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Kailua, Hawaii, United States

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Walk to Ka'ena Point

Hi all, time for another hike report. From the comments made by several recipients I can say that my last hiking report was not very well-received due to my lack of serious thought before telling you all that it was dangerous AND I was by myself. I really should edit myself better! Point taken, I'll try to be more careful.

So...for this hike I chose Ka'ena Point. Ka'ena Point is the far northwest tip of the island, where ancient Hawaiians believed that their souls went before they "jumped off" to the afterlife. The road ends about 2 and a half miles from the point on both the north and west sides of the island. I decided to hike in from the west as reports I read on the net said it was prettier that way.

I parked the car in as hidden a spot as I could find near the trailhead. Unfortunately, a few of the locals believe that anything that isn't moving is fair game for stealing. The trail is really what is left of an old road and train track. Once in a while there is a spot where the road has caved into the ocean, but all in all its good for walking. The walk there was really pretty, and I say walk because there isn't much up or down or anything that would have me calling it a hike. And how dangerous could a "walk" be? Couldn't have been safer, even passes the "but could you take your Mom?" test. I could see a few Green Sea Turtles as I walked, the water was really clear.

When you get to the Point there are signs warning you to stay on the path and not bother the Albatross chicks or their parents. I saw one Albatross chick that was close enough to get a picture. The chick was huge, it still had its brown, downy feathers but is the size of a toy poodle already. They are big birds when they grow up! It was hard to get a picture of an adult as they swooped in the wind, but I finally did get a decent one that isn't too far away to see it.

I took the trail that led down the dunes to the beach. There was another sign that said to stay back from the Monk Seals if you see one. I thought, yeah sure, but as soon as I went over the little hill, there were two Monk Seals! One was asleep on the rocks, the other was sleeping in the water. They paid no attention to me at all. I took their picture, but tried not to disturb their nap.

I was trying to take the usual picture of myself out on the Point; every time I put the camera on something, before I could get the pic, the camera would fall off into the sand! I gave up but it seems that one of the times it went off as I went to retrieve it, so that's why the odd picture of me...

I thought I'd been pretty lucky to see so much rare wildlife in one day, but I hadn't seen any whales, and I had read that the whales really like the area by the point. I was disappointed but finally gave up watching for them and got off my rock to take the trail back. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something odd, it was a whale breathing! It then came up several times and I could see its huge tail slapping the water as it dove. It happened several times, I couldn't tell if it was one whale or more, but it was cool!

I headed back after the whale disappeared and the walk back was even prettier than the walk there. The way the coast curves let me see a lot more of the coast at a time. There are several natural bridges and lots of tidepools. Anyway, I got back to the Jeep about 3 hours after I started, an easy trip.

Not sure what the next hike will be, how about the Haiku Stairs (also called the Stairway to Heaven)? Look it up online and see if you think it is safe enough for me!

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