A Hike up Diamond Head

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Diamond Head is a dormant volcano that was once used as a military observation station but is now a state monument.  We knew Diamond Head would be crowded with both tourists and locals alike but we wanted to see the bird’s eye view of Waikiki.  The hiking distance is about 1.5 miles round trip and it can be done in about an hour or two depending on your level of physical strength.  You begin the hike up a walkway and then you will twist and turn up the crater.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the prettiest hike up.  I was amazed by the trash along the hiking path.  According to the state park website, there is a 1,000,000 dollar trail repair project in progress right now.

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You will walk through a tunnel…

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 and climb lots of stairs. 

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Once you are almost to the top, you will have to climb a spiral staircase and then crawl through a lookout station. 

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We saw lots of people running the trail for excercise as well as many women in heels.  My husband and I made the climb up and the return trip down in about 1.5 hours with stops at different lookout points.  Getting to the top was so worth it though…

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A few things to know before you go:

  • There are lots of stairs and they can be exhausting!
  • Bring water with you.  If you forget, there is a small lunch truck where you can purchase water, snacks, and other food items.
  • According to the website, there is a trail restoration project in progress.  Be sure to check the state park website before you go to determine if the trail is open.
  • We saw lots of children of all ages making the hike.  I think that my kids could have easily made the trip but we might have heard some complaining. 
  • If you really want the “I hiked Diamond Head” tshirt that someone is selling about halfway down the crater, haggle.  They went very low in price trying to get us to buy a tshirt (which we didn’t).

Stop by Delicious Baby for lots of other Photo Friday submissions!

Hiking Manoa Falls – Honolulu, Hawaii

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On Tuesday, I shared the story of a few stolen moments in the middle of a stormy rainforest with my husband.  It was romantic and fun and exciting all at the same time.  I did want to share a few things we learned while on that hike.  When we asked a local friend which hike is the best one for a waterfall, she immediately suggested Manoa Falls.  She said there were a lot of other hikes but that if we wanted to see a waterfall, Manoa Falls would not disappoint.  Another reason we chose Manoa Falls was because our friend said that it was a relatively easy hike and I was concerned about my freshly healed broken foot (the first broken foot!).

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Here are a few things to know before you go:

  • Leave the small children at home.  This is not a difficult hike, but I would not bring my four and six year old until they are older.  I probably wouldn’t take my own children until they were at least ten years old and that might be pushing it.  There are a lot of big steps to climb up and it is a true hike-no guardrails and in some areas it drops down VERY far!
  • Try to go on a semi-dry day.  Although I talked about how wonderful our very rainy hike was, in retrospect, it was not very safe.  As we were walking in, a local van driver waiting on a tourist group told us to be very careful because several people have slipped down the side of the mountain while hiking and had to be rescued.  Sometimes it takes hours to get rescue crews in.  He might have been trying to scare us, but it was definitely something to consider!  By the time we were on our way back down, the hiking pathway was flooded and water was up over the top of my tennis shoes in several places.

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  • The waterfall is blocked off and you cannot swim in the pool.  It is a very small area and if it gets crowded it will be hard to manuever. 
  • Watch where you step!  There are tree roots in the path, rocks that can be slippery, and a few small wooden pathways.

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  • Be sure to look around, too!  You will see the Waihi Stream, wild fruits such as guava and ginger, as well as lots and lots of bamboo.  We especially liked the giant ferns that reminded us of Jurassic Park!

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  • You exit the hike the same way you enter.
  • The hike is about a mile and a half roundtrip.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car. 

We are participating in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday!  Stop by to see what everyone else is talking about!

Honolulu Family Vacation on raveable

A Quiet Moment at Manoa Falls – Honolulu, Hawaii

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I have had a hard time going through my Hawaii pictures since we got home at the beginning of November.  I think it is just because I miss it so much.  Every time we leave a place we have visited, we always say things like “wow…we could definitely live here” or “I can’t wait to come back”.  But Oahu…with its 70’s style buildings, laid back North Shore where we spent a lot of our time, hiking trails, waterfalls, island music…it got inside of us and hasn’t left.  It was the first time that we really didn’t want to get on the plane to come home.  I truly believe that if we had our kids with us, we would have hired someone to pack up our house, ship our stuff and we would still be sitting on that island!  My husband has been listening to a local Oahu radio station on the computer, I have been comparing every meal out with the meals we had on the island and we are both trying to figure out how to get back there as soon as possible.

When a friend asked me what my favorite activity was, I told her that trip was so amazing that it was hard to pick a favorite activity.  If I had to pick one, I think I would choose hiking Manoa Falls.  It wasn’t just the hike, though.  Sure, it was an amazing hike through a rainforest and bamboo forest ending at a pool at the bottom of a beautiful waterfall.  It was the quiet moment that my husband and I stole together.  It was the feeling of being completely alone in this wild part of Hawaii when, in actuality, we were minutes away from Waikiki, a university, and many neighborhoods.

We went on a very rainy day.  As we entered the hike area, we watched two or three small groups come out and they looked like they had just taken a shower fully clothed.  It was pouring!  We decided to come back another day and did a U-turn in the parking.  We drove about three minutes back into Waikiki where the weather was beautiful and my husband talked me into trying the hike. 

“Don’t worry, honey.  The rain will go away soon.  Look how beautiful it is right now!”

HA!  It is moments like these that remind me why I love traveling so much…moments where I am talked into doing something I would never do at home…like hiking a mile and a half in a torrential downpour.  We would most certainly have stayed at home and scheduled the outing for another day. 

And so we hiked. 

It was wet and peaceful and wild and rainy.  It was beautiful and muddy and romantic all at the same time.  Except for one small group of tourists and a few college students, we were completely on our own.  We held hands as we wandered up the slopes and climbed the rocks.  We snapped a few pictures and just enjoyed the quiet, magical moments together.  That was on the way up to the waterfall.

On the way down to the car, after it had rained and rained, I was hoping that we wouldn’t have a “Romancing the Stone” moment.  You know, the moment when Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas get caught in a mudslide?

Go to :50 seconds to see the Romancing the Stone mudslide!

Luckily, this hike ended without any complications or mudslides.  When I dream about Hawaii, I remember this moment.  I remember how wonderful it was to spend time with my husband of ten years and enjoy the quiet moments without the worry of housework, bills, or kids pulling on our shirts vying for our attention. 

It was just him and me.  In a rainforest.

Stop by Mara’s at Mother of All Trips to see what other are dreaming about.  Stay tuned tomorrow for things to know before you hike Manoa Falls.

Hiking the AT – Photo Friday

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For this week’s Photo Friday at Delicious Baby, I decided to share some pictures that my husband took on his last Appalachian Trail hike.  Due to work constraints, he is not able to be a thru hiker but he does have a personal goal to section hike the whole thing.  During this last trip, they started at the beginning of the trail and hiked through a large portion of Georgia.  Being the photographer of the family, I made sure that I sent him with our little point and shoot so that he could take some pictures!

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Stop by Delicious Baby and check out all the great travel photos!