Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oahu Trip | Day 4: Waterfall Hiking

On our trip to Oahu, we tried to stay away from the most popular tourist attractions, opting for active adventures where we also learn about nature and culture.  One of the tour companies that caught our eye was Oahu Nature Tours.  They were recommended by Budget Travel’s Honolulu Snap Guide (I used to subscribe to BT and I trust their opinions) and also highly rated on Yelp

So in our planning sessions on Sunday, we booked two hikes with Oahu Nature Tours.  The first one was Tuesday 12/13.  I set the alarm for 6:30am, thinking that we were going to be picked up at 7:15 by Oahu Nature Tours.  But the pickup was actually 8am, so we were early.  Oh well.  We watched Good Morning America and ate breakfast.  Cereal and clementines for me, and popcorn and Coke for Todd (what else would it be, ha ha!).

Our hiking guide Mike picked us up at 8am outside of our hotel.  He was super-nice and knowledgeable about all the plants, birds, geology, weather, and fauna.  In fact, later we found out on our other hike with another guide that they call Mike “Google” because he’s so knowledgeable about all kinds of things!  The tour we went on is called “Hawaiian Waterfall Hiking”.  It had rained a lot the night before, and there were landslides in certain parts of Honolulu, causing severe traffic jams.  This caused us to be stuck in traffic for a little while.  Mike also warned us that due to the rain, some parts of our trail will be muddy.

we finally made it to the parking lot by the base of the trail!  The jagged mountain tops were in the clouds and it was so cool! 


Mike told us what these birds were called but now I forgot.  :(

Because our group was mostly younger folks, Mike told us he was taking us on the longer, harder route.  Here we were, starting out on a wide, paved trail.  Mike gave us climbing sticks and that was fortunate because we definitely needed them later on the steep muddy trails!20111213-IMG_4177_600

Then it started raining harder and harder and Mike pulled out all the ponchos and we put them on.  Mike also gave us bug spray, which I was really thankful for, because mosquitos LOVE me.  I still got three bites, which turned into big red welts because I’m allergic to them.

Then we headed off the paved path and got onto a steep off-road trail under some canopy.


We made several stops where Mike told us about the plants we’re seeing and the history of where they came from, and other interesting geological or cultural facts.

Ack, mud!

There were several times when we stopped in front of a lookout and can see the beauty far away.

On the trail.  I could tell we were getting closer to the waterfall because the water was running between the rocks.



Almost there!

Yay, we found the waterfall!

It wasn’t as big as I had imagined it would be.  After all, I hiked in rain and mud to get there and I wanted a BIG payoff, LOL!

But it was indeed very pretty, and sometimes the journey is the fun.

Mike took a photo of us in front of the waterfall. 

Close to the waterfall was a lookout point where we could see the ocean far away.


The hike back was an easier path and we made it down to the parking lot a lot sooner than the way to the waterfall. We were hungry! We bought some snacks from a vending lady and that hit the spot.  Then everyone cleaned off their shoes and we went back in the van and headed back.   

We got back to the hotel around noon and took quick showers.  Then we headed out to Nico's at Pier 38 for lunch. 
This was recommended by our food tour guides from yesterday.  The set up is sort of like Point Loma Seafoods, but I thought it was good but not as good as PL Seafoods.  We were excited to eat fresh fish though!  Todd got catch of the day, which was Marlin.  He had some fresh greens, french fries, and Coke. 
I got the fried calamari on Nalo greens.  It was good. 
The place was full and as soon as we left our table someone else sat down at it.  Nico’s is located near the pier and dock where fishermen and their boats come in every morning and all the fish is auctioned off to restaurants.

We drove back toward Waikiki but stopped at Ward's Warehouse to visit Na Mea Hawaii bookstore.  They had a lot of history of Hawaii books and other gifts.  It was really cool.  Then we went across the street to Ward "farmer's" market and Marukai Marketplace.  The reason “farmers” is in quotes is because they don’t sell produce there like a farmer’s market.  It was like packaged Japanese goods.  They did have some fruits though.  We got an expensive pineapple because we thought it was just $1.39 for the whole pineapple but it was $1.39/lb, so it was over $6 for the pineapple!  I also got a musubi but it was too much rice and not that good.  

Next we drove to Waiola Shave Ice to get some shave ice, because our food tour guides from the day before said it was good, as well as Yelp reviews. 

Todd got Azuki bean one with mochis and I got cherry with vanilla ice cream.  They were good but Todd thought the ones we had at Ailana's in Waikiki was better.  But the ice was shaved very fine and that made it good.20111213-IMG_9222_600

Then we drove back to the hotel and I took a nap.  I was so tired from the hiking!  Then we watched more tv and then we went to Ono's Hawaiian Foods for dinner.  20111213-IMG_9223_600

We got the $20 combination plate, which included the pork lau lau, the kalua pork, jerky, salmon lomi, and haupia (coconut) jelly. 

All the food was new to me, I had never eaten this type of food before.  I thought it was really good.  We came here because when my cousin Bertha was here with Kelly Hu for the Hawaii International Film Festival, and Kelly and her mom took Bertha here to eat.  Bertha told me about it when she came for the San Diego Asian Film Festival.  I did get my picture taken next to Kelly Hu's pic on the wall. 

Oahu day 4 was a good combination of nature, hiking, exercising, and eating.  My favorite kind of day on vacation!  :D


  1. I love the photos from your hike. I may have been a bit disappointed in the waterfall, but you're so right about the journey part. And I think we four need to go to PL Seafood in 2012. That can be my New To Me venture for the month :)

  2. My ex and I did a waterfall hike on Oahu but we all biked back down. They also gave us galoshes for the hike. It was pretty to do once. Not sure I'd slosh through mud ever again though :-)

  3. Oahu doesn't have as much impressive waterfalls as compared to other island. As for the bird, isn't that just a regular cardinal? It doesn't look like a native Hawaiian bird, but then again I'm not mr. Google. I love eating at nico's. My friend swears that they have the best loco moco on the island. However, when I'm there I usually op for fresh fish since they are right next to the auction.

  4. It was part of one of my New52 posts, but in January of this year during a trip a whole bunch of us trekked to a waterfall--how I wish we had walking sticks and protective footwear!! Instead I was wearing my swimsuit + cover up + croc sandals, haha! There were times we were practically vertical, and then forded through mud, dead leaves, and a flowing river with gigantic rocks, but you're right--the payoff was so definitely worth it! I was so excited to swim I didn't let myself cool down first and jumped into the freezing water. Oh man did I have palpitations--not doing that again!!! :P

  5. Beautiful! That's all. :)


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