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  • Writer's pictureChase Davidson

The Island of Oahu - 3 Days | USA


What would you typically do on a three day vacation to Hawaii? Would you hit up the sandy beaches to get that golden tan or would you venture into the unknown forests in search of that breathtaking waterfall? Oahu offers so much in such a small area which makes it an ideal location to have a car.

I partnered up with Discount Hawaii Car Rental and decided to make the most of my 3-day stopover on the island. This is my chance to show you just what can be accomplished in a short time.

Ka'au Crater Trail - Waterfall #2

Chapter 1:


This morning started with my little 16 month old god son Miron playing with his toys and speaking baby/english/russian all at once. It was about 7am and that meant there wouldn’t be a sleep in on this day.

The past three days I had spent in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia having the opportunity to say goodbye to so many amazing people that I hold dearly. Of course, I’ve said my goodbyes before but this one was different. In the past, I’ve left with a return date in mind knowing when I’d see my family and friends again. This time however... I had a one way ticket to Australia with a stop over in Oahu, Hawaii.

After sleeping on friends couches the previous two nights, the last night was spent at my close friends Kurt and Elena’s. My flight out of Vancouver was at 2pm (14:00) so there was plenty of time to wake up and make sure I had everything charged and ready to go. My only problem this morning was not being able to find a main dongle for my computer that consisted of a card reader allowing me to backup the videos/photos I take. How could I lose this at such a time!?

Beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

I had to get over it as time quickly approached to leave and we were on our way to the airport. I figured I’ll just have to buy a new one once I get through the security checkpoint and inside the terminal. That wasn’t the case... Upon passing security and going through immigration, I stopped at the technology store but they had absolutely zero dongles for the new USB-C ports that my computer uses. Not too panic, I still had a quick stop over in Seattle before making my way to the island.

Before I knew it, the flight from Vancouver to Seattle was up in the air and down on the ground in no time at all. We landed right on schedule giving me 45 minutes to check out some stores and hopefully find a dongle. Unfortunately, the gates were all backed up and we had to wait an additional 25 minutes causing just a slight panic in not only getting this dongle but also missing my connecting flight to Hawaii.

I hurried out of the plane and headed straight for the nearest electronic store. With luck they had a USB-C to USB 3.0 dongle (not quite what I needed but still useful) and then ran as fast as I could to my gate giving me 10 minutes to spare. I was now on my flight to Honolulu, Hawaii!

Honolulu, Hawaii

We touched down in Honolulu around 8:30pm (20:30). Since I had the stopover in Seattle, I didn’t have to worry about going through United States customs and was able to head straight to the baggage pick up location. Once I had my bags, I messaged my two friends Nathan McKeown and Laura Castillo who had taken a flight from Calgary earlier in the day to join me for the three days.

We decided to meet up at the Alamo car rental location and then head on out to Kailua on the windward side of the island. Discount Hawaii Car Rental really hooked us up! A brand new 2018 Ford Mustang convertible was waiting for us when we arrived at the car rental so you know it didn’t take long for that top to come down and we were off cruising down the Pali Highway.

Thirty minutes later we were greeted with open arms from a family I had met a month prior while working at Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta. They were eager to let us come stay with them so how could we pass that opportunity up!? The father, Eric, had called me the day before and asked if we’d like to go out on the boat with him the day after we arrive. Ummm, YES! He got everything ready to go and it was so great to catch up with him, the mother Liz and their daughter Bella before calling it a night.


Chapter 2:

Sea Turtles and Rock Pools

Beep beep beep... Our alarm was going off 4 hours later giving us a 4:50am wake up in order to catch our first sunrise. Laura decided to sleep in and catch up on some sleep this day so Nathan and I had our things ready to go the night prior.

We only had to drive about 7 minutes in order to get to the trailhead to the Lanikai Pillboxes. This morning we were greeted with a light mist of rain as we began our ascent but it honestly felt good. It was a good bridge from the Canadian heat into the Hawaiian climate. It didn’t take Nate and I long before we reached the first pillbox having past a good handful of people. We got the feeling early on that this is a popular hike and given the fact it was a national holiday in America (Memorial Day), there was going to be even more tourists. We decided to push past the first pillbox onto the second in hopes that less people would be there but that was certainly not the case. By the time we reached the second pillbox, there was probably 8 or so people set up to watch the sunrise.

