Lē’ahi, Diamond Head Monument, Oahu, Hawaii

Animal Kingdom, Lifestyle, Nature, Travel

Lē’ahi, the summit that resembles the forehead/lae of the ‘ahi fish as named by Hi’iaka the sister of the fire goddess Pele. Another Lē’ahi meaning is ‘fire headland’ from fires lit high on the summit to guide canoes safely back. The Western name, Diamond Head comes Western explorers thinking the calcite crystals found on the slopes were diamonds. Perfect names for a volcano on an island born of volcanic fire.

If I wasn’t feeling already a little uneasy that I was on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean without any more solid mainland behind me, walking around a now extinct volcanic crater may have added to a little more freak out if I gave it more thought. Lē’ahi/ Diamond Head Monument’s crater is believed to have been created from a single eruption 300,000 years ago. The highest ledge along the south-western side was created as the wind blew the ash at the time of eruption making it look like the now ‘ahi fish forehead. The seaward slopes are protected by a coral reef, which is why coral reefs are so important. Aside from the marine life they shelter they also protect land from coastal storms. Another thing cool thing about the crater is in winter, rainwater collects in mini lake in the centre! Most of the plants and animals along paths were introduced in the 1800’s. There’s one native plant still standing, ‘ilima!

Only some of the path is paved and flat. The rest is cut from rock so it’s uneven most of the way with some steep parts

Manoa Falls Trail , Oahu, Hawaii

Animal Kingdom, Lifestyle, Nature, Photography, Travel

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.