Manoa Falls Trail , Oahu, Hawaii

One of the best things about Manoa Falls are the parking security guards. Semi wild chickens who have the run of the car park! 

Nestled in the Manoa Valley mountains, the Na Ala Hele (trail for walking) Manoa Falls Trail is a 2.6km/1.6mi hike up into the mountains. Starting at the car park the trail takes you into the rainforest. I think admission was about $5 if arriving by car otherwise it’s free. Trees start out tall with canopies reaching fanning out to the sky. Looking up they gently give each other breathing space while almost matching each others outline just like looking at world maps seeing where continents once connected, like a jigsaw puzzle or tropical coral fanning out. As you get higher up the path becomes narrower, steeper. Plants you don’t notice unless you use a branch to help you up. Tree trunks become skinner, the leaves become bigger as they compete for light, the forest becomes more dense, the path narrower and rockier. When we went it had been raining earlier so the path was muddy. Muddy! If you do this hike, wear something more than sandals as several people met the mud in style. Also do the hike earlier in the day if you want to avoid people. The hike takes around 1-2 hours there and back. No photos I’m sure it can be done in just over an hour. I think the trial during the initial covid-19 lockdowns was closed for maintenance to widen the path and make it more user friendly. It’s since reopened however I’m so grateful I got to visit before the covid-19 pandemic took hold. I’d love one day to go back to explore more trails that connect to it and those from the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum located near the start of the trail. This girl can visit in her dreams!

The security guards. Don’t mess with them

The path ends at Manoa Falls, a beautiful waterfall that I swear has ledges cut out each side for shampoo. Only joking, the ledges are filled with plants, but maybe just maybe shampoo. I wanted to get closer but the good positions were taken up with selfies. Take 100, delete all, take another 100 selfies. Another reason to get there early. I felt for the people that hiked up with 2 people with loudspeakers. Why? The epic soundtrack. In a city I get it, but in nature, please leave the music behind if anything to let others who for many it’s once in a lifetime experience to enjoy it. Man, I sound so old! Looking back I didn’t hear many birds. Maybe they avoid the area due to people. There were moments on the path to myself which was cool against the day’s heat.

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Beauty Finds: Ola Tropical Apothecary Hawaiian Body Products Ocean Elements Kai Toner

Welcome back to another Beauty Finds! This edition, Ola Tropical Apothecary Hawaiian Body Products, Ocean Elements Kai Toner.

I have a few requirements when it comes to cosmetics and skin care: cruelty free, natural, clean, vegan better. I do my best to avoid the nasty ingredients such as SLSs, parabens, PEGs, silicones, etc. Petrochemicals are the sneakiest with so many derivatives and aliases. I also avoid palm oil and it’s derivatives as I prefer orangutans. Coconut oil marketed as the good oil I’m also cutting down on as it can be just a damaging crop as palm oil. If I do get products with these ingredients in I try to get organic or sustainably sourced. With make up it’s a little harder so I go for cruelty free brands. I prefer products with less plastic and thankfully more brands are aware consumers don’t want unnecessary plastic (or governments are telling them less plastic). My skin type’s oily sensitive, acne prone and now wrinkles. I know nothing stops those lines, but if I can delay them then….

Kai toner blends Distilled Water to purify the skin, Aloe Vera and Coconut Sugar to exfoliate the skin, naturally astringent Witch Hazel and an infusion of mineral-rich Hawaiian Seaweeds and Nigari to support exfoliation, purification and balancing of the skin. 

I found Kai toner in a department store in Honolulu on holiday last year in the main shopping/high street. There were so many local skincare and cosmetic brands I wanted to take them all back with me. Luggage allowance and pennies prevented me. Lets not talk about Target’s beauty department, Ulta or Sephora on the ‘mainland’ either. I’d have needed an extra suitcase just for beauty products as I’d have gone crazy if it was unlimited. We did get another suitcase each, but mine wasn’t filled entirely of beauty products!

Toners are the one product I’m not that loyal with. Creams, cleansers I’ll stick with a brand for a few bottles. Toner’s being the link between restoring ph levels after cleaning and before serums, oils and creams I switch out a lot more regularly. Maybe this because I can tell if my skin likes them more than other products. 