Pillbox Sunrise

What a beautiful sight it was to see the sun come up from beyond the islands to the northeast. The old military pillboxes made for a unique location to photograph and when those first rays of sunlight poked through the clouds, magic was in the air. As I was moving around to set up at a different spot along the ridge, a young lady warned me that there was a surprise engagement about to take place. Loving the fair warning, I quickly got out of the way before hearing the slight cheer of celebration... I’m assuming the now fiancée had said yes.

After a few more minutes taking in our first views of the windward side of the island, we headed back down in order to meet up with Laura and Eric who were waking up and getting breakfast going.

Breakfast was served as we walked back into the house and the days events were being talked about. By 8am we were on our way to the docks where we’d say goodbye to mainland (is it considered mainland if mainland is in fact still an island?) for the next few hours.

Breakfast is served

Once we had the boat off the trailer and into the water, our first destination was a sandbar out in the middle of the ocean. As we got closer we could see a bunch of other boats had docked up there as well. Due to it being the American holiday, alcohol was not permitted but normally this is a spot where locals come to party and have a great time. We were slightly off on our timing coming a bit too late for low tide which meant the sand that was normally exposed was currently 10 inches underwater. Nonetheless, still quite spectacular and slightly unreal when you look back at the mainland thinking you’re just standing in the ocean.

Standing on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean

Eric had brought some snorkeling equipment for all of us to use so it was time to go for a proper swim. This was the first time I had snorkeled but it was quite easy to pick up. Before we knew it, we had a little friend swimming around with us. A sea turtle had appeared and was checking us out.

We swam for quite awhile before pulling the anchor and heading off towards a bird sanctuary island known as Mokumanu out in the distance. The water got choppier than I’ve ever experience but that just made the thrill of it so much greater. Attempting to take a photo was nearly impossible as each wave practically sent me off my feet. Everyone was enjoying it and there was non stop smiles across all our faces. We pulled up next to a giant cave on Mokumanu and coasted for a bit. Not sure if I was more worried about sea sickness at this point, or getting dumped on by the hundreds of birds flying overhead.

Our next location Eric wanted to bring us to was the island Mokolua which just so happened to be the same island Nate and I were photographing from the pillboxes earlier in the morning. We joked about how cool it would be to relax on that beach while we were up on the mountain not knowing that it was right on our agenda!

The ocean got choppier and choppier as we headed towards the island and the feeling of seasickness was beginning to kick in. I began focusing on the horizon trying not to think about it. We got about 100 meters from the shore and threw the anchor overboard. I whipped out the chocolate croissants I had bought before unloading the boat in order to help my stomach feel a bit better. Laura and Nathan both spoke up about feeling queasy at this point but knew once we got on land we’d begin feeling a bit better.

Just as we were putting the paddle board into the water, another sea turtle showed up AND an endangered monk seal. The three of us hopped on the board, while Eric chose to swim to shore. Within two paddles, the three of us on one board just wasn’t working and I took a plunge into the water. Laughing it off, I decided I’d swim to shore and have them take the board. I wouldn’t normally have a problem swimming that distance but I had my GoPro in one hand not really allowing me to swim properly. Before too long, I was trying all different kinds of swimming techniques and spitting the salt water out of my mouth after every wave that crept up from behind me. It was a bit of a struggle to say the least but there was no way I was going to be that tourist that drowns in the ocean on his first day in Hawaii. Keeping my head above water I kept pushing on and eventually I kicked bottom and was able to stand, catch my breath and gain some strength for the last little push. When I reached the beach, the monk seal had made his way up on the sand and enjoying the rays. I pretty much felt as exhausted as he looked at this point.

Gangsta poses with the endangered Monk Seal

There was a good amount of people already on the island who had taken either canoes, surfboards and/or paddle boards out earlier. Once Eric swam ashore we chose to walk around the island a bit before coming up on a rock pool where the waves would crash into. A few people had jumped in before me and warned of the sea urchins that hid in the cracks. I’m not a fan of things out to hurt me (yes, I’m aware that I’m moving to Australia) but decided to go for it anyway!

