Dragon’s Breath

Back to the Makapu’u lighthouse trail and the Ka’Iwi coat today.  A friend that I met through diving invited me out on a hike today and I was excited about it.  I knew this trail would share a trailhead with Makapu’u and I was prepared.  Or so I thought. 

We arrived around 10am and started up the paved trail.  There was a group of about 8 of us led by a couple of local boys.  The entire hike was under a mile one way.  But it was a hard-earned mile.  The first half mile was uphill in the full sun and though it’s paved it’s not a gentle grade.  At about the half way point of the makapu’u trail there is a lookout where people watch the whales in the winter and there is a plaque about the whales. 

With a local person that knows the trail we slowly switchbacked down to the tide pools and blowholes.  Unlike the Halona blowhole these twin blowholes are at the end of some rather long lava tubes.  Because the tide was out I did not get the privilege of seeing them go off today apart from a fleeting spray that could barely be seen.  What we did get to do because the tide was out is swim in some of the tide pools and see some fish I haven’t seen before.  Had the tide been in at least one of these tide pools would not have been accessible.  This trail is black lava rock all the way down.  Footing can be tricky at times because of loose rock and some areas where turning backward and climbing down is required.  Today we had a group of varying abilities so we took it slow.  It was hot hot hot out there today under the sun with no shade and walking on black rock.  By the time we reached the bottom we were all ready for a dip in that water! 

Today’s hike had huge payoff though.  We saw innumerable whales, had a picnic, swam in the tide pools and though we didn’t see the dragon we certainly heard it.  It’s a really cool sound and it truly sounds like dragon breathing fire.  At least the ones I’ve seen in the movies.  I can’t say I’ve ever met a dragon. 

This trail is pretty safe but it’s not well marked and it would be all too easy to stray onto loose rock and fall to one’s death.  So I really can’t recommend this for tourists.  You really need a local guide, and even after hiking it I still wouldn’t hike it without a guide. 

We all headed straight for water because we were HOT!  And it was beyond sweet!

We saw some cool fish in a small area and it was so nice and cool.  Once we all cooled off we all came back and ate our sandwiches and just watched the whales.  Today was a great day to see the humpbacks.  We saw numerous whales breach, flip their tails in just generally swim around.  We must have seen a dozen different spouts out there at one time today. 

Way in the background of the picture above you can see Makapu’u lighthouse as we saw it from the bottom of the trail.  When I got to the bottom of this trail I looked up and was truly amazed I made it down that cliff.  Honestly it’s a cliff and you need a guide to stay on the trail.  I can’t stress enough that you this trail is dangerous and not for the faint of heart. 

All I can really say about this pic is that I turned around and just said “oh wow did I just come down that?” 

As with every good hike there was a hike back.  In this case I’m really not sure which direction was more difficult.  They both present a challenge.  Climbing down was handled easily by getting low and turning around to go down some steep areas.  On the way back up there is a decent amount of “stemming” or climbing which requires both a strong foothold and handhold to make it up.  We stopped about 3 times on the way up not because it was too difficult but because we were all sucking wind.  Some more than others but I know I needed the break to catch my breath and get my heart rate down a bit.  But once you reach the top there is only the walk downhill to your car. 

I have to give props to the crew though.  I think we were 7 total today and I really enjoyed the hike.  Some of the people were younger than I and others were older but everyone was very considerate.  We stopped and rested when the group needed it and we all had a great time.  My camera crapped out in the middle of this hike otherwise I would have gotten a shot of everyone up on the rocks eating their pb and j and munching our apples.  I hope I get the opportunity to hike with these guys again.  I have been looking for some people who share my passion for exploring and hiking and I thought I fit right in.  But, true to form, I meet the most kindred spirits in the military world as either they or I are on our way out.  Jeanie is on her way back to the mainland as her husband retires from the military.  But I hope she will hook me up with these guys again. 

A little side note that probably only fellow military will appreciate.  Today I hiked with a Colonel’s wife and a  former USARPAC (us army pacific comand) sergeant majors wife.  The military can’t touch me.  They can’t tell me that I can’t do this any time I choose.  And no one treated me as if I was inferior.  Sometimes I hate the military sticking their noses where it doesn’t belong.  I understand the reasons behind it and really it doesn’t matter anyway but sometimes I just don’t like being told who to be friends with.  I meet these people through other things and why shouldn’t they be my friends?  We share a common interest.  But the military doesn’t exactly see it that way.  Technically John is not allowed to socialize with my friend and her husband because he’s a senior officer and my husband is enlisted.  It should be interesting if I ever take my husband over there for drinks…lol.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 13:17:25

    Sounds like you are having a lot of fun getting out and about on this beautiful island. I am active duty myself, just starting 3 years of shore duty after 8 years of sea duty on the island. Took up snorkeling as a family back in the summer and my 14 yr old daughter and I are just now aggressively hitting the trails (wife’s not sure how she feels about hiking yet – did Aiea Loop in the rain one day and hasn’t tried it again since!). We started down towards the tidepools one day, but had to turn back due to deciding to head to the lighthouse rather late in the day – definitely want to do it soon! We’ve hit Mariner’s and Kuli’ou’ou recently and we are starting to get to know people through the OWH group on FB. Like you, we are always looking for people to share adventures with!


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