Day 8 -Just Another Day

As I neglected to write yesterday’s Day 7 on its actual day, I was up early to write it, writing on day 8 about day 7 was the start to the day.  Mike made a nice cup of coffee to get my brain cells moving and then fueled me with a sugary malasadas.  Eventually eggs and veggies were cooked to sustain the writing.


Once I hit the publish button it was time to decide on today’s activities. I googled “easy hikes in Oahu”. Mike is still training for Sunday’s race and we both are walking the 5k Heart Walk on Saturday, so an easy hike seemed a good bet.  We settled on hiking the Makiki Valley Loop Trail at the Hawaii Nature Center.  Most things we read stated dry trail, go left when starting the hike, only 2.5 miles and oh remember that word easy.

First off, we went to the right because a gaggle of kids with a “teacher” was on the trail and they went left, the kids were all over the place and loud.  We did the very steep side first, I think I ignored the word “steep” when I read the description.

Halfway up the steep section was the view out.  We ended up tripping over another group of kids clogging the path. We got past them and kept going up.

Once up at the top, another group greeted us, they were running all over, screaming and ignoring the teacher. I was ready to take over the control of the kids, but Mike quickly grabbed me and pointed to the new trail to follow and told me to move.


Down we went into a mud filled trail, it stayed this way the entire time. I only went down once, perhaps a record for me on a muddy trail.

Remember the descriptions said “easy”.  Yesterday’s hike in the valley was easy, this wasn’t difficult or technical, but it was a step above easy, but below difficult.  It was fun and jungly and really that is what matters We had to stop at the clean off station to wash the mud and seeds off of our shoes and legs. Boy did I have a lot of mud caked on me. And this trail wasn’t 2.5 miles, both of our phones pedometers had it at 4 miles.


Hunger set in and we had to pick up Mike’s race number at Boca Bike Shop which happens to be next to…can you guess it? Honolulu Beerworks.  So of course we stopped for brews and lunch.  We ended up sitting next to a Navy guy who is hoping his next transfer will be to Groton, CT. He is ready to leave Hawaii and head closer to home, he is from Pennsylvania.  Our conversations included the bartenders and the next thing you know we are given chips for a free pint.

We finished our lunch, Mike picked up his bib number and off we went to our next destination, coffee, chocolate and a boutique store.


We picked up another coffee for the house at Downtown Coffee in Honolulu, a small roasters. Next stop was Madre Chocolate for me and the gift boxes. Madre Chocolate was next to a little shop selling Hawaiian goods, Owen & Co. I’ve been wanting to go here for a while, so it was nice to finally visit.

We had one last stop to make, Costco.  We went to the crazy, hard to park, wedged in Costco, which is always an adventure.  We picked up our needed items and headed home.

Once home around 4 p.m. rest time for an hour was demanded by my body.  We cleaned up, had a small dinner and headed off to sunset viewing.  It was a busy sunset viewing on the beach time tonight.  Mike splashed around and I tried to navigate taking photos around people, not easy.  Sunset was very lovely, but alas the sun sank and we meandered home for dessert and the writing of the blog.

No catchy title, because today was just a day that happened and we took in every moment of it.




Day 7 – Island Treasures

It was such a wonderful day on Thursday, I couldn’t begin to put it in words yesterday (hence writing Thursdays post on Friday). We found some island treasures and ended the day learning about a musical treasure sitting in front of us.

The day started with Mike having his run and meeting me at the beach, as I sipped my coffee, listened to music, and watched the morning unfold. After his float, we returned to the house.

Breakfast was made of french toast sticks smothered in fresh bananas and lilikoi with a side of fresh mango.

We plotted out the rest of the day. Over the years we’ve done the must see sights and aren’t ready to repeat them yet, so off we went to find more off the beaten path treasures on the island.

We started the unintentional treasure hunt at Moanalua Gardens.  We walked around the small garden and summer home (not allowed in) of King  Kamehameha V.  This garden is known for its Monkeypod trees and one of them is the symbol for the Hitachi Group.

Our next stop was for a hike, The Moanalua Valley Trail.  Due to Mike’s training schedule, we haven’t hiked here or at home in a while.  We picked an easy trail, one we could turn around at any time we wanted.  We did part of the Valley Trail, so no steep sections.  This trail actually leads up to a ridge trail to the backside of the top of the Haiku Stairs.  We hit a turn around point at the 1.5 mile mark, due to rushing water.  A couple was crossing it, but with a walk and a race scheduled for this week why chance it?  This was a great little easy hike and the hidden treasure was a rock with petroglyphs and the ruins of an old settlement. It rained, it misted, we got soaked but loved all of it.  One of the plaques described how this is a dry summer streambed in summer months, well not this summer.

