My Family’s Visit to Oahu • March 2018 • Part 1
I’m pretty sure my family started planning their Hawaiian vacation the day we told them we were moving to Oahu. But when they bought their tickets last fall, we had no idea that the day my mom and sister were to arrive happened to be the exact day that Curtis would leave for his third underway. It was perfect timing for my family, with 4 different spring breaks aligning in the same week, and perfect timing for me, with a few weeks alone and eager to make the time pass — not to mention I was able to use our car for the entire time!
Since my youngest sister is home schooled, she and my mom came out a week and a half before the rest of my family for a much-deserved break. The forecast here seemed to be working against us for the majority of their time here with rain predicted nearly every day, but we soon learned to never trust the weathermen. The weather only affected our plans and kept us from finishing one hike.
Knowing that the Windward coast tends to attract more wet weather, I decided to show them to South shore of Oahu on those cloudier days. We started off with the hike to Makapu’u Lighthouse, keeping an eye out for whales the whole way up. The whales never showed themselves, but the paved and scenic hike proved to be a winner for their first hike on the island. It was actually my 4th time hiking this trail, but the views of Koko Crater and the Windward coast and the prickly pear seen along the way make it an enjoyable hike every time.
The one day where the weather worked against us was when we tried to do a short hike in Kane’ohe. The trail was muddy to begin with, and we weren’t prepared to be caught in the rain. Instead, we drove to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens for a short and muddy walk. This didn’t turn out to be a complete bust because we were still able to enjoy the variety of tropical plants, and spotted a family of wild pigs nearby.
When the weekend arrived and the skies were still overcast, we drove back to the South shore for another hike. I wanted to do something less popular but still not too strenuous, so I brought them to Koko Crater Botanical Garden. Koko Crater was formed as a vent for the Ko’olau volcano, and stands prominently above Hawaii Kai on the South shore. Curtis and I have hiked the most popular trail, the staircase going up to the top. The botanical garden is found on the inside of the crater. The gardens are entirely outdoors, and instead of having a road to drive around like Ho’omahulia, there is only a 2 mile loop trail to walk around and admire the plants, grouped together by their native countries. It was a quiet and enjoyable walk, and definitely one I think Curtis would enjoy as well.
Mongoose spotted in Koko Crater
After our walk, we drove a little further West along the South shore to stop at one of the scenic pull-offs along the rocky coast. We chose the Halona Blowhole, which proved to be impressive and worth the stop (even with the crowded parking lot), but we enjoyed the small hidden cove even more. We climbed down the rocks to the small patch of sand while waves came crashing in. More adventurous and daring people use this spot for cliff diving, but we were perfectly content with standing back and taking in the beauty.
Aside from these hikes, we also managed to do a few chilly walks on the beach. Obviously the rain and cold couldn’t prevent the excitement of finally being reunited with family! But the sun couldn’t stay hidden for long — come back later to read about our sunny day adventures!