Aloe vera, coconut sugar, Hawaiian seaweed and formulated for oily skin had me. Even more so hibiscus flowers my favourite flower. Made in Hawaii, I’m in. Local crafted, I’m in. Sustainably crafted, locally harvested, naturally active and certified organic, I’m always in. I really like Hawaiian Body Products ethics and use of ingredients and materials. 

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Spitting Caves, Oahu, Hawaii

After a quick stop at Lania Lookout we headed to a sunset spot Spitting Caves, also known as China Walls. Caves in the cliff spit out the water as the waves crash into them. It’s literally a run down path between two houses that looks like it’s probably a pee alley. You go down a steepish dirt path that opens out onto amazing ocean views and rocks. It was already getting busy with sunset watchers and whale watchers when we got there. P later commented that in the USA people actually stop to watch the sunset. This was more so along the Big Sur, but then you have to stop and watch the sunset along the Big Sur. If I can I like to watch the sunrise to sunsets.

I was more incited by the rocks and the water hitting and swirling around the rock face. So many red layers that contrasted with the blues. I didn’t notice until looking at the photos there’s a rope ladder and a rope to get down to the rocks. Or for after Google images, climbing back up after cliff diving. I didn’t know at the time it was Spitting Cave. Now it clicks the beautiful swirling sea ocean patterns. I can never get used to call it the ocean. I’m used to sea. 

As I wanted some p&q I sat away from the main crowd on naturally worn away stone that was like a seat. Filled with warmth from the day and for stone comfy to sit on. It was an in memory of seat. I can see why they came to watch the ocean and light. Or perhaps he was a cliff diver who lost his life living it full cliff diving. There was also a rescue ring with Lei so I’m hoping this place has some good juju! Flowers are normally placed where people died or they are in Europe along roads. Or maybe it was an ocean offering.

Lumahai Street
Path down
The view that greets you

The houses were amazing. They must cost a bomb to run and fed up with tourists tramping everywhere for the views, but amazing nonetheless. And sh*t in a storm so close to the water. I’m sure Hawaii like everywhere else has it’s problems, high rent, high living costs, dependency on tourism (which shows in a pandemic like now), unemployment, gentrification, at times limited to what you can do but an upside must be the being on a beautiful island that has a bit of everything: wilderness, city, being able to be in the water all year round. 

The rocks and cliff face

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Lanai Lookout, Oahu, Hawaii (I Think)

On the way to catch the sunset after Kailua Beach we stopped off at Lanai Lookout which has amazing views the rocks and ocean. Where the ocean hit the rocks and swirls it produced were mesmerising.  

The hill behind you can see the lava flows now taken over by nature. These lava flows continue to the rock in less quicker flowing layers. More like the end of the flow when it speed slowed down the lava spread out to be curved edges or perhaps it’s more where the ocean and wind has shaped the rocks. Signs are up saying no crossing beyond this point, but who obeys signs when the views are something else?

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Kailua Beach, Oahu

We didn’t stop long at Kailua Beach as there was a sunset to catch later. The silky soft gets everywhere sandy beach. Sunny skies when we got there after hiking the Pillbox Hike. Clouds came later. Well, they appeared as soon as we found spot. That’s how the island went. Sunny mornings with few clouds, afternoons cloudy depending on what part of the island you were on.

Sun out of the clouds warm, behind the clouds a little chilly, but you know beach equals sunbathing if it’s 25C plus. The water was so warm. Bathwater water warm which meant I didn’t want to get out. Perfect with chilly thermal layer bits. I think it was quite shallow too. The bit we chose was close to a river mouth. People kayaking up to chill at the beach and an after school sailing club on outriggers. 

While tomando sol a little french bulldog got lost. S/He jumped over P to sit right by my head waiting for their human. I wasn’t bothered (well kinda as I had my bikini straps down and didn’t want to fall out if I sat up in that particular bikini). I was honoured they choose me to wait until reunited with their human. It’s human didn’t take long, about 30 seconds to find him/her again before being off again for daily adventures. Maybe I smelt safe for the lost minute. 

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