One good tidal wave came in throwing me across the pool unbalanced and that was basically enough for me. I scraped my foot a bit during the toss and thought to myself “damn, now I got to swim back to the boat with blood hungry sharks”. Luckily for me, I wasn’t a great choice of food and we all made it back to the boat no problem.

The four of us headed towards shore feeling a bit better in our stomachs, anchored the boat 30 meters off shore, had lunch and then paddle boarded all our gear to the beach. While Nathan was making his way with some of the gear, he capsized and lost his GoPro in the water. After a solid 20 minute search and rescue effort, I caught a glimpse of it tossing around on the ocean floor and made a quick dive at it! Honestly couldn’t believe we found it.


Chapter 3:

Lulumahu Falls

After a quick little clean up at the house, it was still fairly early so Nate, Laura and I decided to venture out quickly to check out a waterfall and some ruins before sunset.

We drove down the Pali Highway until our turnoff and couldn’t believe our eyes. The road we turned off onto was practically a tunnel of trees contrasting nicely with pitch black asphalt. I knew we’d be coming back to this location later when we had more time.

Contrasting Tunnel

What we thought was the trailhead was gated off, so we looked for a new way in. The pathway in that we took talked about hunting and to be careful... Sweet! The hike started off through a bamboo forest before leading back onto a proper trail. The trail eventually ran into more fences that screamed no trespassing due to government property/construction. For a while we continued to search for a way around but it ended up being dead end after dead end. With thoughts of turning back, we decided let’s just go for it so Nate and I hop’d over the fence but unfortunately Laura wasn’t able. She was quick to give up and wanted to head back to the car but it only took a matter of seconds on the opposite side of the fence to realize it was merely 20 meters long.

An old water tower

Laura was able to squeeze through a dense part of the bamboo forest and caught right back up to us. The three of us were on track now and continued off down the trail. Eventually we came across an old water tower that I recognized from a YouTube video I watched regarding the hike before coming. I knew we were on the right path at this point however we were met with more fences soon after. Knowing it would be pointless to hop the fence if Laura couldn’t make it over, we opted to search for a way around right away.

We squeezed through a thick area and onto a muddy path that would lead us into an open pit area that reminded me so much of a raptor pit from Jurassic Park. The path around was muddier than I expected but we continued on. Thankfully we brought the right kind of shoes just for this!

It certainly felt like a jungle as we made our way toward the waterfall and came across some people here and there. When we did get to the waterfall, it made everything so worth it! One of the best waterfalls I’ve ever seen with my own eyes to say the least.

We shot some photos at the waterfall and then headed back towards the trailhead with intentions of finding the Kaniakapupu Ruins that were hidden off in the forest. Laura took a good little spill in the mud on the way back but no physical damage. Certainly, while on a hike like this that would be the last thing you’d want. Once we got back to the road, I asked Nate if he could run up the ridge quick to check for a path leading to the ruins. Within moments of reaching the top of the ridge, he let out a nervous scream and ran back down. Laura and I were startled but lucky for us it wasn’t anything bad, and he was just caught off guard by a dead pig.

Dead Pig on the Trail

It was beginning to get dark by this time and we had told Liz and Eric that we’d make it back to their place for dinner, so we opted out of searching for the ruins and got a move on.

Upon arriving, the aroma of freshly made spaghetti and meatballs was in the air. We quickly got cleaned up from all the mud we had accumulated during the trek, sat down for dinner and shared some stories with the family before calling it an early night.


Chapter 4:

Mermaid Cave and Ohikilolo Ridge

Believe it or not we got to sleep in a bit this morning and by getting to sleep by 10:30pm the night before, we managed to get a whole eight hours sleep! Yepp, we had woken up at 6:30am and ready to hit a new part of the island. This time we’d be heading straight for the Mermaid Cave located on the western side of the island. We had to get there fast however so we could take advantage of the low tide.

The one thing I didn’t quite expect during the overcast skies we had the day before, was just how bad the sun can still get you. Going to bed knowing I had gotten burned was one thing, but waking up and seeing just how red I really was, was a whole other story. Each one of us got it a bit with Laura being the least burnt thanks to her Spanish background. The next couple days carrying a backpack were going to be tricky and slightly painful.

