Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is an easy trail in Manoa Valley. Bring good footwear because it is muddy and slippery. Its one mile to the waterfall. You may want to bring mosquito repellent.

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I love how this tree looks like a giant lady holding up branches into the air.

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First glimpse of the waterfall.

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Manoa Falls

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This type of flower comes from an invasive ginger called “Green Grenade”. Its beautiful but its a weed. I took this flower home and a week later 1000 seeds came bursting from the flower. Not to mention that it spreads like wildfire from the rhizome (root) system. The original collection is at Lyon’s Arboretum but it somehow hopped its way through the Manoa Forest and near to the waterfall. So I beheaded it because it had such a lovely face. Then I took its photo.

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FYI: This not a Hawaiian tradition. Many visitors from the mainland have come and set up these little rock cairns that look like rock people. They look cute so I took their photos. However, many of my Hawaiian friends and family are offended because it is not a Hawaiian tradition.

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The Rock person is enjoying the waterfall.

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You can never have enough pictures of Manoa Falls.

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Rainbow in the falls!

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I was back floating in the pool and saw the falls from this perspective.

Just was a word of warning: The state does not want people swimming in the pool because of the fear or rock slides and lawsuits. You swim at your own risk. These funny buggers below illustrated the point. Now they will be famous.

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They are pretending to be unconscious from a falling rock. Anyways, so much for silliness.

Take out your lunch trash. There are no state housekeepers paid to pick up after you. Bring out what you bring in. Leave nothing but footprints and smiles. Happy Trails!

Manoa Falls Directions: Going East bound on H1: Take the Punahou Exit 23 then See below directions. Going West bound on H1: Take the Wilder Exit 24, continue on Wilder to the third light take a right on Punahou. See below directions. Continue up Punahou, heading towards the mountains. Punahou turns in Manoa road by staying left at the fork in the road. You will soon come to a five way intersection. Stay on Manoa road. Manoa Road continues into the back of Manoa Valley and ends at Paradise Park. Due to a high amount of hiker car theft the Manoa Falls parking lot has been unfortunately closed. Therefore, hikers have two choices. 1) Parking in the Paradise Park lot for a fee of $5.00 or 2) Park in the lower neighborhood for free. There is absolutely no parking on the fire lane beyond the Paradise parking lot and before the Lyon Arboretum entrance. After parking continue up the fire lane to the entrance of Lyon Arboretum. You will see straight ahead the old Manoa Falls parking lot gate and fence. Continue through the fence to the Manoa Falls trailhead. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR VEHICLE.


Pauoa Flats

Pauoa Flats can be reached many ways. I am going to list one way that I reached this trail. Its a nice, shady, muddy trail filled with gigantic trees and kahili ginger. Driving directions are posted at the end of this blog.

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I walked the Judd Trail which connected to the Nuuanu Switchback Trail. I hiked up the Nuuanu Switchback trail and I reached the lookout. There is a trail after the bench which marks the end of the Nuuanu Switchback trail. I followed the trail back into the woods.

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I walked down this trail from Nuuanu lookout to an intersection in the trail. This is Pauoa Flats Trail. It connects with Nuuanu Switchback Trail here. I decided to turn right on Pauoa Flats and see where it takes me.

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It lead me to a log walkway surrounded by Kahili Ginger.

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I didn’t go to the end of Pauoa Flats trail but I walked as far as Kalawahine Trail. Pauoa Flats trail is simple and easy like Judd Trail. However I was too worn out from the switchbacks to want to finish this trail. If I had walked all the way down then I would have reached the Manoa Cliff Forest Restoration Project. This is project helps grow endemic and endangered Hawaiian plants.

So once again, to reach this garden you will -> Walk the Judd Trail -> Hike up the Nuuanu Switchback Trail -> Walk beyond the bench -> Reach the forest intersection of Pauoa Flats -> Turn RIGHT and walk all the way down. When you are finished viewing the garden then retrace your steps. Be sure to take notice of the signs that you only go back down Nuuanu Switchbacks trail and you don’t go down Kalawahine.

In this particular adventure I also wanted to go to Pauoa Flats look out too. There are many turn offs on the Pauoa Flats Trail. Take your time and watch the trail signs so that you don’t get lost.

To reach the Pauoa Flats lookout you will: Walk the Judd Trail -> Hike up Nuuanu Switchbacks Trail -> Walk beyond the bench -> Reach the forest intersection of Pauoa Flats -> And turn LEFT. -> Then keep your eye on the forest on the left because after a few feet you will encounter the small trail that leads to the Pauoa Flats lookout.

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It looks something like this ^^^

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The view is well worth the pain and hysteria you may have encountered trying to hike up Nuuanu Switchbacks trail. In this picture you are looking at Nuuanu Water Reservior and the forest. There is also the Pali Highway tucked away in the forest but you can’t see it from here.

