a sunny day.

Delicious Grub
Delicious Grub
I was jealous of her cesar salad
I was jealous of her cesar salad

Unfortunately, that’s where my photographing of the day ends (those below are courtesy of the internet). However I can say something about about this lovely spot. This historic part of Hale’iwa is a single long stretch of road, about a leisurely 20 minute walk with a variety of shops to meet any individuals need. They have the surfs shops, art galleries, eclectic style shops, street vendors, a couple non-touristy shops for those forgotten items needed for the day (ie. snacks), coffee shop, restaurants (Bob’s Pizza and Cholo’s Mexican are delicious), and Matsumoto. What’s Matsumoto? It’s that place everyone is willing to line up and wait because it’s worth it. They’ve been around since 1951 and I’m pretty sure they have some level of international recognition. To what scale? I’m not sure, but there’s always a line up for their shaved ice (it’s $2.50, why not?!?).

Haleiwa Town 20130112-135220 03948 filename-cimg1651-jpg

Welcome
Welcome

Before you leave North Shore…one last stop you need to make… the highway sign! There is plenty of space for cars to pullover, that was done intentionally, so go ahead and have a personal photo shoot! Everyone else has. ALOHA!

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Rise and Shine: Hanauma Bay

Take a look!
Take a look!

Hanauma Bay is a nature reserve and marine life conservation area. Tens of thousands of years ago it was a volcano, but as you can see by its shape there was a massive eruption that took out the side which was facing the ocean. Gradually ocean levels rose creating this crescent shape bay area there is today. You learn about this place’s origins and the story of the wildlife when you first walk in because its mandatory, literally right after paying your entrance fee the only way down is through the theater room where you watch a 5 minute educational video just discussing some basic cautions when swimming in the water with all the fishes and coral. It’s free entrance for locals (ID), kids under 12, state university students (bring ID), and military. Otherwise its $5 per person, and if you bring your own snorkel gear that’s all your day will cost.

Can't fit everything into one frame
Can’t fit everything into one frame

The sea life here is insane. You’ll find Nemo and Dori everywhere here and sometimes turtles glide in for a visit. In the coral there are so many pockets filled with sea urchins so if your not wearing fins on your feet, try to avoid the urge to touch down for a rest. Best tip I can give in those scenarios is just to point your fin down like a ballerina on point, that way its better for only a thin strip of rubber instead of a whole foot touching this live ecosystem.

My friend loves taking these kind of pictures
My friend loves taking these kind of pictures

Great thing about this beach is the location. It only 5 minute drive away from Koko Head so you could combine the two in one day! (I wrote a post on Koko Head)

Shady photo.
Shady photo.

One thing I’ll say as a possible downside. This is a really popular tourist spot. Think along the lines of Waikiki beach, but not in front of the Hotels, closer to the zoo. Because of that the beach area will be busy with a variety of people; families, retirees, couples, some locals, etc. Because of this high volume of traffic, the beach does close down for one day of the week for “maintenance” on Tuesdays. If your a person with any physical problems that requires assistants going up and down the walk path from the beach there is a little trolley that provides lifts. So if your not so much into the tourist spot, but more quiet local spots in this same Hawaii Kai area. There’s a bluff area, where the rock formation is seriously cool. Not much of a swimming area but more of jumps spot. It’s a chill spot to hang around. Goes by China Walls or Spitting Caves and its in a pretty quiet neighbor hood area. The signs are pretty non-descriptive until you arrive to the path entrance. If your a go-pro type of person this area will definitely interest you more than Hanauma Bay. Than again.. you can do both in one day! It’s a beautiful spot for sunsets as well. Makapu Hike and Whales 143 Makapu Hike and Whales 139 p.s: Didn’t know I could move my photos about like this…. I’m going to keep playing with my post format!