Not only were we all burned a bit but I had forgotten my sunscreen on the boat. We chose to head straight for the Mermaid Cave anyway since we couldn’t waste any time having to cooperate with the tides.

Mermaid Caves

It took us about an hour to reach the parking lot in which we’d walk to the cave from. Once we were in the approximate location of where the cave would be, the search began. We checked a few holes but it was until we saw a man jump down one that we knew we found it.

Nathan jumped in first and then I quickly followed into the two meter deep entrance. Laura chose to stay up top since the climb out may prove to be difficult and who wants to get stuck in a cave that fills with water eventually?

While the two of us were in the cave bumping our heads against the ceiling and getting wet by the incoming waves, a family of four drops a ladder in and climbs down. Right away, we got Laura’s attention and she was able to get down inside with us.

As the morning went on, more and more people were starting to show up but the first gentleman who showed us the cave told us about another big one down the road called Makua Cave that we could easily walk into so that became our next destination. Choosing to quickly hit up a supermarket for some sunscreen and food for the day was a priority since we had to skip breakfast this morning.

The cave was suppose to be on the right side of the coastal highway just before Yokohama beach but somehow we missed it and ended up at the end of the road. Not a bad place to eat up the raman noodles a bought for breakfast. There was a couple locals soaking up the sun so I figured I’d ask them if they knew the location of the cave. Without hesitation they pointed us in the right direction and told us the legends of the giant sharks that live deep in the cave.

Turns out we looked pretty much right at the cave when we drove past it a few moments earlier. Noticed the trail beside it but somehow didn’t even acknowledge the giant hole in the wall.

Makua Cave

Headlamps on! Let’s go cave dwelling. Somehow there was only four people in the cave as we entered who left promptly after. We had this entire thing to ourselves, so cool! Nate and I scaled along the wall to a high vantage point overlooking the rest of the cave. It was a pretty neat spot which would have made an ideal spot for lunch but since the ledge getting there was a bit narrow with a drop that could leave someone seriously injured Laura chose to stay back. We snuck a few quick photos in and then met back up with Laura before proceeding up the side of the mountain towards the higher Makua Cave. What do you know... This is apparently an illegal hike as well.

Today’s heat was a bit harsher but it was spitting a bit of rain off and on from time to time. The sunburns on my back were certainly not the most enjoyable feeling as we hiked further up the side of the mountain towards the cave but I dug my own grave on this one.

Jurassic landscape as we scrambled up to Ohikilolo Ridge

A small group of people passed us on their way down and made sure to let us know that the cave was just up a bit and to the right. Awesome tip but somehow we ended up missing the turnoff and just kept heading up further and further. Next thing we know we’re on a full out scramble to Ohikilolo Ridge.

Almost at the top

I pushed on ahead after I caught up with Nate assuming that him and Laura were going to descend down to the cave since the actual climbing parts were in fact getting a bit difficult. Once I made it to the top, a rain cloud began to blow in and was beginning to worry that the rocks I had used for grip would be dangerously slippery going down. Just as I was taking my last couple shots, I heard Nate’s voice yell up asking if I was all good. He hadn’t been far behind me the whole time so we quickly got one photo of him on top and then started the descent hoping we wouldn’t get caught in the rain.

Made it and boy did it feel good to look down!

To my surprise, not far down Laura was still coming up! We opted not to go back to the summit though since the rain was coming down and the descent was already going to be dangerous enough. Going down proved to be easier as Nate lead the way and found a more mellow route with just a bit of a bushwhacking to take place near the end. He pushed forward while Laura and I followed the trail he left behind. Before long we had met up with the original trail and was on track to the cave we initially set out to see.

Higher Makua Cave

Sitting against the furthest wall in the cave gave us a window like view of the entire coastline. A magnificent view to close out the hike to say the least. The rain clouds had vanished and the sun was shining. We sat and chatted about our time together at Sunshine Village then headed back down to the car before the lengthy drive to the North Shore.


Chapter 5:

Laie Falls and Turtle Bay Beach

The GPS said the drive would take an hour but it took a bit more due to a bit of traffic. The views along the Kamehameha coastal road were incredible though so we didn’t mind the extra length. Our aim was to do a quick hike up to Laie Falls and then grab some food/relax along the beach for sunset.

