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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting to Know Hawaii: Ka'ena Point Trail Mokule'ia Side

The Need to Knows:
  • The Mokule'ia Side Ka'ena Point Trail leads to the exact same albatross sanctuary as the Waianae side Ka'ena Point Trail, but with different scenery along the way.  It's located on the very western end of the North Shore in Mokule'ia, Hawaii.  Here is the exact location for the beginning of the trail:
  • If I recall correctly, the trail is about 2 to 2.5 miles long each way.
  • This trail consists of following a dirt road all the way to the albatross sanctuary.  It can get pretty muddy, especially if it's been raining, and lots of 4WD vehicles come out to go mudding here as a result.  Just make sure to stay alert so you don't get run over!  ;)
  • Just like with any activity here that involves you leaving your car behind, don't leave any valuables behind to tempt thieves into breaking into your car.
  • There is no shade or cover here.  I highly suggest a hat, and water and sunscreen are absolute musts.  It's probably also best to wear proper shoes instead of flip flops.
  • Because of the albatross sanctuary, I'm fairly certain dogs aren't allowed on this trail.  I say "fairly certain" because you may be able to bring them as far as to the sanctuary gate, but I personally chose not to risk it.
  • It's a pretty flat hike (probably better described as a walk, like the Waianae side), so it'd be good for kids and folks who don't do very well with elevation changes.

You may be wondering why I'm covering Ka'ena Point Trail again -- didn't I just make a post about it a while back?  Well, it turns out it's possible to reach the same exact albatross sanctuary on the northwestern tip of the island starting from Mokule'ia on Oahu's North Shore.  Since we love the Ka'ena Point hike so much from the Waianae side, we decided to give this one a try too!

This trail is essentially following along a dirt road all the way to the sanctuary gate (although you can take a shoreline path, which we did on our way back).  It's hot, especially if you go in the afternoon, so sunblock and water are musts.  A hat never hurts either!

The road itself isn't very pretty, but the view of the mountains to one side and the ocean to the other side definitely is!

Surf peeking from behind some giant aloe plants

One of my absolute favorite pictures of this hike!
There were some pretty flowers along the way, even if the dirt road wasn't!
This part of the island also happens to be a great place to go four wheel driving, or mudding as we like to call it back home in the South.

Some of the mud holes were pretty large.  For reference, it hadn't rained in a good bit on this part of the island and these holes were still this big!  Hopefully we can do a one-day Jeep rental before we leave the island and go have some fun here!

And of course we saw someone get stuck, haha.
On this day (a Saturday, late morning) it took us about an hour or so to make it one way to the sanctuary.  We made a few stops for photo ops, but mostly kept at a steady pace to make it to the gate.

End of the dirt road and the sanctuary gate

 We didn't go all the way to the most northwestern tip of Oahu because we had recently just done so from the Waianae side (if you haven't been there though, go see it!), but when we were standing outside of the gate, I noticed this giant rock looming in the distance and we just had to go check it out.

It turns out that this rock is very, very special and sacred to the Hawaiian people.  Its Hawaiian name is Leina-a-ka-'uhane, and it means "the leaping place for souls."  Ancient Hawaiians believed that when someone was on their deathbed, their soul would separate from their body and wander around the island.  If they lived on Oahu, the soul would eventually end up here, and once it climbed this rock and leapt off it towards the ocean, the person would then die.

It was a beautiful spot and the rock was pretty massive and awesome to check out.  After spending a few minutes there, we headed back the way we came.

We took a more leisurely pace on the way back though since we were walking along the coastline, looking for whales and exploring tide pools along the way.

Can you spot the whale spouting?

At one point we saw this tiny little crabs scurrying around the rocks, ducking into their holes anytime the waves came up and crashed against them.

Then we saw this little guy who stayed out in the sun for too long =(

Poor Mr. Crab!
About a little over halfway from the trail's ending and beginning, we came across a sight we'd read about in the guide book Oahu Revealed -- a hidden beach along this area!

It was a gorgeous little pocket of sand, and I definitely see ourselves heading back here this summer to enjoy it when the waves aren't so pounding!

All in all, Ka'ena Point is a beautiful hike no matter which direction you decide to take it from.  I'll have to give this hike a couple more tries before I can officially decide which I like better, but I am still quite partial to the amazing views the Waianae side offers.  I guess we'll see which one ends up as my favorite!

Do you have any trails in your area with gorgeous views?  Tell me about them!

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