Rise and Shine: Kualoa Ranch and China Man’s Hat

If your on Oahu and get thrills from visiting movie sets or movie related sites, Kualoa Ranch is definitely a trip worth while. Its on the north west side of the island, aka away from “city” attention, very much a spacious area. Beautiful! You almost wonder why there’s so little development in terms of homes or small business but there may be some zoning restrictions or protection law in the area against a particular amount of development. The university BYU and the Polynesian Culture Center is on this 20 minute stretch of the highway, but you wouldn’t recognized the PCC’s popularity from the outside. They both have very private feelings to them. I wish I’ve been to the PCC to give a proper review of it, however I’ll have to put that on my to do list the next visit out there I take.

China Man's Hat
China Man’s Hat
Welcome aboard!
Welcome aboard!

Camping is very popular on this side of the island as well, many sites are available for people to park and tent it up. It’s on this side of the island you’ll see and visit China Man’s  Hat, a popular public beach known for the island just off shore which looks like… you got it! A china man’s hat. If you have the means to you can paddle out to the island and hike to it’s peak. You can actually see people at the top of it from an outlook on Kualoa Ranch (where the bunkers into the mountain are). If you do choose to hang out on the beach be prepared for wind, This is the windward side of the island so gushes of wind can be a side affect of the location. Will this deter you from visiting these beaches? Absolutely not.

were going up that mountain!
were going up that mountain!
not impressed with me
not impressed with me

Going up to Kualoa Ranch is definitely a day trip that may initially appear like a more family oriented trip. You can go with a friend though, it will be just as fun. If your not a fan of “cafeteria” style food, I’d recommend packing a lunch instead. It will probably cost less and will satisfy you more. I missed the time period while I was there for the “buffet” style lunch, I was taking a movie set tour, so take that into account as well if you chose to eat at the Ranch. Tour times. I’ll be completely honest, it was a bit of a disappointment eating there from what I was hoping, expecting, and getting for my dollar. I got the Kalua pulled pork sandwich on rye bread it was about 10$.

one of the dining areas
one of the dining areas

My friend and I took the movie set tour via bus on the ranch. Lasts for about an hour and a half, great thing about this tour was if your first language was Chinese (might have been Japanese, can’t remember) they had an alternative bus for those tourist who would have struggled to keep up with all the information the tour guides provided, which was a lot! The one thing the guide wanted to make sure that we understood right off the bat was the reason why films are made in Hawaii was because the location itself is a “set” so in terms of actual structures still loitering around there were few. The biggest man made set I’d say was the mountain side bunker, commonly used by military themed movies because prior to the Ranch being a movie set it had been once used as a military site during the war. Inside the bunker is a bunch of memorabilia from various films.

The submarine from LOST
The submarine from LOST

My favorite part however is a classic; the Jurassic Park stamped scene. I’m sure the majority of people know what scene I’m talking about in the movie. Where the kids are on an open plain where many dinosaurs are grazing about, suddenly a stamped of them start running in their direction so they take cover behind a fallen tree. It’s still there! Movie Magic! They will stop the bus at various points during the tour so you can take your obscene amount of pictures (I took way too many).

Hide!!
Hide!!
This mountain view is called (GECDF) because of its similar shape to two waves crashing into each other
This mountain view looks like two waves crashing into each other
Godzilla in Japan has three toes... unlike the american version which had four.
Godzilla in Japan has three toes… unlike the american version which had four.

Another thing that really got my giggles going was the sleeping grass, it’s hard to spot unless you know what it looks like but once you do you realize your in a field of sleeping grass! It’s sensitive to touch, so it’ll close up on contact.

Attached to the dining area is also their gift shop. It has a nice range of choices from locally made items to movie related shirts. However if the prices are off putting and what you wanted was one of the more locally made/inspired items than an ABC store or the Walmart tourist/gift shop section might be able to fulfill your needs at a more budget friendly price (by Hawaii standards).

some Lost memorabilia
some Lost memorabilia

Hawaii 2014 352

LOST
LOST
LOST
LOST

If all else fails, the Polynesian culture center is close by and they host evening Luau. Diner and entertainment, sounds good.

