Showing posts with label anniversary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anniversary. Show all posts

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hiking: Aiea Loop Trail

I would have loved to explore a little on the Big Island or return to Kauai for our anniversary this year, but since inter-island travel in Hawaii is still subject to COVID quarantine, we decided to go for a hike. We have actually been checking hikes off our list, I just haven't blogged about it...until now. 

We choose the Aiea Loop Trail from the list of popular hikes for a couple of reasons: 

  • it's a loop - which I prefer over an out and back 
  • it's rated moderate - so not easy but also not hard
  • it can be muddy and since we've been in a bit of a drought on Oahu, it was good timing
It was about a 20 minute drive to Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area for us. As we headed up the hill through the Aiea Heights neighborhood to the parking area, it started to rain. Ha! The weather app on my phone claimed it would only last about 30 minutes, so we went for it. I admit that I was in full hiking mindset and excited to be in my hiking shoes and hiking shorts again, so a little rain wasn't going to stop me.

It was our first time to this park and we were unfamiliar with the different parking areas in relation to the trail head, so we grabbed a spot in the first lot we came to. There were public restrooms and covered picnic areas under the massive trees. mrC spoke to a nice gentleman who had just finished his trail run who pointed us in the right direction and gave us his best tips.

Our hike began with a half mile warm-up walk UP the road to the trailhead. We passed camping areas and more parking before finally seeing the start. Starting at this trail head sign takes you counter clockwise around the loop, which at the time we didn't realize made that big of a difference.

The first thing we noticed was the beautiful Hawaii red dirt. mrC explained to me that is is a result of the island being created from volcanic activity and the soil has high iron content. 

It rained lightly off and on during the beginning, so by the time we made it to the first overlook, the benches were too wet to sit on. We got a great pic of the roots before moving on. When it was raining, I was in keep it moving mode, as if that would help us stay dry! 

Even though a ton of cars drove by us when we were making our way up the road to the trailhead, we weren't seeing many people on the trail at all. 

I had read a tip on the AllTrails app to explore the short side trails when we came upon them. The first one we had to climb up a short ways, but it gave us a great view over Aiea and all the way to Pearl Harbor. You can see a tiny bit of a rainbow.

The trail at this point was mostly flat. In some places it was very wide and others it narrowed quite a bit. The drop off could be pretty steep along the edge, so I liked to hug the inside. My knee did not like that.

This hike definitely had great views of the valley. If you wondered what fall looks like in Hawaii, here it is! Not being a plant expert, I can't tell you what we saw or what we smelled but the aromas were amazing!

Great background for a selfie with my hiking buddy!

Eventually we made it to another seating area that opened up to a large view of the Halawa Valley. 

It was occupied by some young hikers and their dads having a snack, so we didn't get to sit. They did help us get a pic though.

At this point, we were trying to take in all the nature around us and stay dry between the showers. 

Right after these steps, the trail became muddier and my toes started rebelling at being in normal shoes (not flip flops) for such along period.

The highlight of the trail is the amazing view overlooking the H3 Highway. This was the turning point of the hike. We got several glimpses that kept getting better and better until we came to the main overlook.

Another highlight along this trail is the wreckage of a B-24J. We weren't sure we would be able to see it, but it was right below the trail and easy to spot.

The rest of the hike, we took in the more of the nature surrounding us. I loved seeing all the Norfolk trees and can't wait to get one for our Christmas tree this year.

We kept things moving at this point. We stopped a couple times to take in the beauty and twice for me to administer a little first aid to my toes. Hiking lesson of the day: trim toenails and apply vaseline before putting on socks. Also, carry bandaids in backpack.

A little over a mile from the end of the hike, we realized that we should have gone clockwise on the loop to avoid some major uphills at the end on super tired legs and a cranky knee. The cherry on top was the steps we had to climb to get back up to the road and walk down to where the car was parked.

Back at the car we cleaned up at the rest rooms and changed into dry clothes. I carried a lot of mud with me off the trail.

Even though I enjoyed the hike, it felt really good to take my hiking shoes off and put my flip flops on. We were both impressed that my leaf band-aid held up so well. I wish I had thought to do it sooner than I did.

Overall, this was a great hike!

Maybe this will show our age, but we were a little achey, so we sat in the hot tub for about 30 minutes after dinner, haha! 

Have you hiked the Aiea Loop Trail?