Posts Tagged ‘Warren Hiroshi Matsuda’

Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited

February 1, 2011
Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike |  Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited 

Since we stay on one roll with the “revisited” kine action (see Tokkuri Tei – Revisited), let’s pay a return visit to a place we’ve been to once before. Back in August of ’06, your boy covered the popular hiking spot in Hawaii Kai called : the Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike. As a former resident of the area (or “God’s country” as we like to call it πŸ˜› ), I used to frequent the trail quite a bit and thought I knew it pretty well. Au contraire, mon frΓ¨re.

There is a whole ‘nother side to this puppy, as we’re about to find out.

So the “normal” trail is pretty duck soup. It’s a semi-curvy, paved path on a slight incline most of the way. It ain’t no Koko Head, das fo sho!

Paved path up Makapuu Trail
Paved path up Makapuu Trail

And then you have the side that gets all nuts, or “off-the-beaten path” as they say. A little more challenging on the ol’ quads, but a lot more rewarding if lighthouses ain’t your bag. On this side, you’ll be able to hike down to the tide pools, see a blowhole or two, and take a dip in the ocean near Pele’s Chair.

Side Note: Recently, there has been sad news of a father and daughter losing their lives on this side of the trail. Though, it’s still unclear how they died (at the time of this writing), most experts believe it was not from a fall from the trail. Regardless, please be aware of your surroundings and be very, VERY careful any time you trek any of Hawaii’s beautiful trails. Hike at your own risk. R.I.P. Charles and Stephanie Casados. 😦

OK, so I gotta admit. I did indeed know about the tide pools, but wasn’t quite sure how to get to them (and didn’t bother to research it). It wasn’t until a recent field trip with the hiking group `Imi Loa, that I was able to experience this other side of Makapu`u trail that had eluded me.

`Imi Loa Hiking Group logo
`Imi Loa Hiking Group logo

`Imi Loa is an informal circle of friends brought together by leader Howard Chi. Here’s his story of how it all began:

“It started as a small group of friends and we would just send out group emails to see what’s up and when or who could make what date… then as more and more people wanted to come the emailing became a mass back and forth mess of blah… so I took it upon myself to make a page and name us as ‘Imi loa… now the dates are preset and there are event evites with the 411… I think originally it started off with about 30 of us and now it has ballooned to 187 currently… but really it was just another reason for us to get together and hang out.”

According to the group’s Facebook profile, they are a “network of like minded individuals who share a common interest in exploring our island backyard.” Each month, they meet up to conquer a new hiking trail around the island and are now up to 190 peeps strong at the time of this writing. If you’d like to be a part of this exciting group, drop `Imi Loa a line via Facebook!

Anyway, where were we? Ahhh yes. The tide pools. To the tide pools! To get there, take the “normal” path up the Makapu`u trail until you get to the whale lookout point.

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

Whale lookout point
Whale lookout point

After gathering yourself, head out to the edge on the right and choose a path.

Todd showing us the way
Todd showing us the way

The path on the right was more direct, but steeper in nature. The path that veered to the left was roundabout but gradual, and seemed to be the easier one to take. Our group split in two on the way down and the group that went left got to the bottom quicker (probably due to the relatively flatter terrain). Either way, it goes without saying that it’s a good idea to take your time and watch your step as there is loose gravel along the way.

Looking back
Looking back

Looking down
Looking down

Looking to the side. Artsy yeah? :P
Looking to the side. Artsy yeah? πŸ˜›

Almost there!
Almost there!

Now compare that to the folks on the right side path!

Steep path
Steep path

Yikes! And here’s a look back on their trail. Nuts yeah?

Looking back
Looking back

We finally get to bottom, where a mini blowhole greets us.

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Let’s wrap around to the other side to time some scenic shots!

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Makapu`u Blowhole
Makapu`u Blowhole

Other taking photos of the blowhole
Other taking photos of the blowhole

Waiting for the others to make it down
Waiting for the others to make it down

Continue to the left (if you’re facing the ocean) to get to the tide pools.

At the top of the tide pool
At the top of the tide pool

Scenic shot
Scenic shot

Calm tide pool
Calm tide pool

It looks pretty relaxing and peaceful, but once in a while, the waves will come and bum rush you one quick one (see below). So heed da Ka`au Crater Boys’ advice (“Keep your eye on the wave, don’t ever turn your back”) and be careful.

Not so calm tide pool
Not so calm tide pool

At the midway point of our hike, it was a good a time as any to stop and take a group shot. Check it!

`Imi Loa group shot [Photo Credit: `Imi Loa]
`Imi Loa group shot [Photo Credit: `Imi Loa]

Then, it was time to make our way back up to the main trail.

Heading back up
Heading back up

Heading back up
Heading back up

Group leader Howard taking a little breather
Group leader Howard taking a little breather

Getting steeper!
Getting steeper!

Getting there...
Getting there…

Almost to the top!
Almost to the top!

