We’ve desperately been missing hiking (well, at least Sam and I are) so we decided to drive to the dry side of the island and check out the Ka’ena Point Trail. You can hike two different ways to the point (from the south or Farrington Hwy) and while I’ve heard the south trail is preferable it was also an extra 45 minutes away. So north it was.
Our poor little beach car has seen better days (the passenger side window is no longer rolling up, and the the driver’s side won’t open from the inside) so we rented a car through the university Car Share program and drove a Nissan truck out there instead. Let’s just say we a) liked being back in a truck and b) immensely enjoyed the air conditioning.
This was a 5 mile return trip with most of it being a long a 4×4 dirt road. We were…disappointed. I think maybe if we had lowered our expectations or done a little more research we would have been better prepared. There were a lot of people driving vehicles (I’m pretty sure you have to have a permit or code to get past the gate) for some 4-wheeling and quite a few fisherman set up along the coast. We were ready for some “wilderness” and didn’t really get that.
Still, we explored the coast a bit on the way out and loved watching the waves. The weather over there is definitely more dry and we even saw a CACTUS! I can’t tell you how in heaven I was. It felt a little like a combination between the Oregon & Northern California coasts. As winter approaches the north shore waves are getting bigger and they are pretty spectacular.
At the end of the road we arrived at the Seashore and Albatross Sanctuary. The are is enclosed by a large black fence to keep out predators (and NO dogs), but its easy to open and slip through the gate once you’ve cleaned off your shoes. We were surprised to run into a ranger (the fact that this was part of a state park somehow eluded me) but she was super friendly and knowledgeable about the area. She even let us step off trail to see a baby wedgetail shearwater chick hiding in the bushes. The parents come to land and lay one egg and then once it hatches take turns flying out for food. This chick is almost fully grown and when they are this size the parents will leave for up to two weeks! It was pretty curious about us (thinking maybe we were mom with some food?) so we didn’t stay too long.
The trail through the sanctuary was more what we expected. Combination of rocky and sandy turning to sand dunes once we got out to the point. Kind of cool that you can look back towards the islands and see both the north and south shores at the same time.
After arriving and taking in the view we sat on the concrete base for the old lighthouse and dug into our @trailfoody bags for some snacks. We are really loving the Nut Butter Nation peanut butter/cracker combination we learned from these guys!
Depending on the time of year, there are hundreds of albatross that come and nest out here on the point. They typically lay their egg in January so were were a bit early. There’s also usually Hawaiian monk seals laying around but either they blended in *really* well with the rocks or they were absent. Instead we inspected the coral and climbed some rocks while taking in the view & sunset.
We hiked the loop inside the sanctuary and then had to book it back to the truck so we could get home on time. We made it in just over an hour which for 2.5 miles is a pretty decent pace! Overall, I’d say we enjoyed ourselves. We love hiking with the kids as it gives us a chance to move our feet and spend quality time together. I love the random topics we discuss – lots of programming between Sam and Rachel, while Cara & Andrew prefer anything Minecraft related.
It was nice to explore a different part of the island. This hike has zero shade so if you are going in the summer definitely take a hat, sunscreen and lots of water!
As we reached the parking lot, the sky decided to put on a show for us. Bold move, Hawaii. Bold move.