Returning from the hike, we had to go home to change into dry clothes before heading out to lunch.  We decided to visit Salt at Kaka’ako block to find food.  This is the up and coming area for Honolulu.  We ate at the Moku Kitchen.  This was a hipster joint, with slightly overpriced food and hugely overpriced beers.  The food was good, I had fish tacos and Mike had a chicken with salad, we started with a ginger poke salad.  Would I return, no.  It was good, but it wasn’t us.

In this complex was a beer tasting room, so before we totally dismissed this block as not a place for us, we gave The Village Tasting Room a try.  Phew, we fit in and had a few half pour beers from around the world.  Small crowd, knowledgeable people and a place we fit in.


I also spied a chocolate shop, Lonohana Estate Chocolate.  Small samples of their amazing chocolate was available to taste. It was a tasting treasure, but I did control myself.  Picked up a few things for the Oahu heart gift boxes.


One last stop before we made it home, Pipeline Bakeshop for malasadas.  OMG these are the best malasadas ever and we’ve had Leonards and the lady in front of Kmart Kauai, two of Oahu and Kauai’s best malasadas makers.  Pipeline, Pipeline, Pipeline is the place., such a treasure treat to eat.

We made it home a little after 4, to rest and I needed to put my shirt together for the Oahu Heart Walk.  Donations are being accepted till 7 p.m. Pacific time, August 10th.


Then it was time for the big concert at the Waikiki Aquarium at 7 p.m. The Ke Kani O Ke Kai.

It started with Hula Olana coming on to perform.  This first performance moved me to tears. It was hauntingly beautiful.


The first group up was a trio, Keauhou. They performed traditional Hawaiian music.


The next performer,Natalie Ai Kamau’u, was soulfully moving and for me the highlight of the night.  She broke down crying because her Auntie Nina was there, she was nervous to sing in front of her and had to change her entire set list when she found out Auntie Nina was there.  You see Auntie Nina is a Hawaiian treasure.  We quickly googled her and found out she is Nina Kealiiwahamana, very influential for Hawaiian female singers.  Next thing we know, Natalie’s daughter is on stage, dancing the hula and the set ended with Natalie’s mother dancing the hula (she opened one of the famous Hula schools) and her father playing the ukulele, singing with Natalie. It was a beautiful moment to witness. The respect, honor and love in the air could be felt, tasted and absorbed.


Grammy winner,Kalani Pe‘a, finished off the night.  I have been following his career for the past year, so it was fun to see him in concert.  He performed two songs in Hawaiian, but has a love for old school bluesy/jazzy music, including singing some from the Carpenters.  He is a funny guy, who puts on a good show.

We walked home, in awe of the day overall, but especially the concert.  Today we were given the gifts of small treasures in the forms of nature, food and people, what a blessing.





Today felt like a lot of waiting; waiting to move along on the trail , waiting in line at the post office, waiting to be served at Kona Brewery and waiting for sunset.

We were going to hike Diamond Head today, our plan was be at the trailhead at 7 am. when they open. Oops we slept in till 6:50 a.m. New plan please…Go up to the Lanikai Pillboxes.  We gobbled down breakfast washed down with kona coffee, grabbed our gear and off we went.

First though we had to stop at Pali Overlook.  Our passenger, Flat Stanley needed to see the view.

We made it over the pass and into the neighborhood that the trail starts from.  Hoards of people were everywhere and we were about to join them.  After finding a parking place, we started the trek up to the Pillboxes.  The trail was crowded, which meant waiting to go up some parts and waiting to go down in other sections.   I found a nice viewing spot and told Mike to go on.  I was tired of the people and looking up to see them all on the pillboxes, took away any enjoyment for me.  Did I mention the trail was slippery too?  This was the first trail that going down was much more difficult than going up. A hiking pole would have really helped.

Our next stop was the Byodo-In Temple, one of our favorite places.  We’ve been here three times and always admire the beauty of it. The only waiting we did here was for people to get out of the  picture shots.

We scooted home to grab our goodie boxes to mail to friends.  We stopped at the Kahala Post Office and waited for at least 25 minutes in line to mail them out.  If one lady hadn’t been arguing about a mere $1.24 it would have gone much quicker.  I was tempted to run back to the car and dig up that amount to give it to her.