Back to the whale lookout point.
Back to the whale lookout point.

Since we chose to go up the steep side to get back, many of us took this opportunity to catch our breath and take a break. When we were well rested, we headed back down the main trail to get to the path to Pele’s Chair.

It’s a little hard to explain, but the trail head for Pele’s Chair is to the right of the first major left of the paved path (on your way up). Basically, look for this view overlooking Alan Davis and you’re there.

Near the trailhead for Pele's Chair
Near the trailhead for Pele’s Chair

Note: You can also get to Pele’s Chair directly from the parking lot via a dirt path. It’s a straight shot so it’s a lot easier, but what fun is that right? πŸ˜‰

In order to get down to Pele’s Chair, another zig-zag trail awaits you.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Ed’s Tip: Be careful of objects along the path. My friend Todd pierced his leg with a hidden bush stump.

Cactus on path towards Pele's Chair
Cactus on path towards Pele’s Chair

Boulder on path towards Pele's Chair
Boulder on path towards Pele’s Chair

Before long, it opens up and flattens out, and you can see the water to the right and Pele’s Chair to the left.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

We’ll come back and hike a bit to the left to check out Pele’s Chair, but that water looks too refreshing to miss right about now!

Path near Pele's Chair
Path near Pele’s Chair

Path near Pele's Chair
Path near Pele’s Chair

Plank near Pele's Chair
Plank near Pele’s Chair

That man-made diving board/plank is made out of what appears to be an old telephone pole. Although make-shift, da buggah was supah fun to jump off of!

After soaking our bones in the water, we headed back to our cars in the parking lot… But not before taking a quick detour to Pele’s Chair, named after its chair-like shape.

Path towards Pele's Chair
Path towards Pele’s Chair

Pele's Chair
Pele’s Chair

Pele's Chair
Pele’s Chair

And there it is. Another “revisited” column with 40+ photos! Geez Louise! These be a lot of work son! Let’s hope and pray for an original piece next month. Ahahahaha! Nah, all worth it. Hope y’all enjoyed it! Shooooots!

Just as I did in my previous article on Makapu`u, I’d like to take just a moment to honor a friend who unfortunately lost his life off the beaten paths of this trail. You will always be remembered bruddah. R.I.P. Warren. R.I.P. also to Charles and Stephanie Casados who recently lost their near here…

In Memory of Warren Hiroshi Matsuda
(October 2, 1974 – September 27, 2002)

Warren Hiroshi Matsuda
Warren Hiroshi Matsuda

Tom & Warren Matsuda Scholarship Fund
Warren’s father Tom’s life was also tragically taken from us. In their honor, Roy’s Restaurant has – with the help of an annual endowment through the University of Hawaii – started a scholarship fund in Warren and Tom’s name, awarding the winner of their annual culinary competition with monies to further his/her education in the art. For more information about the Tom & Warren Matsuda Culinary Scholarship Fund, please contact Roy’s Restaurant’s Rainer Kumbroch at (808) 396-7697 or Robbyn Shim.

Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike |  Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited 
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Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike

August 1, 2006
 Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike  | Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited

With all of the food reviews I’ve been doing lately, I thought it might be a good idea to take us outside to get some blood flowing through our walking sticks. This way, if y’all pack on a pound or two trying out all the eateries I’ve suggested, I’m accountability free baby!

Now before we get started, you should know that I am no hiking pro by any stretch of the imagination (That’s why I have experts like Richard McMahon pen columns on the topic. Please check out his Makapu`u column when you get the chance).

What does this mean? Well, it basically means that I am taking you on a common folk’s first person’s perspective of a leisurely hike (with scenic photos). If you’re looking for historical data, elevation stats or that kind of thing, sorry dudes and dudettes, this noggin’ ain’t got that info. I’ll probably do some online research to help supplement the column, but that’ll be the extent of my “expertise”… It also means, as always, to make sure that you’ve got a clean bill of health before taking on this hike or any type of physical activity.

OK, so here we go… The Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike. If you’re coming from the Windward side of Oahu, you’ll pass Sea Life Park on your right and Makapu`u Beach on your left. As you drive up the road and start making your descent towards “Alan Davis” (Kaloko), slow down, the trailhead will be on your left. If you’re coming from town or Hawaii Kai side, head towards Waimanalo. When you pass Sandy Beach on your right and the Hawaii Kai Golf Course on your left, you’re almost there.

(! – Though they’ve recently built a new parking lot for wouldbe hikers and Makapu`u lookout patrons, people continue to park along Kalanianaole Highway. If you find yourself parking there as well, please be careful as drivers tend to speed in that area. Also, don’t leave any valuables in your car. The area is notorious for car break-ins!)

As mentioned, they’ve recently built a new parking lot and have actually been making a lot of beautification efforts in this area, so if you’ve done this trail before, you may want to just give it another whirl. Here’s what the trailhead looked like just a few months ago… Oh the memories!

