Hiking Hawaii: Aiea Loop Trail
Another day, another hike... Yet again we hiked with our friend & Anita's brother - Rocky - who once called Oahu his home.
After looking through a few of my favorite Hawaii blogs (click here and here), we decided on a relatively short 4.4 mile Aiea Loop trail. The trail head is located near Pearl City, an area which we've never before hiked. What made this hike so attractive were the remarkable views - and not just any views - stunning panoramas of the H3 highway (weird, I know - but bear with me here!)
Another hike which offers somewhat comparable although a lot more spectacular highway views is the 1942 military "Haiku Stairs" trail. Much to our disappointment, the stairs face the danger of being dismantled soon as they sustained significant damage during a recent rainstorm. Also, even when they were not damaged, the hike was still illegal to do.
Now, if you are wondering why anyone would get excited about views of a highway, below are some photos to help you understand:
Trail head was very well marked and parking was plentiful. This is the upside of legal and official hikes. Most of the hike was evenly-leveled. Here I am pondering the meaning of life (or probably checking out some ferns). Despite the density of the forest, the sun made its way through in lovely patches of light. These silver trees were especially tall. The first lookout point was to the south of the island, I believe that's Pearl Harbor area. Vlad and Rocky trailblazing. Steep parts were quite rare but we still felt like we got a bit of a workout. And finally - here's the much anticipated view of the H3 highway. Completed at the end of 1997, H3 proved to be one of the most expensive US interstate highways to date - coming in at approximately $80 million per mile. Another fun fact: you can see "spontaneous waterfalls" while driving along H3 after it rained (click here to see this amazing sight). You can truly see the immense size of the valley with this view. Easy hike, rewarding view. This tree with fuzzy red flowers is called the 'Ōhi'a Lehua (aka metrosideros polymorpha). The 'Ōhi'a Lehua is a cousin of pohutakawa (aka metrosideros kermadecensis) - an iconic New Zealand tree, which despite my best investigatory efforts, we were not able to come across during our travels there. As you can see, I was very happy to finally find this plant as I gave it a full photoshoot. Little did I know, in Hawaiian mythology, picking of the Lehua flowers can cause rain. Luckily this did not prove true for us ;) .
It's peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! Check out these big leaves! There was a lot of moisture on this hike which resulted in beautiful moss... and not so beautiful mud. Aren't these trees pretty? The three of us at the end of the hike. Another day well spent. #OneNewFriend