Friday, March 27, 2015

Angels and Albatross

Today we are hiking the Ka'ena trail 
from the Leeward side of Oahu.  

Our grandbabies are visiting for a couple of weeks, and, 
because they keep getting older (no matter how hard we try to prevent it); 
they are now up for a new hiking adventure.

We hope to show them the ground-nesting Albatross at the far point.

This is 2+ miles each way, so God bless 'em and their short little legs 
that they are willing to take this on.  

This is one of our favorite hikes on Oahu, as it winds right along the shoreline the entire time, inspiring us with blue water and crashing white waves upon dark black lava shores.

Of course with little people there are more frequent breaks ~ 
the "I think these rocks are just perfect for sitting" breaks ~ 

The "Even though I already have a hundred pictures of lava 
I don't have a picture of that black rock" break ~ 

And the 
"I found 
a Ladybug" break ~ 

We see remnants of the old railroad tracks (whose path laid out the now-hiking trail).  From 1895 - 19497 it operated from the leeward side of the island, around the point to the windward side (which was not then drivable, nor is it now, to this day).   

We enjoy lush green hillsides

And the drama of sea arches and dragons ~ (well, it was really a blow-hole which, instead of spouting water, made a totally believable dragon noise  ~ we had 'em believin' it for a few minutes)

There's plenty to take in, and a lot of scenic variety.

Noni is very proud of her budding photographer.

At one point we must negotiate the washed out path 
by taking to the rocks above.  

Somewhere there is a four-wheel drive pick-up owner 
who did not fare as well as we did.

Now we round the rocky point to our destination, the Kaena Point Natural Reserve.  It's always super windy here, as it's the westernmost tip of the island, and is unbuffered on either side.

This area has been fenced and has a special double-door entry to keep out varmints (particularly rats and mongoose, which are not native to the islands, by the way) that love to feed on the eggs of the ground-nesting Laysan Albatross.

They are large, stunning birds who mate for life.  We see their head-bobbing, beak-clacking mating dance quite frequently. 

Because it takes 2 parents to successfully hatch the egg (one to sit on the nest while the other goes in search of food), I've read that sometimes two females will collaborate on one nest ~ a sort of "as-needed" family situation.   Sometimes animals are smarter than people, it would seem.

This is what it looks like inside the sanctuary.  There is a sandy path to walk through the area; it lends much to the experience to get to stroll through, instead of simply observing from the fringes;  

And it offers a nice opportunity to get a close-up look @ the birds in their natural nesting behavior without disturbing them.

Trust me, if they get nervous that you're too close, they will swoop and dive and screech their stern warning, you won't have to wonder.  

We found this beautiful Mamma nesting right next to the path last fall.  
What a thrill to get so close!

And she did good work.  The next January, here's what we found on that same nest ~ I could not have been more delighted!  

I named him Alfred.  Alfred the baby Albatross.
It still just tickles me to look at this photo.

 There's an old, very small lighthouse here that has been tipped on it's side.  I have never figured out if it was wind or storm or late-night revelers that caused it's downfall, but it's photo-worthy.

This point is also a respite for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals 
~ and today we are blessed the company with this snoozing creature while we enjoy a quick picnic lunch on the beach.

It's been a fun day, filled with wonder and wildlife ~ 
but now it's time to head back, the little angels are weary ~

But the scenery holds. 

Small wonder this is one of my favorite hikes on Oahu.   

Especially on days when it includes both Angels and Albatross.


  1. Such an inviting and wonderful walk! It is always so much fun to travel with you and your young ones did quite well on that walk. Beautiful scenery everywhere. Always enjoying seeing passport envy in my e-mail. I really look forward to it. Your friend in Fresno always, Deon McCracken

    1. Thanks so much, Deon, I love hearing that! And yes, Hawaii has some of the most beautiful scenery, no matter where you are on the islands. I know I always think of palm trees and beaches, but there's so much more.......


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