We cut off the main road towards the trailhead for Laie Falls but was met with more no trespassing signs and the typical “Violaters will be prosecuted” phrase below. This has become such a normal occurrence on the island that we decided to keep proceeding. Shortly down the road we found the start of the trailhead and parked our car. A local man was driving up so I asked if it was okay for us to park there. At first he was hesitant but then assured us it would be okay, as long as we were back before dark. It was only 3pm (15:00) at the time so I figured there’d be no way we’d end up being longer than 5 hours.

The local man mentioned the hike takes about an hour which was already 30 minutes longer than what I had expected and due to a bit of rain days before we arrived on the island, it was going to be muddy.

Lower falls at Laie

We got a move on right away and kept a solid pace up before we hit a fork in the trail. The way on the right mentioned a scramble which seemed unusual so we chose to go left. Within a couple minutes we ran into a man named Ben who was stationed on the island for military purposes. Ben said he made it about 20 minutes further up before he thought he was on the wrong path. We talked over what the local guy had said to us earlier about it being a long hike before having him join our party for the hike.

I use an application on my iPhone called Maps.Me that works especially great when hiking different trails. From time to time I would check to make sure we were still making good time but time was not our friend. We had to pick up the pace a bit if we wanted to get there and back before sunset.

Laura crossing one of the many creeks we had to cross over the days

Nathan and I began to speed up knowing we wanted to do some filming and photos which would take up a bit of time. Laura and Ben kept at their pace but wasn’t too far behind by the time they reached the waterfall perhaps 5-10 minutes after us. This waterfall may not have been as tall as the previous Lulumahu Falls we went to the day before but it was a two stage waterfall which made it pretty cool in its own way.

It was around 5pm (17:00) when we knew we had to get a move on if we wanted to make it out of there fast. During the descent, I was convinced we weren’t going to make it to the west coast due to sunset being at 7:10pm (19:10) and the drive there being at least 30 minutes. Luckily, downhill is always so much quicker than going up and we made it back to the car by 6:20pm (18:20). Everyone hop’d in and we were in another race against time.

On the way out, we saw a couple unloading some coconuts from their car and it was a goal for all of us to drink out of one so we had to at least ask. The guy said they were getting ready to sell them and all I had on me was two dollars American so it was the best offer I could make. He happily agreed and even shaved off the outside of the coconut so all we had to do later on was crack it open with a rock. He even mentioned that we had pretty big balls to drive all the way back to where we were... I got the feeling at that point that we weren’t in the nicest of areas.

All said and done, we were on route to Turtle Bay Beach with hopes of seeing some more turtles and a wicked sunset. The plan of getting food was getting postponed but Laura was sure to point out every little local food truck or shop along the way. I knew we wouldn’t have time to stop AND see the sunset. We made it to the beach with less than five minutes to spare, set up the camera, cracked the coconut and enjoyed our first sunset in Hawaii together. We even ran into a couple we passed on the Laie Falls hike earlier!

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

Unfortunately, there was no sea turtles up on the beach at this time so once the sunset was finished we set the GPS back for Eric and Liz’s. The route it brought us on wasn’t the same one we took there and with the other two very hungry we ended up stopping at a Domino’s pizza. I bought a can of spam earlier in the day knowing I’d be eating it for dinner, therefore I hit up the gas station across the street in preparation for the next mornings hike and a couple snacks for the rest of the drive back to the house.

We were all pretty wiped out from the days events. Both Nathan and Laura caught some shut eye during the long drives which I may have been slightly jealous about but when on the go like that, the adrenaline keeps me going!

We made it back to the house around 9pm (21:00), and to my surprise when I walked in I heard the sound of hockey. Apparently when Eric came to Canada he obtained an interest in the cinderella story that is the Vegas Golden Knights and has been following along. In that case, he had recorded the game and I got to watch the Knights come back from a 4-3 deficit to a 6-4 win in game 1 of the stanley cup final. Not a bad way to end a busy day!


Chapter 6:

Stairway to Ka’au Crater Trail

The sleep in that we had yesterday morning was a blessing in disguise. Today our alarm went off at 3:35am with hopes of hiking the infamous Haiku Stairs aka The Stairway to Heaven. Liz put together a bag of oranges and a bowl of fruit for us to take with us and boy did it come in handy this morning.

