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 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.
First Hawaiian Hike! For once we got out fairly earlyish but still late as we’d been travelling the day before and spent the afternoon exploring Honolulu’s main shopping street. Although we had more fun finding Farmland Farm in Ala Moana Mall, one of Oahu’s supermarket chains in the evening, getting back late and eating late which was the theme of the whole Oahu and Northern Californian trip earlier this year.
Farmland Farm was also the best recuerdos or souvenirs. All gifts are local to Oahu or the islands, supporting small businesses. I got some great flour sack print towels I’ll never use as they’re too nice! I want to frame them instead. Sadly researching the printer they’re no longer printing. Farmland Farm also has a great organic section mixed in with non organic foods (which I like, as you get more options) and sold many Hawaiian brands. It was a little expensive factoring in most other items are shipped in however we found everything we needed. During the whole trip we only ate out 3 times, none of which were in Oahu. 2 times were great, the other a disappointment. We prefer to stay apartment hotels or airbnb to keep costs lower by making own meals. We get back late when most places have closed the kitchens so it makes more sense. Being vegans, it makes everything easier to make own meals too.
Anyways, The Lanikai Pill Box hike is in Lanikai, Kailua along Kaiwa mountain range I think the posher part of the Island. All the houses looked kinda immaculate driving through the neighbourhood and looking down from the hike the lawns looked manicured. We parked near the golf course, so it’s in a posher area for sure.
We found out about the hike from watching a few YouTube videos before and online I think Trip Advisor. The start of the hike is a blink and you’ll miss it. It’s just a road construction sign with directions. Some comments said it can be muddy and thankfully it was dry. We only took our workout trainers as who needs hiking boots in Oahu?! Maybe shoulda took them. I felt for girls in sandals, cute IG outfits for the pictures awaiting ahead struggling on the path. The trail is ranked intermediate as it gets rocky and steep in places with parts of the trial nothing to grab hold onto. Being British we find the term hiking a little weird. Even saying the word hike is weird. For us it’s a walk. Hiking is what takes you all day or a few days in remoteness in the mountains and even then we probably wouldn’t use the word hike. Anything less is a walk regardless of the terrain with trails being paths. The hike takes about an hour’s loop to the first pillbox.
As usual I’m a shit editor with photos. I cut out a lot. A lot!
The views at the top are 100% worth hiking up for. If you want no humans, Instagrammers taking all day to get the shot go early. It’s a popular trail, everybody wants a photo of them there. I did too but I gave up waiting my turn or any vista with few humans. We hiked onto the 2nd pillbox with less people and then onto the 3rd which is now just it’s base. So much quieter and got to walk through shaded wooded bit. We didn’t see anybody past the 2nd pillbox. The hike went on over the range top however as it was getting late in the afternoon, there was a beach to hit and more importantly the water.
You can’t go to Northern California and not take time out to checkout Redwoods and Sequoias some of Earth’s oldest and tallest trees! On holiday vaccay easier this year to San Francisco, Hawaii and the Big Sur, we wanted to see for ourselves these amazing trees.
Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks were under snow and when P looked to see how far Hawaii was from California, Hawaii won. Luckily just north of San Francisco is Muir Woods and Muir Woods National Monument, a National Park filled with Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias.
Most of the photos are noisy with ISO as it was my first time shooting in such light. I wasn’t sure of the levels shutter speed or aperture so please excuse the noise and look of some photos. As usual I’m a bad editor cutting down photos.
If driving there you have to book up in advance the parking ticket. No advance ticket, no entry. About 1-2km from the park are signs reminding you last chance to book up before as there’s no mobile or wifi coverage once in the park. Parking is $8.50, entrance $15 per person. Under 15’s free. A shuttle bus is available from near by towns.
The main show is the monument, a mostly boarded loop trail in the thickest darkest part of the forest. Redwoods are the stars here. I wanted to do the Panoramic Trail (once the ocean view walk before the trees grew blocking the vista) however time was an issue before the park closed. A ranger recommend the Canopy trail, a 4.8km/3mi approx 2 hours hike that connects with Lost Trail and and part of Fern Creek trail looping back to the entrance. He mentioned it’s great for lefties. Being mixed handed I loved the trial until it looped back in favour of righties. The path flowed. We got there around midday on a Sunday with the trial already getting busy. If you want peace and quiet, no human voices go early. It was so obvious we were the tourists in our winter coats while the locals were in t-shirts and tank tops. No way was it warm enough! It was the same temps as back in Barcelona and everybody there was in winter coats.
Just like the Cali ones and info signs all over the world, in the shortest, most concise way information signs let us know what we can and can’t do in all languages with or without words. No sh*t Nat! The psychology behind them is something too. Designers know we don’t look up walking or only a little head. Picture info signs can leave you guessing alternate situations to what they want to say or meanings lost as your imagination runs a little wild. When it’s Hawaii that mystical place that does exist when you get there, none of this matters as it’s Hawaii. All signs, notices, parking meters are just cool.
One thing I noticed in Northern California aside from few wearing coats in February was around 19.00 it’s almost like San Francisco streets emptied. In Barcelona the streets are still full of bustle and hustle at 19.00. Even the residential streets walking along from San Francisco’s city centre to Pier 39 were quiet. Pier 39 had a little more energy as did the centre, everything in between left us asking where everybody went.
The buildings walking down to Pier 39 in the more residential streets were amazing. While each building was more of less the same, the facades were the stars, the steps the main stars in the older part of the city. I’d have loved to see them in daylight but maybe I wouldn’t have noticed them with people around. Many town houses are spilt into apartments and there’s no way I’d want a basement apartment no matter how pretty the steps. I need sunlight!
Who looks up at street sign names? The rest of the world apart from San Fransisco and probably the rest of USA.