En route to New Zealand I made a quick stop to Oahu, Hawaii to explore.
OAHU: THE GATHERING PLACE
Since I my flight to New Zealand had a layover in Honolulu, I thought, why not make it into a trip an extended layover. So I planned my flight to allow four full days on the island of Oahu. I was fortunate enough to stay with a friend and met some locals who helped show me some of the island’s secrets. For those that don’t know, Oahu is the most inhabited of the Hawaiian islands with 75% of the state’s population living there. I would have like to travel to some of the other islands where the hiking and natural beauty is said to be even better but I decided to maximize my time by staying on Oahu. There was plenty for me to do in the four days I was there with ample hiking and beaches.
PU’U O HULU HIKE
The first hike I embarked on was the Pu’u O Hulu which was a short hike up to the pink pillbox as they call it. Back during war times these concrete blockhouses were built on the mountains of Oahu so that sentries could see if enemy ships were off in the distance. This particular pillbox was painted pink for breast cancer awareness. It was an easy hike up a steep ridge with fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the town of Mā’ili below.
A Hawaiian local named Ariel was gracious enough to show me around Oahu to some secret places. We stopped along the side of the highway where we climbed over the guardrail and into a drainage ditch that eventually led to a hidden lava tube. We walked through the 200-foot tunnel until it emptied out to the ocean.
Next we climbed the Makapu’u Trail for an amazing view. Afterward we drove to a fenced off road. We snuck around the fence and followed a trail through the jungle to a towering waterfall. Apparently many of the waterfalls are closed off to the public but we saw many locals hiking the trail.
I woke up at 5am under the cover of darkness. It was a long drive to the trail head for Koko Head and dawn was already upon me. Koko Head Crater is an ancient volcanic cone that stands over 1,000 feet above the ocean. An old railway was built up the side of the crater and is now used as a crude staircase to climb the steep slopes. Sunrise was in 15 minutes so I had to hurry to make it to the top. It was a grueling stair-master challenge but I made it in the nick of time. Drenched in sweat and panting I was treated to an amazing view of the sun rising over the Pacific and the island of Moloka’i.
After Koko Head I headed over to Diamond Head, the most popular hike on Oahu. Diamond Head is another volcanic crater that features a relatively easy hike to the top. I shuffled along with the hoards of tourists to the top where I had an amazing panoramic view of the crater and Honolulu below.
When in Rome…I tried some of the local food including Hawaiian barbecue. They wrapped some pork in cabbage which made it deliciously juicy. There was also beef stew, pulled pork, a salsa of diced tomatoes, onions, and salmon, and a dish called poi. Poi is a grey goopy substance made from crushed up taro.
Another popular dish in Hawaii is shaved ice. I felt like I was eating snow with a delicious mango flavor.
Feeling the good vibes on Hawaii.