Makapu`u Lighthouse Trailhead, circa 03/2006
Makapu`u Lighthouse Trailhead, circa 03/2006

The Makapu`u lighthouse trail is actually a fairly easy one. It’s almost entirely paved (pay no attention to that dated picture above!) and most spots are easy conquers for the everyday walker. And because of the paved path, it’s also pet and bicycle friendly.

Easy, paved path
Easy, paved path

(! – There is no shade along the entire trail, so be sure to handsomely lather yourself with sunscreen and pack ample drinking water. You may also wish to consider hiking before or after the 12PM-2PM peak sun hours. Ironically, there are no restroom facilities along the way, so all that water you’d be drinking from the heat will have to wait until you leave the trail. Be sure to “go” before hitting this trail or be forced to hold da buggah.)

A little more than mid-way up, you’ll hit the whale watching lookout point, complete with lookout lenses and posted whale information.

Whale watching lookout point
Whale watching lookout point

Whale details posted at whale watching point

Whale details posted at whale watching point
Whale details posted at whale watching point

(! – If you can afford it, bring along a set of your own binoculars. The one there is not that great, and you’ll enjoy looking for those little critters of the ocean from the comfort of your own locale.)

We were lucky enough to catch a little whale action using our own binoculars

Keep going… we’re almost there! But not until we hit some patches of scenic views and strange plant life.

scenic views and strange plant life

scenic views and strange plant life

scenic views and strange plant life

scenic views and strange plant life

At this point, we catch our first glimpse of the Makapu`u Lighthouse. Woo hoo, exciting times!

First glimpse of the Makapu`u Lighthouse
First glimpse of the Makapu`u Lighthouse

As the paved path ends and turns into a few hundred feet of treacherous terrain (notice the sound of sarcasm for those who couldn’t tell), you’ll soon realize that you’ve made it! You’ve conquered the Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike! You’ve gone from sugary shave ice syrup sloth to born-again bodybuilding buff in just one month. You should be proud of yourself.

Before we celebrate however, you guys need to check out this view with me! C’mon, this is the whole reason why we’ve climbed all this way right?

On the way to the lookout points, we’ll pass by a monument built for nine American naval aviators who perished, not far from here, on April 5, 1942 while servicing our country.

Monument for nine American naval aviators who perished, not far from here, on April 5, 1942 while servicing our country
Monument for nine American naval aviators who perished, not far from here, on April 5, 1942 while servicing our country

As you progress, you’ll hit the first of two lookout points.

First of two lookout points

From here, you’ll get a clear view of Manana Island, also known as Rabbit Island, and the great Pacific Ocean, leading into parts of Makapu`u Beach.

Manana Island, aka Rabbit Island
Manana Island, aka Rabbit Island

Makapu`u Beach
Makapu`u Beach

If we take a gander to the right from this vantage point, we’ll see where we’re headed next: the next lookout point, where we’ll get a bird’s eye view of the infamous lighthouse.

Next lookout point

On the way to the second lookout point, I stop periodically to take a few, scenic, wanna-be “artsy-fartsy”-type shots. Man, I’m good! πŸ˜›

Artsy-fartsy shots

Artsy-fartsy shots

Artsy-fartsy shots

Artsy-fartsy shots

(! – The terrain from the first lookout point to the second is quite rough – no sarcasm here – so be careful and watch your step!)

Terrain from the first lookout point to the second is quite rough

Alas, we arrive at the second lookout point, which offers us the same majestic views of Makapu`u Beach and Rabbit Island as well as the bird’s eye view I mentioned earlier of the lighthouse.

Second lookout point

Makapu`u Lighthouse

Now, all you have to do is look forward to the cool and leisurely stroll back down the trail. The entire hike is approximately 2-3 miles long, and, if I remember correctly, didn’t take more than a couple hours or so to complete. If you’ve done Diamond head, this’ll be “duck soup” for you.

Good luck and have fun gang, but enjoy the great outdoors while you can. I’ll be fattening y’all up with the usual food reviews real soon!

Helpful Links:

====================================================

In Memory of Warren Hiroshi Matsuda
(October 2, 1974 – September 27, 2002)

Warren Matsuda
Warren Matsuda Memorial Web Site

I had the honor of knowing Warren though high school sports and running in the same crowds growing up in Hawaii Kai. He unfortunately lost his life off the beaten paths of this trail, but he will always be remembered. R.I.P. Warren.

Tom & Warren Matsuda Scholarship Fund
Warren’s father Tom’s life was also tragically taken from us. In their honor, Roy’s Restaurant has – with the help of an annual endowment through the University of Hawaii – started a scholarship fund in Warren and Tom’s name, awarding the winner of their annual culinary competition with monies to further his/her education in the art. For more information about the Tom & Warren Matsuda Culinary Scholarship Fund, please contact Roy’s Restaurant’s Rainer Kumbroch at (808) 396-7697.

 Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike  | Makapu`u Lighthouse Trail Hike – Revisited