Saturday, May 29, 2010

*Lanikai Pillbox*

Schools out and summer’s here!!! What better way to spend our days than hiking.
Today all of us, Zeke, Zeph, my niece: Cherysee, Grandma, and I went hiking. I decided to take the kids on the Lanikai Pillbox Trail. I’ve only done it once--in the dark--but from what I remember it’s short and relatively easy. We didn’t get on the trail until about 1:00 so of course the sun was at its peak. I’m not complaining though because after this extra long, wet and cold winter it felt good to be outdoor.
The trail was nothing the boys couldn’t handle. They had fun using the ropes which weren’t necessary. If they had their way they would have ran up most of the trail, but with cousin and Grandma not as conditioned we had to take numerous breaks. They still walked at a brisk pace, tried to sneak in a few spurts of runs, and in fact kept up with a couple of Punahou students. It was quite funny to see the “Oh hell no these two little kids aren’t going to beat us to the top,” look on their faces each time they turned around to check on us through their 80’s style sunglasses. I’m pretty sure if we didn’t have to wait for Cherysse and Grandma we would’ve smoked them.
We made it to the first bunker in no time, maybe 20 minutes. As we waited the boys played and Zeph gave me numerous heart attacks. He jumped from the trail to ledge alongside the bunker. He really has no fear but add in the fact that as a four year old he does not grasp the concept of falling off a cliff, and you’ll get a boy playing, teeter-tottering, and jumping right as if on flat ground!
Grandma and Cherysse finally made it, but grandma wasn’t feeling so well. She decided to stay at the first bunker while I took the kids to the second. If you ever go to the Pillboxes you don’t want to miss the view at the second bunker. You can see from Kaneohe to Waimanalo. Plus it’s only a couple of minutes away. At the second bunker when I was just about to help the boys get up, Zeke stood on the adjacent rock, jumped and stepped up with ease. Before I could even stop Zeph he followed in his older brother’s footsteps. I had but a split second to think about him missing, falling back, and hitting his head on the rock, or knocking out his two front teeth. Of course that didn’t happen and he popped onto the bunker like nothing. I did, however, have to help my eight year old niece get up. Grandma even joined us at the second bunker after her rest. Hooray Grandma!
We enjoyed the view for a few more moments and headed out. Going out was a lot more fun than the trek in since the boys ran and slid down most of the parts.

It's going to be a great summer...

Friday, May 7, 2010


Today we explored our “home” further...
Ulupaina is a 4 mile loop that begins to the left of Valley of the Temples. Vance, Beimes, Sean and I met at Hui Iwa Street and walked across to the trailhead. Although not visible from the road once there the path is quite obvious. We opted for the left trail since numerous sites recommended hiking clockwise. 
The hike began with a brief incline and soon leveled off weaving along the bottom of the ridge. It snaked inward across a ravine then back out, in across another ravine, then out, AND back in and back out several more times. We joked as we passed each new ravine that we swore we crossed it before. Upon the “out” of each curve we could see Kaneohe Bay, Kaneohe Marine Core Base, and Olomana. A beautiful view in deed, but nothing new to any of us born and raised on the windward side.
I should mention that along the ins and outs we came across two junctions. The first one is near the beginning of the hike. The left trail headed straight, and the right trail headed up. Both trails were marked with ribbons which didn’t help but since Beimes knew that the turning point would be near Haiku Plantation we took the left one. The second junction is the turning point. The left path headed straight further towards Haiku Plantation, and the right trail headed up. Once again both paths were marked with ribbons. This time we took the right path and trekked upwards since we could see the beautiful plantation homes and knew we should be headed towards the ridge. I’m not sure if the ribbons were placed recently because none of the hike reviews we read mentioned them. For someone unfamiliar with the windward side and its landmarks following the correct ribbons is a must.
The rather easy trail now began to climb. The steep ascents quickly brought us to a much higher elevation. Some parts were slippery so I made good use of the trees. The trail eventually curved right but our climbing was not done. Like all other ridges, the path continued to ascend and descend. Midway through we came across a third junction. We knew that taking the right one would lead us out, but we opted left which headed towards the Koolau Mountain Range and to the power-lines. No more than ten minutes later we were there and to much of our surprise were at an elevation of about 1000 feet. (According to Trailguru 1094 feet.) It was also the first time on the hike we could see from Kualoa to Kahaluu, including Chinaman’s Hat. The short detour was well worth the time. In fact it was the only part, in my opinion, that made the hike worth it.
The remainder of the hike had a few more ups and downs, and concluded with a steep descent along a well cushioned ground of pine needles making the trek slippery. Thinking about it, if we hiked counterclockwise up this portion it would have been--for lack of a better word--a bitch. Near the bottom at a fourth junction we took the left trail curious to see where it exited, and came out at one of the cemetery’s cul-de-sacs.
The entire hike took us a little under three hours. I'm glad we ventured around our neighborhood more, but I probably won't be doing this hike again any time soon. Summer is near and I can't wait to take on more challenging ones.