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Close up of the reservoir.

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The trippy part of this trail is that because of the elevation you can see Kaneohe from this trail located in Honolulu city.

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Close up of the ocean and Kaneohe city.

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To the right of Pauoa Flats lookout is yet…ANOTHER TRAIL! The trails are everywhere! This trail leads to upper Lulumahu Waterfall. Its similar to a death march so I advise that only advanced hikers travel to this waterfall. I have not been on the death march to upper Lulumahu Waterfalls because I am not strong or crazy enough.

However, this brave hiker went in a flashflood. Which is more like a death wish. Keep in mind this particular skilled hiker is advanced and can hike steep ridges.

Keep in mind that Upper Lulumahu Waterfalls is classified as unsanctioned and therefore not legal. I am not giving out the name of the hiker. ;) However his blog is just as neato as mine.



Drive from Honolulu City towards the Pali Lookout but make a right hand turn at Nuuanu Pali Drive -> Drive a couple of minutes keeping your eyes on the right -> You will come across the Judd Trail -> Park and secure your car. If you drive passed the Department of Water Building on the left then you have gone to far.

Bring plenty of water, mosquito repellent, lunch, a camera and a phone. Since this type of trail is a little strenuous I also recommend an emergency kit. In this emergency kit include first aid, a knife or cutters and a space blanket. These things are only necessary in case of an emergency but its also best to be prepared. Pack out all of your lunch trash. There are no housekeepers assigned to this trail. Pack out what you pack in. Leave nothing but footprints and a smile! Happy Trails!


Nuuanu Switchbacks

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Nuuanu Switchbacks is an intermediate trail. I know some locals may laugh when they read this statement. I am advising visitors that this trail is an intermediate trail because of the two rock outcroppings that you must climb over halfway up. I once saw 4 little old ladies dressed in all white from Massachusetts who advised me that they can hike anything. I saw them 30 minutes later covered in mud. Their shoes were inappropriate for the trail and they fell a few times going up. They never made it to the halfway point where the rock outcroppings were located.

I also suggest that you bring mosquito spray or completely cover yourself with a long sleeve shirt. Bring water, lunch and maybe a power bar. You will need it. This trail is not recommended for children. However, if you want to punish your ornery teenager then this is the perfect trail to take them on. Just watch them while they cross the rock outcroppings. There is rope at the first one but no rope (the last time I was there) on the second one.

The trail rewards you with awesome views at the top. I personally like the trail myself because it’s murky and spooky like all of the forest trails seen in the Hobbit. You can hear crickets and birds up the entire trail and the trees smell beautiful. The forest canopy is so thick that the rain doesn’t penetrate through it. I think its trippy how you can hike through a thick forest and not get wet from the rain.

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This is a view of Nuuanu and parts of Honolulu. In the distance you can see the airport and Pearl City.

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Honolulu always looks better from a distance. (Sorry, I’m not a city kind of girl.)

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Pearl City

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The native Ie’Ie blooms at the lookout. You can take this opportunity to also admire the native Lehua trees as well. For all botanists and biologists reading this blog: I know “native” is not the correct word to describe these plants. However, most readers don’t understand the word “endemic”. So bare with me. (Especially if you are my old boss.)

Vocab lesson:

Endemic = Plant or animal species that originates from a certain location and is only found at that location.

Native = Same thing as endemic but meant for people.

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More beautiful views

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You can never have enough Ie’Ie photos.

After you collapse from the climb up this hill be sure to eat lunch by the bench, listen to the birds and admire the views. The Nuuanu Switchbacks trail stops at the bench. However, the trail continues onward towards another adventure and another blog post.


Drive from Honolulu City to Nuuanu Pali Drive -> turn right -> After 2 minutes of driving you will come across the Judd Trail on the right -> Park somewhere and secure the car -> Follow the screams of the children to find the stream -> cross the stream -> You are now at Judd Trail. -> Walk straight into the forest. Do not walk on the trails to the left or right. Just walk straight -> In 10 minutes (I am slow) you will reach the Nuuanu Switchback Trail of pain and glory on the left-> Enjoy!


Judd Trail

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The Judd Trail is easily accessible but parking is limited. Directions are at the bottom of this blog.

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You must walk a 30 steps to the stream in order to find the trail. The trail starts across from the stream. You can walk either straight ahead or you can walk to the right and follow the stream. There is a trail to the left but I don’t recommend that trail because its not part of the Judd Trail. (If you are from Oahu Na Hele, please comment and let me know the name of the trail on the left.) Also, I found some interesting characters camping on the trail to the left. So keep aware if you venture off the Judd trail.

