Ka'Iwi Scenic Shoreline

Location: Makapuu Head, southeast Oahu
Trail: Steady uphill grade for 1.5 miles and 600í gain on an asphalt path to an old Coast Guard lookout deck
Access: From the Hanauma Bay turnoff on the Kalanianaole Hwy, continue east ~4.5 miles and watch for a parking lot on the south side of the road just before the road curves north. 
Map: USGS 1:24K Koko Head
Fees: None

Dave, Andra and I tried to tackle this short walk on easternmost point of Oahu in 2004, but I my poor choice of flimsy footwear required that we turn back before reaching the end. Thus, it was with great satisfaction that I set out on the same asphalt path in 2007 wearing sturdy hiking boots, ready for anything. I also had a nicer day in 2007. The sun was shining brilliantly, with an orange glow that made colors in the vegetation and ocean surge. The route followed an old asphalt road that lead up to an old Coast Guard lookout post and lighthouse. The lighthouse is still there, but I donít know if it is still operational. I walked up the pavement, admiring the striking view down the southern coast towards Koko Crater, snapping photos as I went, trying to shade my lens from the orange glare of the late-afternoon sun. This was my third hike of the day, and I was tired, but exhilarated. My plane was scheduled to leave later that night, so I was trying to cram as much fun into my last day on Oahu as possible. What struck me was the dryness of the location. The north and east sides of Oahu are lush and green, practically dripping wet at all times, but the south side is more desert than anything else. Everywhere the grass was brown, broken only by gnarled acacia trees with thin, bipinnate leaves and sprawling cactus. 

At only 1.5 miles, the walk is short if taken briskly, and I was up at the lookout in no time. From up high, I could see purple rainclouds approaching the windward side of the island from the east, obscuring the forked summit of Olomana to the north. People played in the surf of Makapu Beach Park below. Slow-moving waves slogged in from the deeper blue of deep water further out beyond the white bulge of Manana Island, and far out to the east I could make out the dark shape of Molokai.

I stayed but a few moments, as the sun was sinking fast and I had yet to find a beach park with a showerhouse before my long flight back to Wyoming. I trucked down the pavement back to the car and headed east to take a shower and watch the sunset at some beach near Hawaii Kai. 

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Page created 2-17-08