Kahala is close to Kona Brewery, so that became our late lunch destination.  This isn’t craft beer, but we knew we could have a few brews on tap that they don’t bottle and we can’t taste back home.  We sat at the bar, as there was a long wait for a table.  Service was slowwwwww.  We had lunch and a beer, something that would only take about 45 minutes, but this  turned into a lonngggggg lunch.  I know we are waiting in paradise, but still….


We finally settled our tab and returned home to await the time to walk to the sunset.  You can translate that to we went home, so I could nap before sunset.

We once again walked to Diamond Head Beach, but to a different section to watch the sun melt into the ocean and clouds.


While walking back we turned to see the lighthouse shining bright. A great way to end a day of waiting.


Miles Walked, Surfers Watched, and a Sunset Missed

According to my pedometer, we walked 11.5 miles today (no not a fitbit). But what a day of beauty.

Our journey began by going to the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail or rather a paved walk that really was quite lovely.  We arrived at 7:30 a.m. and the lot was already full, we parked almost close to the entrance way.


Up we went as the sunrise watchers were headed down.


The paved path made the going very easy, even for being up hill.  The views along the way were beautiful. At the top we meet two local couples, we offered to take their photo, which opened the door to a lot of aloha spirit happening between us.  Sometimes being a haole on the islands is hard, but we’ve learned if we smile and offer a small gesture of kindness, we are greeted with kindness and good spirit in return.

We were bummed we couldn’t wind our way over to the Lighthouse. Looks like trail work continues there, so maybe in the future, that will open it up.


Mike spent some time trying to capture Koko Head, Koko Crater and Diamond Head all in one photo.  I think he did well, considering the lighting he was up against.


After our descent we meander on the Kaiwi Trail, over to Pele’s chair and the shoreline.  Mike did a walk up to the chair, while I headed over to the beach area to watch the waves crash.

After this adventure, we headed over to Koko Crater Botanical Garden.  After doing some research, we knew this wouldn’t be spectacular this time of year, but we were in the neighborhood, so we decided why not.  We will come back here on our next summer visit just to see the plumeria tree groves in bloom.

We enjoyed the 2 mile walk around this garden.  This was the last botanical garden to visit on our list, so now we have visited all the Botanical Gardens in Oahu.

After our walks, we headed out to find lunch. Our first stop was Honolulu Beerworks, but it is closed on Sundays. On to the next lunch spot, something closer to home, Bogarts Cafe. We parked at home and walked a short distance to this great little eatery. We both had ahi in a sandwich and wrap.  Gotta eat all the ahi here while we can.


After lunch the pressing question was nap or go watch surfers.  I told Mike I’m either napping or feed me fresh pineapple and I could go on.  He quickly served me up a bowl of fresh pineapple.  The sweetness of the pineapple, gave me the energy to walk the next segment of our day. We gathered our beach goodies and walked the 1.3 miles to Diamond Head Beach to watch the surfers.

And then the iconic scene of Hawaii walked right in front of me, surfers carrying boards, sun shining, and windsurfers on the water.  At that moment, I felt pure joy of being in the moment.


Walking back to the hale, we stopped to take a few pictures of the Diamond Head Lighthouse. Once again, another lighthouse that we couldn’t get close to.

After this walk my leegs were so tired, we entered the house, showered and I crashed for a good long nap.  By the time I woke up, it was dinner time. Another round of poke please.

While munching on dinner Mike had the idea of going up Round Top Drive to the outlook to watch sunset.  We figured no one ever mentions going there for sunset, it can’t be popular, so off we went. Well, we were wrong, every tour bus was there, as well as locals.  we drove down, pulled over, but the angle of the road made it impossible to see the sun set. Great view of Diamond Head and the valley below.


I suggested we had to Ala Moana Beach Park to catch the last rays of sunset.  Oops I forget there is lots of traffic in the Honolulu area, even on a Sunday night.  We finally made it to the beach park, but the sunset was long over.  The upside, the view of Honolulu was beautiful at this time of night.

We drove up through Waikiki and the amount of people all over the streets was insane.  We are definitely in the most touristy area we have ever visited.

It has been a long grand day, full of miles, good spirit and beautiful sights.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Day 24 – His, Mine and Ours


That was the kind of day it was…His morning, my morning and then our afternoon and evening.

Mike went for a hike, I stayed home due to a knee injury (nothing serious, hyperextended the knee and strained some muscles).  Mike hiked the Kealia Trail (we did this earlier in our stay) to the Makua Overlook.

