– Oahu, Hawaii –

Day three began much like day two. We woke up at 5am, brushed our teeth, got dressed, and walked out to the path behind our hotel for our morning run. It didn’t rain much today, unlike yesterday, and the wind was a little quieter, so our run ended up being a little hotter, but we survived.

When we finished our run, we came back up to our hotel, made our breakfast, then changed into swimsuits and walked down to the beach once again for a morning swim. We felt safe leaving our towels and bag next to a kindly-seeming father and and his little girl while we swam. I joked with Mark that the guy would definitely protect our stuff, so we should put it over close to him. No one bothered it, of course, but I can’t say whether that was thanks to the hulking dad nearby or just a coincidence. No one bothered it yesterday, either, to be fair.

Dole Plantation gift shop

Once we finished up in the water, we came back to the hotel, showered, did our interneting down in the lobby, and hopped in the car, all before 8:30am. The days feel so long when you’re moving that early. Of course, that means we are tired by 6pm, but since it is dark at 7:30, that doesn’t seem too bad.

Our goal for today was to make the loop around the top, or North Shore, of the island. We took the H1 through Honolulu, then the H2 up to Wahiawa. It doesn’t really take too long to make it there, even in morning rush hour, but we did spend some time reading our book along the way. We are doing The Redemotion of Althalus, by David Eddings. It is one of the few Eddings books that I’ve never read to Mark, and we are both enjoying it. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, too.

Cultural display in the botanical garden

After we passed Wahiawa, we took Highway 99 north. Along the way, we passed a sign that said, “Dole Plantation.” That made us curious, so we decided to stop. Have you ever imagined that someone might turn a pineapple farm into a tourist trap? I’d never imagined it either, and yet there it was.

We didn’t take the tour around the farm, because it would’ve added at least another hour to our busy morning, but we did go into the gift shop and cafe and have a look around. The whole plae is basically decorated in a yellow so bright that it almost makes you sick to look at it. They have everything from pineapple soap to stuffed animals of some kind of weird yellow shark with legs holding a pineapple. It was packed to the brim with kitchy pineapple junk.

Waimea Falls

I suppose the funniest part of all if just how popular it was. There was a line for tickets to take the tour. A long line. People are nuts. Yes, it’s cool to see a pineapple grow, but who can stomach an entire bus tour in the Hawiian sun just to see a farm?

The cafe, too, was sort of amusing. Imagine stuffing pineapple into pretty much every meal. Breakfast? Pineapple pancakes. Lunch? Tacos with pineapple salsa. Dinner? Kebabs with grilled pineapple. Dessert? How about an ice cream sundae covered in pineapple syrup and chunks of fresh pineapple? This is how you ruin your poor tongue for a week, people. Never forget, pineapple is digesting you while you’re digesting it. Pineapple contains bromelain, which is an enzyme that can break down other foods. Because of this, pineapple can be used as a meat tenderizer, and can do the same thing to the soft tissues of your mouth. Remember to consume responsibly, kids.

The path to the falls

With the Dole Plantation out of the way, we continued down the road to our major destination for the day: Waimea Valley. We knew that there was a small hike back to the waterfall we wanted to visit there, and we were in a hurry to get there before it got too hot for us to enjoy it.

We pulled into the parking lot just after 10am, and paid our entrance fees. It’s $16 a person, $12 for students. This is the first time in a long time Mark and I can legitimately say we’re both students, since he’s now working on his PhD and I just got accepted into my Master’s program. Yay for cheaper tickets to things.

Giant tree

It turns out that the hike back to the falls is about .75 miles, which isn’t terrible, but for $16 (if you’re unlucky), you’d expect a little more than a long hike back to a waterfall. The truth is, the entrance is also a botanical garden, and while it’s lovely hiking back along a paved path into the jungle, I don’t know that it’s worth what they are asking for it, especially knowing now what I didn’t know then about the waterfall.

Killer Tacos, but we’re still alive

Along the path, we also passed what they call a cultural display, which depicted some buildings that would’ve been used by early Hawiians. They were interesting, though strangely small. It made me wonder how big villages would’ve been at the time. The buildings don’t seem like they would’ve held many people, even the ones that were meant to be a place to eat or gather.

