Lanikai Pillbox Hike, Oahu

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.

2nd Pillbox. Chinaman’s hat in the distance

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!

Path to 2nd Pillbox
Chinaman’s Hat in the distance

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. 

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Sunset At Sausalito

After hiking around Muir Woods and visiting my first Californian beach, Muir Beach, Sausalito was next before it got dark.

We got there just after everywhere had closed and perhaps had this was a good thing. We got the bay lit up pink in a reverse sunset. We stopped for photos before heading to Mission Cliffs Climbing (I did want to go to Dogpatch Boulders however they were closed on a Sunday. The following day we were heading to Oahu! Mission Cliff was the only place open) for some indoor bouldering. I wanted to keep my training up while away and try out different route setting. The grades got me as I’m used to French and Fontainebleau grades as opposed to V grades. It took me a while to get used to their style and had to drop a few grades, but that’s okay. It’s good not to get used to the setting where I go gym climbing. Makes my brain think. 

Famous for its old wooden fishing houses, ceramics, boat houses (Ottis Reading wrote Sitting in the Dock of Bay in one) and ship building history Sausalito overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Sausalito’s name comes from the Spanish settlers sauzalito for small willow grove (plot twist, an English sailor and Mexican citizen, William Richardson submitted a claim for area to be called Rancho Sausalito and also set up the village street plan of Yerba Buena now modern Day San Fransisco. Wikipedia’s great!). It’s such a cool name to say. Any name with ito/a: really small, young or to show affection in Spanish added to a word is fun to say. Sausalito!

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Golden Gate Bridge

All I knew about San Francisco before visiting earlier this year was that it’s hilly, Herbie caused mischief, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, it’s foggy and the fog horns mostly from movies and TV shows.

We wanted to get to Baker Beach which has the best photographic views of the bridge around sunset and got thick January fog instead. That didn’t stop people from still visiting the bridge, running or cycling. It perhaps was the best time to visit to hear infamous fog horns. Horns I recognised immediately thanks to countless movies and TV shows. It was oddly comforting to hear them. There’s even a number you can call up to listen to them! 

Path along top of Baker Beach

Old bunkers at Baker Beach

Please excuse the ISO noise. It was my first time shooting in thick fog.

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Muir Beach

We stopped by after visiting Muir Woods National Monument earlier this year on our holiday vaccay to Northern California and Hawaii, Muir Beach. A cove, lagoon and beach that’s nestled along the coast by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park. Though it was January it was still busy when we got there near sunset with a switch from the day beach goers to the dusk beach goers. 

We didn’t stop long, only exploring the beach not the beach overlook as we wanted to look around Sausalito before it got dark. It was enough time for me to understand the magic of California beaches. All beaches have their charm. Maybe it’s the hype, maybe it’s because California is known for its beach life, maybe because it was my first California beach, maybe it was the mid winter light. Either way I can see why California beaches and the sea ocean draw people under their spell. 

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Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock

Last October P, D the cat and I took a weekend road trip to Bilbao. D was his usual drama queen self in the car. We figured out to put the litter box available for easy access and remind him passing police, he had to get back into his transport box, which wasn’t happening as it’s D. He was at trooper all weekend enjoying pre cooked roast chicken we thankfully found in Hypercor otherwise who knows what would have happened if he had to eat normal cat food. The shits. Sadly it was his last road trip before he said his last see you later in December. I still can’t believe he’s no longer here. He missed his brother AJ and I think he just wanted to be with his brother. 

The Saturday we explored Bilbao, the Sunday we went to Gaztelugatxe. Castle Rock in English. A castle, St Juan de Gaztelugatxe built on a little islet along the coast of Biscay. Steeped in history it’s been a hermits hut, castle, fortress, refugee, chapel, laid under siege, caves prison to ‘witches’, Game of Thrones Dragonstone set and a pilgrimage site. Depending on how you see it the weather was in our favour. Sunny clear skies would have been great but the drizzly rainy day added to the feel. The way the sea crashed the shoreline matching the jagged rocks and coastline. The one time we got someplace early and experienced the lesser foot traffic before the afternoon visitors picked up. Had we been usual time getting anywhere foot traffic would have been high, queue for vistas while the Instagrammers got their selfie. 


Access is free although they prefer if you book online. Maybe it speeds up the ticket office work. Parking is plenty with overspill car parks. Hiking boots are recommend even though the path down is paved it gets slippery when wet and it’s steep in places. The Basque region is a luscious green thanks to its rainy climate. Walking back up, several were wishing they had different more grippy shoes as they clung onto the handrail getting down the 35 degree slope.

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