The Judd Trail is a one mile circle trail. You can’t get lost unless you accidently meander up to Nuuanu Switchbacks. (Nuuanu Switchbacks Trail is also clearly marked.)   This trail can get muddy, and slippery. The tree roots make the trail an easy one to twist an ankle. Be careful while walking. Children will love this trail since half way around the circle there is a small swimming hole surrounded by Yellow Butterfly Ginger. You may want to wear mosquito repellent. Do not drink the stream water. It has buggies in it that can make you sick.

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I went straight ahead instead of turning right. I wanted to walk the full circle.

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The Cook Pines are huge and smell wonderful.

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These pines have been long before I was born.

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Some of the Cook Pines dance hula.

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After 10 minutes of walk you will come across a muddy trail on the left that goes up. This is the Nuuanu Switchback Trail. In my opinion this is an intermediate trail because you have to cross to major rock out croppings. Nuuanu Switchback trail is not suggested for young children. (However, if you wanted to punish your rebellious teenager then…go for it!)


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I continued on the Judd Trail and it gradually bent right through the woods. Then I came across Jackass Ginger Pools. I hate the name because it implies that that its ugly. Or at least the name Jackass sounds ugly. Its a beautiful rock pool surrounded by succulent yellow butterfly ginger. Please pack out what you pack in. If you bring lunch, take your napkins, soda cans and other junk with you. There are no house keepers assigned to these woods. Therefore you are responsible for keeping it clean.

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I continued on the trail going right and found myself back where I started.

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Be careful where you step and how you play among the trees. There are a few native species on the trail. You don’t want to squish them accidently.


Drive from Honolulu City toward the Pali -> But before you hit the Pali on the right you will come across Nuuanu Pali Dr -> Take a right at Nuuanu Pali Drive -> You drive for a couple of minutes and come to a trail on the right with bamboo hiking sticks, cars and screaming children. This is it! Enjoy! If you drive past the water facility on the left then you have gone too far. Turn back and look again.


Hummingbird Moths at Lyon’s Arboretum

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There is a secret in Lyon’s Arboretum bromeliad garden.

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When I walked down the path I felt something wurrrrrrrrrrrrrr right next to my ear. At first I felt irritated thinking that I was under attack by a monster mosquito. However, I saw the blur of brown twirl around these purple mounds of flowers sprouting from the center of the bromeliads. To my surprise I discovered that resembled baby hummingbirds without feet.

It looks like it’s half hummingbird and half moth!  The hummingbird moths are insects that love all sorts of flowers. Today I found them at Lyon’s Arboretum drinking nectar from the brilliant bromeliad blooms. They use their tongue to lick up the nectar like icecream. I have to admit that the bromeliad blooms look tasty. (The reality is that they are unedible even though they look like candy.)


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They were hard to photograph because they were terribly fast.

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They came out close to dusk at Lyon’s Arboretum. For directions read:


Friendship Garden

This beautiful garden climbs up to a small hill with beautiful views. Look at the bottom of this entry for directions. Happy Hiking!

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Endemic Ilima

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Banyan tree native to India

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Directions: From H3 drive to Kaneohe -> Drive on Kaneohe Bay Drive -> Turn left on a small street called Kokokahi Place -> drive up the street until you see the gardens on the left. There is little parking so large groups are not a good idea. Enjoy!

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Hawaiian honeycreepers are in Peril-Why the native forest birds may become extinct.

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Originally posted on A Honey Creeper's Life.:

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a six-part series.

HAWAII-It is considered the “global epicenter of imminent extinctions”  for plants and animals; just since the 1980s, 10 unique birds have disappeared. Among some of the most threatened species are a native group of forest birds known as honeycreepers (Drepanidinae) that have evolved in the absence of avian malaria. 

As you can see (below), these beautiful and fascinating birds have evolved  a remarkable array of distinctive morphologies.

tree Family Drepanididae (Hawaiian Honeycreepers). *Note* Not all species are shown.

[VIDEO] Are you looking to see what a Purple,Green, Shining, Golden collared or Red-legged honeycreeper looks like?

Hawaii has more extinct birds than anywhere else in the world Hawaii has more extinct birds than anywhere else in the world

Honeycreepers have suffered catastrophic decline in recent decades due to:

  • Habitat loss
  • Introduction of alien plants and animals
  • Avian disease

The accidental introduction of the of the southern house mosquito Culex

View original 405 more words

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Hoomaluhia Gardens

(Directions are below the last photo.)

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Directions: From town drive on the Pali Highway -> Make a left at the first turn to drive through Kaneohe -> Stay on that road until you see Luluku Street -> Turn left on Luluku Street -> Drive all the way down the road and through the gates. Enjoy!