As soon as we entered the neighbourhood in which we’d be parking in, a police vehicle was hot on our tail. We hit a dead end and he exited his vehicle. Busted before even getting to the trailhead. Ouch!

He was pretty cool about it and I know hands down we were not the first he’s caught nor will we be the last. He gave us some suggestions of other hikes but quite frankly, they all just seemed pretty boring compared to what we were about to do. One suggestion he did give was Koko Crater that I had on my list of places to visit for sunrise so that was the direction we would now be heading in. Laura forgot her swimsuit, so after a quick stop back at the house we were headed for a new destination!

Crashing Waves in the Morning

We parked in what I thought was the parking lot for the Koko Crater trail, got out of car to the noise of roosters in the morning only to find out that it wasn’t actually the trailhead. The road leading to the trailhead was closed! Devastated and not wanting to chance missing our last sunrise, we went out to a scenic beach properly called Sandy Beach on the east side in order to get some shots of the car for the rental company, as well as some typical crashing waves.

Mandatory Car Photo

After we ate some fresh fruit for breakfast and Nate was done playing with a crab, we started to work our way to the trailhead for Ka'au Crater. Weaving and winding our way through the suburbs leading up was pretty neat in itself. We found ourselves at the trailhead with the last parking spot available to us. A sign letting us know that it is a unmaintained trail marked the correct path and so there we were, heading down into the jungle once again.

This trail proved to be the muddiest of all the hikes we'd be doing and exceptionally longer. No complaints there however since it is our replacement for the Haiku Stairs. We splashed through the mud like it was nothing, skipped across the rocks traversing the creek and followed a small pipeline upwards. I had done a bunch of my research on locations and hikes over a month prior so even though I had saw photos of each hike, seeing it in person was so much more exciting and thrilling!

The weather had called for some rain throughout the day and as we worked our way further up the trail, it began to come down a little bit. It honestly felt pretty good, cooling the air but making it slightly muggy out. It wasn't long before we came to the first waterfall which was nestled nicely in the forest. We were completely alone in the woods.

First waterfall of the trek before Nate fell in

Nate started exploring almost instantly. He climbed the cliffs, scaled the edges of the water and went behind the waterfall. At one point he took a little slip and ended up underneath the waterfall but managed to get himself back up on the rocks. Soaking wet and with overcast skies, he quickly got cold even in the Hawaiian heat. We knew the only way to warm up was to continue on...

The trail had it's first rope section and that brought us up to the top of the waterfall. We shot a couple photos there then quickly headed on. Within a few more minutes, we were at the base of another waterfall. This one may not have been enclosed like the previous one but still ridiculously beautiful. We took a short break here and allowed Nate to dry off some of his clothes.

The next path up brought us higher and higher until we were looking across the valley at another amazing waterfall. This one was HUGE to say the least! I stopped on the path in order to shoot some photos before catching up with the others. When I came around a corner, I saw the descent I had ahead of me. It was practically straight down leading to the base of the giant waterfall I was just shooting. This seemed to be the end of the trail...

We scattered around looking for the rest of the trail but couldn't find anything. How could this be the end? This wasn't a crater and my map app says the trail is right in front of us. A bit confused and puzzled, Laura joked that we had to go up the waterfall. When she mentioned that, I looked up and saw a red ribbon that is used to mark the trail. No way... The next moment, my eyes found the ropes leading up the left side of the waterfall and I gave off a soft chuckle saying "Yep, that's the trail."

All three of us just stared up at this massive waterfall and I'm sure we were all thinking the same thing. Nate was the first one to break the silence by asking if we were going to continue. I was silent and shrugged my shoulders being pretty neutral on the whole situation waiting for Laura's reaction. Hesitant but determined by making it this far already, we proceeded up the side of the waterfall carefully using the ropes attached to the trees.

Our elevation grew fast and we avoided looking down as we climbed. This was a first in my book and I loved it! I came to Hawaii wanting to do some serious hikes, and climbing up the side of a waterfall was just that. We got to a section we were able to relax at, and look back at what we had just climbed. Obviously being a waterfall, the rocks were slippery and we needed to rely on upper body strength at times. It was this subtle spot that Laura had her first fall of the climb. She had slipped off one of the edges and hit her knee but luckily was completely out of the danger of falling. We used this time to assess our situation and discuss wether it would be better to turn back or continue up...