Rise and Shine: Maunawili Falls Trail

This is probably one of my favorite trails because it feels like such an adventure, you experience so many different landscapes during the hike at one point you may be tempted to holler like George of the jungle. My adventure didn’t even start at the beginning of the trail, it happened on the side of the highway. I’ll explain.

Have Fun!
Trail Entrance
Trail Begins
Wide view of entrance

This is another trail I’ve taken via public transportation, the bus. There’s a bus that frequently travels between Kailua and Honolulu downtown, either #57A or #57. The easiest thing to do is ask the driver when to get off for this trail because they’ll know easily enough what your referring to, way easier than saying the name of the stop your told on Google maps because the pronunciation of Hawaiian names is difficult and chances of butchering the name are high. Maunawili is pronounced more like ma-na-wili, the u being silent. So you’d hop off the bus on the side of the highway and walk down the road, right by the stop, for about 15 minutes. This part itself has a jungle-y feel because of the over hanging trees with their limbs and vines interlocking making it feel like nature’s own tunnel.

Let's get muddy!
Let’s get muddy!
A couple muddy areas
A couple muddy areas
There will be steps along with trail
There will be steps along with trail
Be sure footed ascending these paths
Be sure footed ascending these paths

This hike will take a few hours in total to complete, but that’s hardly noticeable while your actually trekking this hike in the middle of Oahu The various terrain and landscape makes it so much fun. Plus, overall it’s relatively an easy trek to do apart from the muddy parts. I felt like a kid pretending to be on some adventure, yet no pretending is necessary. There’s the jungle, the stream crossings, stairs, muddy areas, summit clearings, ascents, descents, and the grand finally… a waterfall! You can jump off the rocks the waterfall is coming down from, or there’s a 40ft drop jump you can attempt that’s just off to the side of the waterfall. I went a couple days after some rainfall so I think that’s why it was slippery when I attempted the jump, I had proof but I have no clue where it went. There use to be a 60 ft jump but its been reclaimed by nature with over growth, and more than likely safety concerns. The pool is deep enough, so no need to worry about gravity crashing you to the water bed. I took the jump and didn’t feel the ground, there are areas where you can stand in the water to loiter around about. The water is so refreshing to drip into after trekking about in this jungle. It’s those kind of moments that I get so wrapped up in my head emotionally, because they’re just the perfect moments to be reminded of how lucky I am to experience such a sight as this. Ever had that feeling?

A stream to cross
Hip Hop across
Easy crossings
Easy crossings
There's about 3-4 stream crossings
There’s about 3-4 stream crossings
All easy to cross
All easy to cross

I’ll say, be prepared for muddy areas, there is a reason why it’s lush with greenery on this trail and its more than likely the abundance of rainfall it receives. Wear an old pair of runners you wouldn’t mind getting dirty, and possibly bring a spare pair of socks? Not sure how comfortable it would feel to put on some dirty sweaty socks after a refreshing jump on the water.

Waterfall: slide included
Waterfall: slide included
Can you hear George of the jungle?
Can you hear George of the jungle?
mystical lighting
mystical lighting

If you are travelling by vehicle I will say please be courteous when driving to this trail. It begins right in a residential area, and I know they tend to be very prickly towards drivers (aka tourists) who park in spots too close to their homes and make loud noises in the morning. Essentially waking them up because many hikers show up to start around 7.

I’d say this trail is a 10/10 and happy trekking to everyone who goes.

Wet Your Whistle: Hula Grill

This is quite a short blog. School has just started so getting back in the swing of that, along with getting over this cold has made it difficult for me to concentrate. Readers gonna read, ain’ters gonna ain’t.

Welcome!
Welcome!

Hula Grill, located in Outrigger Waikiki Hotel on the second floor, has a great happy hour. Your required to sit in the bar and lounge area so your chances of getting an ocean view aren’t as great but there are a handful of tables that do provide the ocean view. The lanai area is predominately where the dining area is, so if your wallet is not on a budget, take a seat.

