Sunday, January 6, 2008

High Compliments from a 6-Year Old
Updated Sunday 1/06/08.

Today was the first day of mostly-sunny skies we've had in a few weeks. I decided to take advantage of it by taking the boys for a hike and find a couple of geocaches. It took considerable effort to drag the boys away from Lego Star Wars. With a promise of Taco Bell for lunch (ES has gone taco-crazy lately) and a hike that would involve more WWII bunkers like we saw at Diamond Head, we loaded up our camelbaks and hiking sticks and hit the road.

After getting ES his taco-fix, we headed over to the eastern tip of the island just past Hanauma Bay and Koko Head Crater to hike the Makapuu Ridge.

All Geared-Up in the Parking Lot.
You can see the trailhead on the right and
the paved path heading up the hill.

The boys did really well. My GPS batteries died on our way back down, so I don't have the exact mileage, but it was at least 5 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain. The weather was great and the views were spectacular.

This was about one third of the way up. The trail did a switch-back here to head up toward the Makapuu Lighthouse. This was the best picture I got of Koko Head in the background. As the day went on and the sun went down, the crater became backlit and I couldn't get a good shot into the crater.

Here I tried cropping the picture to zoom in a bit and give you a better glimpse of Koko Head.

It was clear enough that we could see the faint outline of Molokai in the distance to the east. The paved trail ends at an overlook just above the Makapuu Lighthouse.

This was the self-portrait I took from the overlook.

This is the overlook where the paved part of the trail ends. Luckily for me, this was the first spot YS suffered from a boo-boo and tried to play the high-drama card on me. I don't know if we would have made it all the way to the top if it had happened sooner. He had barely a faint scrape mark on his leg and no blood, so I told him he was fine and let's go. He started crying and saying he wanted to go home, but we sat on a bench for a few minutes and ate our fruit snacks, and he was fine. From here, we continued on the dirt trail up to the WWII observation post bunkers at the top of the hill in the distance. YS slipped and fell about three more times after that, but he got up, brushed himself off, and said, "I'm okay."

ES really impressed me today with how helpful he was. On a few occasions he stopped to help YS with some tricky spots on the trail.

Here's ES and YS heading toward the observation post.

Standing on top of the roof of the observation post, we had clear views both to the southwest toward Koko Head (but it was backlit) and to the northwest along the windward side of the island. In the picture above, you can see the NGS benchmark in the center of the white X. Rabbit Island is in the background on the right, and you can sorta make out Kaneohe way out there in the distance (directly above YS's head).

This was the view back down to the overlook (where the paved trail ended) from on top of the observation post. You can see the paved trail, and you can see the Makapuu Lighthouse sticking out on the left hand side of the overlook.

I was surprised how many people we saw on the trail today. It was by no means crowded (as you can see from the pictures), but there was a steady stream of people going up and down the trail. Like when we hiked Diamond Head, I was also surprised how many people were doing this hike in "slippas" (Hawaiian term for "flip flops"), and this was considerably longer than the Diamond Head hike. Unlike the Diamond Head hike, I saw a LOT of people with baby strollers going up and down the paved part of the path just to the overlook and back (there were no stairs here like there were at Diamond Head).

After we finished crawling around the bunkers on top of the ridge and started climbing back down the hill, ES said, "Daddy, I want to tell you something." I said, "Okay." He said, "This was a little bit funner than playing Lego Star Wars." ...I just about fell off the side of the cliff in shock. Normally, if you take him away from the house for this long, you'll start getting complaints about how this is cutting into his Lego Star Wars game time, so I was absolutely ecstatic with his evaluation and high esteem of our hike today.

Oh, I have one more funny quote to share with you. When we were up at the top of the Makapuu Ridge, 730 feet above sea level and admiring the view, YS threw his arms out to either side and as if he were Leonardo di Caprio yelling "I'm the King of the World," YS pronounced to all the people at the overlook, "I WANT CHICKEN NUGGETS FOR DINNER!" This was totally out of the blue. We weren't talking about food or about dinner, so I have NO CLUE why standing there on top of that ridge made him think of chicken nuggets, or why he felt so compelled to pronounce it to the world (if any of them knew YS, they would not have been the least bit surprised by his declaration since all he EVER eats is chicken nuggets).

Both boys were complaining about their feet hurting on the way back down the trail. For about the first third of the way down, I made them both walk. Then I carried YS on my shoulders for about the next third of the hike down (to where I took that picture of them with Koko Head in the background on the way up). Then ES insisted he get a turn, so I carried ES on my shoulders down the last third. They were troopers though. I was really pleased that they made it all the way to the top under their own propulsion, and most of the way down, too.