The Ka'au Crater

After a moment of gathering our thoughts, and not wanting to waste too much time debating the options, Nate spoke up and said let's get this done. That was all we needed. Laura took the middle position between Nate and I as we continued to climb upwards elevating ourselves further and further towards the Ka'au Crater. Before too long, we had reached the top of the waterfall. Looking down and across the valley was magnificent. We were just below the cloud line at the moment but knew we'd be heading up into it shortly if we wanted to do the full loop of the Ka'au Crater.

Attempting to check out the actual crater but with it being shrouded in clouds, we chose to make the push for the ridge. It didn't take long before the winds began blowing and the three of us decided it would be safer and shorter if we descended back down the waterfall. While doing so, we came across a couple guys that just so happened to be from the same town as myself. Crazy small world!

The way down ended up being a lot harder just as we anticipated when we climbed. It was a giant learning curve for Laura as she had never descended down ropes in the past. There were a couple moments where she had slipped and hit her same knee yet again causing it to be more painful. Having to rely on ropes to hold your weight can be a daunting task but after some coaxing and careful demonstration, all three of us were able to safely descend to the bottom of the falls and begin the journey back to the trailhead.

Once we were back down to the creek bed closer to the trailhead was when we sat down and did our best to clean off some of the mud we had gathered during the past six hours. Nate was hands down the least muddy aside from his shoes, but I had taken a quick slip along the trail which caused my butt and left side to be covered. A quick clean up and we were on our way back to the car, making it just in time before the rain really started pouring down.


Chapter 7:

The Kaniakapupu Ruins and Goodbyes

We needed food, that was pretty much a number one priority at this point but we were also stuck on the other side of the island from where Eric and Liz lived. I didn't want to get stuck in rush hour traffic so I set the GPS back in that direction but wanted to give one more attempt at finding the Kaniakapupu Ruins.

Laura and Nate had both fallen asleep on the drive waking up just as we got back to the tree lined tunnel that the ruins were near. I had Laura drive the car a couple times so I could get some shots of the vehicle in motion and ventured back into the jungle. I would be going at this one alone while the others stayed behind to relax. It was raining a bit which of course made the trail slick but I ran as fast as I could finding the ruins and getting back to the vehicle as fast as I could. Completely thrilled by making it to the ruins, we drove off to find some food.

We came across a burger spot in Kailua which was a nice sit down before returning back to Eric and Liz's place. Once back to the house, we cleaned up, vacuumed the car of sand and mud then ordered pizza for one last dinner together. Roundtable Pizza was the cream of the crop for the night. We shot some BB guns, talked about our time in Hawaii, the families time in Banff National Park plus all the travels we had lined up for the future. It was pretty hard to say goodbye but as always, all good things must come to an end.

I can't thank Eric, Liz, Bella and Max enough for the hospitality they provided during our short, beautiful time on the island of Oahu. From bringing us out on the ocean, sharing their home with us to making us morning breakfast and dinner meals. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all! I really hope I can return the favour even in the slightest one day.

Having to get up the next morning was tough. Knowing my flight to Australia had quickly approached but not knowing when I'd see Nate or Laura again left such an awkward feeling. They would be heading over to the big island to check out the volcano and a ton of other cool things while I headed down into the Southern Hemisphere in time for another winter of snowboarding.

Honolulu Night Sky


What we came to accomplish in those short three days was more than we could have expected. Having the rental car from Discount Hawaii Car Rental was a life saver and couldn't imagine a better way to see this incredible island. There was a number of highlights but if I had to choose just one it would hands down be the Ka'au Crater hike which we did on the final day together.

Trip of a lifetime

This was a moment in time that I'll never forget and these memories here speak the reasons why I love travelling. New friends, new experiences and wanderlust like no other. Thank you Nathan and Laura for tagging along on this incredible adventure; I couldn't have had better company. Can't wait for our paths to cross again one day, wether it's in New Zealand, Germany or perhaps another exciting country around this globe of a planet. ✌🏼


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