Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiking to Lanikai Pillboxes

Yesterday we went hiking to the Lanikai Pillboxes over on the windward side. I was assured that this one was much easier than the easy hike we had been on before. No handholds needed, no cliffs to climb while hanging on to a rope. That's my kind of hike.

We all gathered together to start our hike at five o'clock in the afternoon. Our main purpose in starting so late was to climb to the top and then watch the full moon rise. We've been waiting quite a while for a night when the weather was good, and when the moon was not already up, or only had a crescent showing.

Of course, once we were all ready to go, one of the teens who has been on this hike before mentioned, "Yeah, there's just a couple of parts where the trail is so narrow it's like, if you step too far to the right, you die. If you step too far to the left, you die."


As it turns out, we weren't going to be hiking along a regular trail, but along a ridge. I wasn't pleased to be hearing this info. "Why are we taking our kids up to a place where they could take a wrong step and die?" I wanted to know.

I was assured that it really wasn't dangerous and that the teens were just dramatizing.

So off we went.

If you ever go, you should know there is no public parking lot for this hike. You have to park in a neighborhood, so be respectful of people's driveways and property.

Also, the first third of this hike is fairly strenuous. Bring a water bottle that you don't have to hold in your hand. There are a lot of places where you really have to scramble up some steep inclines covered in loose gravel and grab on to branches to help hoist yourself along. But I really didn't find any of it to be so difficult that I wished I hadn't come.

About the time you start breathing hard, you reach a really good spot to stop and take in the view of the Mokulua Islands. It is a phenomenal view of the windward coast and I am not kidding. It was like looking at a postcard.

When you see this view, you want to stop and get your breath back.

Because the trail is about to get steep again.

As you climb higher and higher the view just gets better and better. The sunset was reflecting off the ocean making the water look rosy.

This is one of the areas where if you go left you die, if you go right you die. It's not very wide, but at least it isn't a sheer drop off a cliff on either side. It is incredibly windy when you get to these areas though. If you ever go, wear a jacket. I actually got an ear ache from the wind.

We could also see the town of Kailua below us.

We could see the sun setting as we were hiking, and it was a great view.

The "pillboxes" are actually two bunkers left over from World War II. You can climb down inside of them or just sit on the roof of one.

This is the view from the first pillbox. We didn't climb up on this one, but headed up higher to the second one and climbed up on top of it.

The view from the rooftop was fabulous.

The view inside the bunker was fabulous in a different way.

We all sat on the rooftop and watched the lights come on in the town below us as we waited for the moon to rise.

We watched it come up over the Mokulua Islands. It was full and bright and rose a lot faster than you would think.

We stayed up there for quite a while just talking and trying to keep warm. Then we all pulled out our flashlights and headed back down.

Now, what I call a strenuous but not horrible hike on the way up in the daylight, is a whole different story on the way down in the dark. Katie promptly dropped her flashlight and broke it so we had less light from the start. We lost sight of the trail several times in the dark. Those steep places with loose gravel are extremely difficult to navigate in the dark while holding a flashlight. There was one steep section where I would cling to one little tree on the side of the path, then aim for the next little tree on the path to stop my forward motion by grabbing on to it. Then I would pick out another little tree further down and start over again. This required changing my flashlight from hand to hand depending on what side of the trail the next tree was on. I think I did fairly well as I only fell three times - doing a very impressive split on one incline. I took some skin off my palms and my forearm, bruised my behind on some gravel, and jammed most of my fingers on my right hand.

If you ever go, bring Bactine.

1 comment:

  1. and headlamps. and maybe drop glow in the dark pebbles behind.