Hiking Honolulu

Because our bus pass runs out of juice at the end of this month, we’ve been busy squeezing every last bit of value out of it for the past few days. What that really means is that we’ve made the long trek into Honolulu several days in a row.

On Thursday we went into town intending to hike Manoa Falls and visit the Lyon Arboretum. Upon arriving at the mall where the bus transfer point is we were quickly reminded that it was Thanksgiving day. Everything was closed. Including the arboretum.

With our plans foiled we walked over to the nicest Walgreens you have ever encountered to recoup and eat some sushi. Yes, sushi at Walgreens. I told you it was nice. Our friend, Sarah, who has family on Hawaii and has therefore been here as many times as you wish you had, had recently sent us some suggestions so we decided to fill our day with a few of those. Thanks Sarah!

After our visit to the nicest Walgreens you have ever encountered we walked over to Leonard’s Bakery to try some malasadas. A malasada is a sort of Portugese donut that is popular here in Hawaii. It is a rich, dense ball of dough that is fried then rolled in sugar or cinnamon. Some are also filled with custard. Since we’d never had them before, and they cost only $1 a piece, we decided to try six different flavors. They were all delicious.

Loaded up on carbs and sugar, we headed off to hike Diamond Head Crater. Diamond Head is the big, pointy mountain you can see from Waikiki, and is actually a volcano crater from long, long ago. It costs $1 to walk into the park (I think it was $5 for a car). The hike to the top was a steep .8 miles. People of all shapes and sizes were able to traverse it, but we did see two different people who had over-exerted themselves. Just be sure to drink water and take a break when you need to. At the top you’re rewarded with a nice view of Honolulu.

On Friday we headed back into Honolulu to follow through with our original plan of hiking Manoa Falls. To get to the falls you just take the number 5 bus from Honolulu. It’s a short, lovely hike through the rainforest culminating in a spectacular 150-foot waterfall. You can’t swim at the falls; the area is roped off.

Feeling energized and adventurous after our successful hike, Patrick and I decided to venture off on a side trail, Aihualama Trail, thinking it would take us back to the parking lot and arboretum. It doesn’t. The trail was nice if you know what you’re getting into. It’s full of bamboo forest and has some nice views overlooking the valley. The valley is beautiful and strangely familiar; some of Jurassic Park was actually filmed here. It is quite muddy, though, and since we didn’t realize how long the trail was or where it went we ended up getting back too late to visit the arboretum. That’s okay, though, because next month we’re going to the big island and will have plenty more opportunities to explore.

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