November 2017 Happenings • Moanalua Valley Trail • Hiking to Manoa Falls
November was a rather challenging month. We were still living out of a hotel, waiting somewhat impatiently to get through the escrow process, and dealing with PCS complications such as the car registration. On top of all of that Curtis had to be gone, leaving the not-so-fun logistical things for me to figure out. I really can’t complain — I survived and he made it home for Thanksgiving, and I know we won’t always have that privilege.
We did have a few fun days together. We were excited to see some letterboxing friends from Arizona on vacation and catch up with them. We also were able to get out for 2 short hikes on the first and last weekend of the month. The first hike we did was a short part of the Moanalua Valley Trail. It rained on us off and on, but we were successful at finding one of the letterboxes we set out to find. We also found some ruins and enjoyed walking through the beautiful lush greenery. If we were to continue on this trail for a long time, we could have made it a challenging hike that goes up the back way to the ridge where the Stairway to Heaven ends. While the Stairway is an incredibly popular and widely known about hike, it’s actually illegal. We have no intention of breaking the law; if we really want to hike to that ridge, we’d take the longer trail up the back as to not risk the expensive fines and court appearances.
Another morning, we decided to get up early and go for our first waterfall hike. However, when we reached the trailhead on the Pali Highway, it was pouring rain. We still got out and began the trail for Lulumahu Falls, but it started off with an extremely muddy and wet trail so we decided to save it for another day. (Since then we’ve actually gone back and made it to the end — and decided we were very glad we didn’t go any further while it was raining. More on that later.) Instead, we continued driving over the Ko’olaus on the Pali until we reached Kailua, where we visited the beach for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the warm, turquoise water and perfect sand. After a long and pleasant beach walk, we decided to continue driving North, and ended driving all the way up to Haleiwa on the North Shore where we stopped to try the infamous Giovanni’s Shrimp and some shaved ice cream in the food truck lot. It continued to rain off and on, so we made our way back to the hotel. We determined that rainy days would be more enjoyable when we had our own house and belongings so we could still feel productive.
Curtis made it home right before Thanksgiving, and we celebrated the day together and went to one of his fellow officer’s homes for dinner. The next day, we set out to hike to Manoa Falls. The trail begins at the end of a residential road, and has a decent sized parking lot with a $5 parking fee. There were quite a few people out that day, but what really surprised us were the large tour groups. There would be a person leading a group of people, and stopping here or there to talk about the area, history, flora, etc. The trail is only 1 mile long, very easy with clear trails, and has informational signs along the way that tell you essentially the same thing… and there were people paying to go on a guided tour? Maybe we need to create our own tour of other easy hikes as a side job!
Anyway, besides dodging tourists, the trail was easy and enjoyable. There were a few sections with built-in stairs as we came to the end, and the ground became more muddy as we neared the falls. While there wasn’t a lot of water flowing, it was still impressive to see it coming down from the high cliffs towering above. There wasn’t a lot of room at the end for all the hikers, so we didn’t spend a lot of time at the falls. As it turned out, our favorite part about this hike wasn’t the falls — it was the field of bamboo growing along parts of the trail. We went off trail to wander through the tall sticks, listening to the sound of them colliding above us in the wind.
Once we were finished, we drove down to the University of Hawaii to walk around the campus for the purpose of identifying the different types of trees and plants growing. You’ll probably notice this is a new obsession of ours — now that we have a little spot for a garden, we’re very interested in learning what we could potentially grow! Curtis also picked up some noni fruit, wanting to be adventurous and try new things. As it turned out, he only took one bite and couldn’t handle anymore. Both the taste and smell is atrocious, though apparently the fruit is extremely good for you.
These are bananas, I did not get a picture of the noni fruit
To finish out the month of November, we FINALLY were able to close on our new home and move out of the hotel! After 5 months and 5 days of living out of hotel rooms and our car, we finally had a place to call our own. And if all goes according to plan, we could actually live here longer than we’ve lived anywhere since getting married! We’re so thankful, excited to make this place ours, and most importantly ready for visitors! Stay tuned for more posts about our new home. 🙂