Ka'ena I: The trail from Wai'anae.

[[ Part I of III ]]
Raining?  Go west.  Overcast?  Go west.  Not sure?  I say, go west.  Heads up, this is a lengthy post.  A little history, a splash of mythology, a dash of ecology....and a shit ton of pictures.

There's nothing I love more than laying on the very edge of the cliff face here and feeling the strength of the ocean surge through the eroded coral beds up to my body, and having the same powerful wave gently kiss my face with a salty spray.  Being here reminds me of when I briefly lived in Kea'au, and I think it's safe to say this is my favorite place on the island.  Constantly beckoning to me, I can't seem to stay away for more than a month and that's why I want to share this place with all of you, the way I see it.

Ka'ena Point is the most western part of O'ahu.  Along the trail you'll follow remnants of Ben Dillingham's O'ahu Railway & Land Company.  It's an astounding feat to imagine considering the lack of today's technology, and the terrain.  
Brief background of the railway because I love history:
Railway operations had ceased by the end of 1947.  The tsunami that had devastated the Hawaiian islands on April 1, 1946, the gradual increase of private ownership in automobiles, plantation workers going on strike, and the decrease of military traffic after the war all played part in the decline of the railway's use.  Much of the railway has since been disassembled.  However, you can still take a ride on what's now preserved by The Hawaiian Railway Society.

Ka'ena was named after Pele's brother or cousin whom accompanied her from Kahiki(Tahiti).  However, Ka'ena was also a chief of Wai'anae and means the heat when translated, so your guess is as good as mine-regarding the origin of the name.  Within the reserve area is ka leina a ka ‘uhane which literally translates to the place where spirits leaped into the netherworld, but was referred to as leap of the soul.  Each island has it's own passage way into the other world, usually located on the northwest.

As you follow the old dirt road along a chartreuse and gold painted mountainside you'll see a prism of algae in the pool beds waiting to be explored, teeming with aquatic life.  Ka'ena is the designated chill spot of the critically endangered Hawaiian sea doggo and the threatened green sea turtle, so keep an eye out.  Especially for the doggos,  there's been a handful of occasions where they've actually startled me to the point I've jumped on this trail because I don't notice them until I can hear their heavy breathing or they move, they seriously blend right into the rocks!! 

Listed in the order as they appear.

Tips for when you head out there:
  • I cherish this place with all my heart, so please don't litter and pick up trash if you do see it.  
  • Check the tides if you're like me and like to explore off the path or jump into the water.  (I'm not saying you should because it's dangerous, this is just a recommendation if you do decide to do so)
  • National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) recommends keeping a distance of 150 feet, allowing the Hawaiian monk seal to remain undisturbed.
  • NOAA and DLNR recommend, for your safety and the animals’ protection, that everyone stay at least 10 feet (3 meters) from all sea turtles.
  • Try to walk back before the sun sets, the shit load of spiders come out after dark.
If you grow up in Hawai'i you kind of learn to mind your own business even though so many people are niele af, but this is probably the exception;  I have reported people to the proper authorities who I've seen touching or disturbing these animals after I've attempted to briefly educate them and after giving them a verbal warning, just fuck the fuck off if you can't be respectful.
Click here to read up on Chapter 124 to educate yourself on the laws regarding endangered species in Hawai'i.

Please share what your favorite place near your home is in the comments below!

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