Mike sums this hike up with:

1. He prefers trails to walking on forest roads

2.  He would rather do switchbacks than straight uphill dirt roads

3.  Great view overlooking the Makua Valley

4.  He has never been called “Sir” so many times in his life.  He crossed trails with a group of Army guys working out on the trail.  Several men were carrying 35lb Kettlebells.  He thanked them all for serving

5.  The trail provided nourishment, strawberry quava and unripe lilikoi

Enjoy his photos:

at the start he watched parachuters


seems every hike in Hawaii has to have a water tower
unripe lilikoi

P1230912 P1230909 P1230907 P1230899 P1230896 P1230892 P1230890 P1230884 IMG_0682 IMG_0678 IMG_0677 P1230874 P1230872 P1230865 P1230862 P1230859 P1230857 P1230853 P1230851 The hike lasted 3 hours, over 6 miles with an elevation gain of 2100 feet.

kealia makua overlook

While he was off blazing the trail, I was having my kind of morning.  I was sitting around, reading and watching three guys fish off of the reef.  It was low tide so the turtles hadn’t arrived yet.


When Mike arrived home, blistered feet and all, we started our afternoon together.  We ventured out to lunch at Banzai Sushi Bar in Haleiwa.  If we had eaten here earlier in our trip, there would be multiple check in’s on facebook here.  We really enjoyed our lunch.

appetizer of ahi poke in coconut milk with red peppers, onion and cucumbers
I had fish and salad. Fresh caught marlin in tempura batter. Eating salad with chopsticks, a first for me
dessert was tempura fried bananas with fresh coconut ice cream

Back to the house to watch turtles.  I think I’m turning into the crazy turtle lady, forget ever being the crazy cat lady.

P1230948 P1230947 P1230924Dinner was succulent pork ribs, thank you VJs butcher shop with fresh Waialua grown green beans.  Sorry no picture, we ate it to fast.  We enjoyed dessert from our  friend’s goodie bag, limoncello and chocolate chip cookies.

Sunset was definitely our time.  We missed the past two nights of sunset viewing, we were not going to be missing it tonight.  It was a grand day of having our own time and our together time.



Wiliwilinui Trail(Oahu), or We aren’t hiking in the whites are we?


Hikergal and hubby are hiking in Oahu for a bit.  Needed a little change of pace from the hills of Connecticut and the mountains of New Hampshire.  Hiking here is different and yet the same.  The White Mountains have taught us well, to come prepared, carry full backpacks.  Of course that generates people staring at us, like we are from another planet.  People around here hike with very little gear, though the serious hikers use microspikes for the muddy/slick sections.

Today we decided to do our first ridge hike up Wiliwilinui trail.  Ridge hiking here is different, not as open and with sheer drop offs.  Also on this hike the trail was lined with uluhe ferns, a razor sharp fern that slices your skin.  No alpine flowers to entice us, just razor ferns.

This hike starts in a Wai’alae Iki V subdivision full of million dollar homes (average price 2.1 million).  You have to stop at a guard house and get a permit. Then you drive up to the trailhead.


You are requested to wipe your shoes, good practice to stop spreading invasive plants.


The trail started out on an old service road built in 1941.



There were some windows that provided lookouts on Honolulu along the road.


It was at this point I glanced up and went oh no, we are going up there.  Hmmm I think I’ve said that a few times before in the White Mountains.



So we trudge on.  The road ends and we finally hit the trail. The trail has these ferns that are razor sharp.  Thankfully I wore long pants, long sleeves would have helped too, because the ferns are tall and I am not. I didn’t get sliced to bad from them.



We started the ridge walk.  This was my view:



Yup I just had to look down.  It was a bit nerve wrecking for me to look up and around.  The thought of taking a tumble and sliding off the edge was to much for me.

This was Mike’s views:




We started the real climb up.  The last .5 mile, the final push was an 682 foot elevation gain.

The trails are slick. It is not the shoe sucking mud of new england. Ropes help you go up and down


ok this was fun
we just came up the steps

I thought at first our goal was the tower, no we had to go to a bump behind that. Ughhhhh

our goal is to the right of the tower

I will say the walk between the them was easy and not fatiguing.  We did a see a foot locker up there that had a four person litter in it for rescue.  We don’t need that.


Once we reached the summit we sat around for 10 minutes for refueling, picture taking and a giving our legs a rest.








It was time to head down.  I was a little nervous, but I remember doing the caps ridge trail.  I had way more fun going down than up.  That helped me set my mind and I did have more fun going down and I was actually able to look around, just not stare at the ground.










We got off the trail after four hours.  At first I was scared, but found out no need to be.  It was  fun trail and a great first ridge walk in Oahu for us.

wiliwilinui trail

The Details:  4 hours, 4.6 miles, 1200 feet elevation gain.

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