Amazing view
Amazing view

The happy hour food menu starts at $5-$12, beer $4, wine $5, tropical drinks $6, and their specialty Mai Tai (which comes in a tiki faced glass) $7. When you take into consideration their location, these prices are great and the food will fill you up. My favourite food item is the fish and chips. The fish isn’t pathetic in size. About 3-4 pieces of thick, moist, perfectly battered pieces and chips too! The burgers are yummy if fish isn’t your protein of choice. If you go on Sunday you’ll hear the live music coming up from Duke’s just below Hula Grill.

The Bar
The Bar

I think what I enjoyed most about this place was the convenience of its location. Any time I was down wandering about Waikiki or just relaxing on the beach, Hula Grill is in easy walking distance. Everything is in easy walking distance when your enjoying yourself. This is a fail safe restaurant, so if I wanted to grab a bite to eat and couldn’t think of any new places I was purposely seeking, Hula Grill would be my choice. Bon Appetit!

Tiki Men for the Mai Tai's
Tiki Faces for the Mai Tai’s
Delicious fish and chips!
Delicious fish and chips!
Just Photoshop yourself there... imagine.
Just Photoshop yourself there… imagine.

http://www.hulagrillwaikiki.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HulaGrillWaikiki

Rise and Shine: Olomana trail

I’ll start off right away with saying if you’r new to the hiking scene or even just wary of heights, I’d recommend taking other hikes just a few notches below this one (like Maunawili Falls).

The Olomana trail is more on the eastside of the island, about a 10-15 minute drive from Kaneohe area. I’ve unfortunately never taken the bus to this trail so I can’t say much on how direct a bus will get you to the trail, however; Hawaii’s transit system is one of the best you can experience so it’s not impossible to get there, just time consuming.

You’ll recognize it from the distance because the whole trail consists of 3 peaks in total. This hike will take up a few hours of your day, if you only go to the first peak. That’s what I did. I’m terrified of heights, but can manage as long as I know that there should be no reason to fear. As I was approaching the summit of the first peak the path narrows and becomes completely rock at the top (there’s rope for some security), so in some sense your walking/scaling the peak. The view is unfucking believable! You see pretty much all of Kaneohe-Kailua Bay area, the military base, the scattered islands (i.e. coconut island), and geographically is stunning to see pretty much the creation of the island to how is it today and it kind of clues you in better to Oahu’s weather if you weren’t sure before.

Let’s return to the bottom of the trail though and work our way up. The lane you walk/drive down to the beginning of this trail does feel a bit “private property” because of the golf course nearby, but as long as you’re parked off the side of the road there won’t be any problems.

entrance to trail
entrance to trail

The trek begins easy enough feeling similar to a walk through a forest area. There’s even a point where pine needle like trees have a whole area covered. Feels almost like a scene out of Lord of the Rings when its just Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Picture doesn’t serve my memory justice. hahaha

Best tip for this hike is finding your right pace and sticking to it. Initially this hike will seem novice and not too difficult to speed along but it does become challenging and fatigue will set in. If you set out a pace and maintain that throughout the hike, it will be more relaxing and enjoyable when not having to stop constantly to catch ones breath.

Hawaii's kind of Pine Forest
Hawaii’s kind of Pine Forest

Another part of the trail becomes an open area of packed red dirt. My assumption would be because of the high iron content from extinct volcanic activity. You can tell this area would be annoying to hike after some generous rainfall because it would be a slippery mess. lol (are lol okay to use in blogs?)

Look at all the red dirt!

These next parts get harder. By that I mean… climbing.

Start climbing
Start climbing

and more climbing…

Be careful!

and then….

Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*
Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*

At this point you might want to take a break. Pack a lunch that’s easily portable and re-energize, cause you’ve earned it! I’ll admit the trail will remain pretty narrow (single lane traffic), but the occasional nook appears that you can sit and take a break.

Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level. hahaha
Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level.

Look around! check out the views! it’s crazy inspiring.

best views
best views
The next two peaks
The next two peaks
close up of #3
close up of #3

Now this next picture is essentially what the “Summit” of the 1st peak looks like, and it terrified me. That may have been from being completely exhausted at this point and not giving myself sufficient recovery time because the minute I saw this I was like “DONE!”

summit of peak #1
summit of peak #1

 You’ll feel so pleased with yourself afterwards; all that physical stamina for the experience will be worth it. I will express severe caution now and this is because of what happened the day I went. It was Easter Weekend, and there were a fair amount of groups doing the trek, and we didn’t find out until we were walking back to our vehicle that we saw the News trucks parked. Three people had fallen off the trail! I can’t remember if it was more than 1 that ended in fatality. It was a very somber moment, and crazy to think these people were on the hike as well (they all passed the 1st peak though before they fell). Rescue helicopters were scouring the areas around peaks #2 and #3. I know one was with a group and they didn’t even notice the person’s disappearance right away, and that was already after this group pulled a different member from a fall of his/her own. I don’t mean to scare, just express caution. If your not sure-footed or a bit of a klutz just recognized your limit.

Hike time to 1st peak: 1.5hr-2hr depending on personal fitness and pace level.

Rise and Shine: Koko Head

Ready for another hike? Something a little more challenging? Let’ Go!

Koko head, an extinct volcano, with just over 1000 steps composed from a decommissioned railway previously used for military purposes of carrying supplies to the bunkers that are on top that were used as lookout points.  It’s a progressive incline, so essentially when you begin to feel tired it gets harder. Now I don’t think that should dishearten anyone from attempting the hike, just be mentally prepared for the last 200 steps (which in the grand scheme isn’t a whole lot). At around the midway point the ground slops into a ditch, but the railway track continues straight upwards. It’s a minor balancing act that’s easily done or to the right (left coming down)there is an earth beaten path for about 20 meters if you’re like me  and get paranoid of slipping between the railway ties. Once you reach the top your welcomed to a 360 degree view of the south end of Oahu.

#1 Tip: Go early

Because the sun rises in the east the assent to the top will be shaded as the rail tracks are facing more westerly. The relief will be welcomed. Once your on top the sun will be there for you. Feels almost close to some sort of welcoming of Ra (one of ancient Egypt’s deities).

koko head

#2 Tip: Bring a SackPack

Any type of bag, I only suggest the SackPack because it’s light and the least fussy carrier I’ve ever taken on hikes. Plus it should be big enough to carry everything you need; water, camera/phone, essential personal belongings (keys, & cards), and sun protection.

me pretending to be a photographer
me pretending to be a photographer

#3 Tip: Wear athletic clothing

This may sound like common sense, but you’ll be surprised at how many people will insist on wearing jeans, dresses, sandals, etc. Clothing that’s heavy or footwear that leaves the feet aching soon into their hikes. Let’s be practical.

Coast going up towards honolulu
Coast going up towards honolulu

#4 Tip (optional): Bring a sharpie

I only say this because the bunkers at the top already have lots of graffiti signatures  from other hikers making their mark to commemorate their hike to the top. Mines there somewhere, but not visible anymore since I used a pen (it was all I had on me).

Last Step
Last Step
Pretending I'm about to fall into koko crater.
Pretending I’m about to fall into koko crater.
Going Up
Going Up!

BUS RIDERS: You can get to Koko head via the bus. If your coming from Honolulu you’ll either be on the #1 or #1L bus. You’ll want to get off at the announced stop Lunalilo Home Rd + Anapalau St. The next stop is father away from the road you’ll need to turn into than this one, even if it doesn’t look like it. I know, I’ve done it. Once your off the bus its about 10 minute walk to Koko Head, look at it as your warm up and loosening your limbs and joints. Enjoy!

Hike time: going up- 30-60mins (depends on how active your feeling 🙂 )