4. Family Hikes
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This is an easy hike. The park and trailhead are located off of the Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) on Oahu. From Honolulu, drive on H1 freeway east until it becomes Highway 72. Follow the road beyond Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach Park until you reach the park area adjacent to the highway on the right.
From the windward side, drive on Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72) southeast beyond Kailua, and Sea Life Park, after which the road climbs up toward Makapu‘u Head. The park will be on the left side of the highway.
Makapuu Lighthouse is a wonderful family hike that can accommodate mothers with babies in strollers. It can get hot so wearing a hat, sunscreen and bring plenty of water will help you. Enjoy the hike and happy trails!
This was an interesting hike. Its more like a “haunted hike”. This trail can be very dangerous, especially in flash flood conditions. I highly suggest that only the physically fit with adequate hiking boots and plenty of water trasverse this trail. Little grammas with pink parasols and brand new white tennies should not even think about it.
Anyways, there are two ways to access this trail. I must let you know that Waiakeakua’s trail lies on Board of Water supply land (and depending on which way you start) and also lies on private property. This means you will get a ticket if you get lost back there and call for help. Always keep a watchful eye on where you are located in the forest. It is EXTREMELY easy to get lost. I went with my friend who is an expert Hawaiian guide who memorized the trails as a boy.
I’m only going to mention the semi-legal way of accessing the trail. Go up Puu Pia’s trail and then crawl down the cliffy hill to the Fire Swamp. If you have ever watched the movie The Princess Bride you will remember the Fire Swamp. It was full of giant rats that attacked Wesley, quick-sand, and dangerous fire pits that suddenly appeared. That’s basically the forest of Waiakeakua in a nuttshell. If its raining hard be aware that mudslides and flashfloods that can occur without warning.
There are ferel boars that live in the forest too. They are the size of the rat that attacked Wesley. Parts of the path are a muddy bog and not much of a trail. My friend sunk about two feet into the mud and I was worried that I would have to claw him out. Watch where you step and make sure you have steady footing.
According to Hawaiian lore, Kanaloa (a Hawaiian god) would complain to his older brother Kane (another Hawaiian god) that he was hungry and thirsty. Then his big brother Kane would strike the ground and cause water to bubble out. Therefore the name “Waiakeakua” came to be. It means “water of the gods”. I don’t think that Kane or Kanaloa like me much though. There are a couple of bridge crossings and I nearly fell off the tallest one. I thought my footing was steadfast but I nearly fell off the bridge anyways. My friend freaked out. He thought he would have to call for help. Which would be impossible since our cell phones didn’t catch reception that deep into the forest.
According to lore, Hawaiian royalty would command the strongest and bravest men to capture water from the falls of Waiakeakua at night. And guess what! The crazy buggers hiked this trail in the middle of the night to collect the precious water for their chiefs. I say “Why not hike it in the middle of the day?” Especially since I think that the forest surrounding Waiakeakua is the haunted Fire Swamp from the movie the Princess Bride.
After an hour and a half we reached our final destination of Waiakeakua lower waterfalls. (I’m a slow hiker.) My friend and I sat down on a rock and he explained that one of the rocks was actually a Hawaiian goddess who was transformed into a rock. That really spooked me. I don’t know “who” I was sitting on and really prefer not to sit on “anyone”. Then he began to tell me about the Hawaiian legends of the sacred place while green inch worms and ants crawled on his shirt.
It reminded me of the Pirates of the Carribbean movie where the bewitched crew of the Flying Dutchman grabbed weary sailors and proclaimed “Part of the crew! Part of the ship!” Then slowly the sailors would transform into sea monsters with conch shells for heads, lobster claws for hands and pieces of coral and tentacles jutting out of their orafaces.
Seeing all of the bugs crawl on my friend as he calmly explained the forest’s historical significance in lore reminded me of when Boot Strap Turner explained the curse to his son Will Turner. Will Turner was horrified to watch his father’s transformation while Boot Strap Turner spoke of the curse.
My ears began hearing a chant in Waiakeakua as my friend was speaking to me: “Part of the trail, part of the trees! Part of the trail, part of the trees! ” The trail was so overgrown that the bushes and trees literally pulled and grabbed at my clothing and hair. As if the forest itself was claiming me as one of its own. I’m not sure if I should be proud of if I should be horrified. The haunted bridge couldn’t get me but the forest had “hands” that were constantly grabbing at me. One of the low lying branches actually pulled my claw clip and bun off of my head. I had a difficult time detangling my long hair from the branching tentacles that claimed my head.
We didn’t make it to the main Waiakeakua waterfall. We only made it to the bottom waterfall. Its only a couple of miles but it felt like an eternity because of the thick forest and slippery mud and rocks. When my friend asked me why I wanted to stop, I lied and said “I’m too tired.” The truth was that I was having a panic attack and needed to get off of the trail to take a xanax.
I would suggest that you bring water, flashlight, gps devise, walkie talkies, rain ponchos and cell phones with strong reception. A first aid kit is also handy. Please be respectful and do not litter. Take out the trash that you bring in. The more trashed the trail, the more likely the Board of Water Supply will enforce ticketing trespassers. Plus, the bridge may trip you on your way out. Hell! I didn’t litter and it still tripped me. Be careful. This blog and I are not responsible for your well being on your trip or what the forest spookies will do to you.
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Yes, that’s the trail
Crossing the stream
Up the hill and to the left
Lovely gingers on both sides!
I walked to the end at came to a rock wall and a small stream.
I found another trail right against the rock wall but I decided to save that for another adventure.
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Directions: Its located in the back of Lyon’s Arboretum. I suggest taking a map from the Lyon’s Arboretum visitor’s center so that you don’t get lost. There are so many side trails that its easy to get lost. Basically follow the main trail which is a gravel trail that turns into a cobble stone trail all the way to the back of the mountain.
What to bring: Water, mosquito repellent, a map and a cell phone in case you get lost.
Take out the trash that you bring in. Please don’t pick the rare flowers. Leave nothing behind but footprints and take nothing but pictures.
Driving Directions: Take E. Manoa Road in Manoa Valley, toward the mountain, past Manoa Marketplace to the intersection of Alani Dr. Turn left, and continue for about 0.75 mi. to where Alani Dr. takes a sharp right, and Alani Lane continues straight ahead. Park along Alani Dr. in the neighborhood outside Alani Ln. Do not continue down Alani Ln. with your vehicle. Walk down Alani Ln. (it will look like a driveway), past the houses, and through the cable gate. Beyond the gate, continue on the dirt road until you get to the Forestry and Wildlife picnic shelter. Pu`u Pia Trail is to the left of the shelter. Camping allowed at the shelter.
Bus Directions: Take the #6 Woodlawn Drive bus from Ala Moana into Manoa. Ask the bus driver to drop you off at the stop BEFORE Alani Dr. Then walk to Alani drive.
What to Bring: Water, mosquito repellent and hiking shoes. Pack out the trash that you bring in. Leave nothing but footprints. Happy Trails!