As for now, my back and my feet are killing me. I need some motrin and a heat pack for my back.

More pictures to follow in Shutterfly later.

Update: We went back and hiked Makapuu Ridge a second time - click here to read about it.
Update: We went back and hiked Makapuu Ridge a third time - click here to read about it.

MAKAPU'U HIKE SUMMARY: I know when I'm trying to decide on a new hike location, I search for an overview about the hike that will help me judge if it's doable with two little boys. For anyone else looking to do this hike, here's a quick summary:
Map: This hike is covered by Ball Chapter 29 (see aside below). However, note that we did NOT do the "loop" described by Ball. The terrain looked a little treacherous going from point B to point C on Ball's map (update: we did the "loop" the second time we went). This time, we just followed the paved trail that goes from A to E to D to C, then back down the same way we came up.
Mileage: My GPS trip odometer said 2.6 miles when we turned around to head back down, but we had done a couple of little side trips to grab two geocaches along the way. So I think the total round trip was around 5.0 miles.
Elevation Gain: The parking lot is just under 130 feet, and the bunker on top of the ridge is at 730 feet, so it's approximately 600 feet of elevation gain.
Terrain: Mostly paved path at a gradual slope up to the overlook, then dirt and rock paths up to the bunker. There are some steep drop-offs along the sides here and there, so watch your children carefully.
Time: We left the parking lot at 1 p.m. After finding two geocaches along the way up and exploring the bunkers on top, when we decided it was time to head back down, it was 4:15 p.m. We arrived back at the car at 5:15 p.m, so it took us 1 hour walking at a steady pace down the hill with no stops. Note the park closes at 6:45 p.m. (at least in winter, it looked like they could change the closing time on the sign).
Facilities: There were NONE - no bathrooms, no drinking fountains, nor any other sort of facilities anywhere in the parking lot or along the trail. (Luckily, having two boys, we watered a couple of bushes along the way). For the nearest restrooms, drive south about a half mile. There are public restrooms at the beach just south of Makapuu Ridge.

Aside: Explanation about "Ball" mentioned above. There is one book that is commonly accepted on the island as THE common reference for hiking on Oahu. It is The Hiker's Guide to O'ahu by Stuart Ball. You will find in geocache listings and other hiking websites that people will refer to, "Ball Chapter X." That's refering to this book and what chapter covers that hike. You may click here for the book's listing on or click here for the Barnes and Noble listing.


Loping Squid said...

that's great that ES thought the hiking was better. But as for the weather's 40 and raining here right now...and as warm as its been in weeks. I'm just waiting for the weather to get good enough that I can get him outside without fear of making him sicker.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Praise of outdoor fun versus electronic stimuli is fabulous praise indeed!

One Crazy Adventure said...

Looks beautiful!

I love those moments when the kids actually play nicely together, share, be nice to one another and the eldest actually helps instead of complaining. Although rare... definitely something to enjoy.

BTW, thanks for adding me to your list. Will have to add you too.

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking photos! (I miss Hawaii!) But my favorite was ES helping YS up the hill. What a great shot! How awesome that he enjoyed the hike so much!

Inquiring minds want to know...were chicken nuggets on the dinner menu? :)

Black Shoe said...

Wish we were still there with you.

Sagey said...

Chinese Chicken nuggets were on the menu. Since they finished their hike so late, Blunoz went to the Panda Express drive thru and brought Orange Chicken home for us to share.

blunoz said...

I updated this post today to add a few things:
- Added a picture of the path so you get a feel for what the terrain was like.
- Added an observation that there were a LOT of people with baby strollers going up and down the paved portion.
- Added a summary at the bottom for anyone else interested in trying this hike.

The A Team said...

Hugely impressed. My two girls love the outdoors, but I would have been carrying both no less than an hour into the trip. Stunning scenery. Hoping the USAF sees Hickham AFB somewhere on our horizon. The random thought of chicken nuggets is a universal thing.... if you are under 10 they are the perfect food.

MightyMom said...

well, chicken nuggets ARE important!!

Sonshine will do that stuff to me too....just out of nowhere, it's really funny cuz it's kinda rare when he makes up his own sentences anyway (developmental delay) and then when he does it blows us away!

keep after them and they'll soon be asking you to go on those hikes!

blessings on you and yours

MightyMom said...

how old are ES and YS?

Black Hockey Jesus said...

Your kids rock. Tenacious hikers.