Mark has been having fun with a new zoom lens he has borrowed for the camera, and I think we ended up with about 50 close-up shots of brightly colored flowers along the way to the waterfall. It was cute watching him hover over each little plant, zooming in and out and looking a kind of nerdy with his giant straw hat tilted back on his head to keep it out of his way. Luckily the path was shady, so I didn’t mind standing around while he played with the flowers.

Ukelele Shop

When we finally made it to the waterfall after our hike, we were somewhat underwhelmed. The waterfall is supposed to vary between a trickle and a deluge, and while it was somewhere in between today, it was pretty small for what we’d been told was, “one of the best waterfalls on the island.” I can’t say that spectacular is something that in any way describes it, despite what we heard, and I can’t imagine a larger volume of water changing that.

In addition, people are allowed to swim in the pool at the base of the falls, which makes taking photos of the place moot. It’s like taking a picture of a swimming pool filled with 30 or 40 people in life vests. It wasn’t great. If you came up there to swim, though, maybe it would be nice? I can’t imagine wanting to swim in that small of a body of water with that many people, particularly when you’re required to wear a life vest (from their little collection of rental ones, no less), but I guess that must mean that I’m not the target audience. There were way more adults in the pool than I expected, though. Besides even that, a prominent sign mentioned the dangers of swimming with cuts, as apparently Leptospirosis bacteria are commonly found in fresh water on the islands, which would not be a nice souvenir from our Hawaii vacation.

So many chickens

We made it back down to our car at around 11:15, glad that we went but not expecting to recommend the trip to any else that visits. It’s… fine… but not worth the money. Once we left the valley, we backtracked a few miles into Historic Haleiwa, as all of the signs called it.

The tiny city was quite busy, but we spotted a vegetarian sandwich shop on the map, so we braved the traffic through the little town to find the place. Unfortunately, it turned out to have gone out of business, so we followed the road almost back to the main highway before we spotted Killer Tacos, where we had a delightful burrito. Mark’s had coconut rice, which is definitely not something you’d have on a burrito back home. Mine wasn’t spicy enough for me, despite what they claimed was habanero sauce, but I find myself doubting its authenticity. I suppose we should’ve learned our lesson about getting Mexican food this far from Mexico. Still, it was a decent burrito and I would go back if we were in the area again.

Pu’u Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site

There was a ukelele shop next door, so we stopped in there as well. Those things are strange. Mark picked one up to play, but he tells me that the way you tune them is quite a bit different from the way you’d tune a guitar, so he wasn’t able to play it particularly well. I’ll bet he could with practice, but luckily I got him out of there before he decided to purchase one so he could try.

Burritos put away, we hit the highway again and went back the way we came to take in more sights along the North Shore. Just past Waimea Valley (for the second time), we stopped at Pu’u Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site, which protects the ruins of an old temple that looks down on the bay and valley below. The ruins are mostly the base of the walls and the floor, which were constructed of lava rock. The temple was considered sacred, so originally access was restricted. Now, the state park is free to visit and not particularly popular, so we were to treated to a delightful view and a mostly empty park to frolick in. It was a little hot, but we had fun looking around and taking some pictures down off of the big hilll we were on. It was definitely worth the stop.

Mark at the valley overlook

I feel like now is a good time to mention the chickens. If you’ve never been to Hawaii before, it might surprise you to learn that the whole place seems positively crowded with semi-wild chickens. They’re everywhere: in the middle of roads, in temple ruins, at gas stations, and outside of fast-food restaurants. I’ve never seen so many chickens in my life. They aren’t the fat, egg-laying hens you see at home on farms, either. These chickens are lean and tough-looking, and run pretty fast. I know because I chased some. Mark was so surprised when I ran into a big group of them that he didn’t even manage to bring up the camera in time to snap a picture. He had to beg me to do it again so he could catch me chasing the chickens. I won’t apologize. Those noisy little jerks deserved it.

Malaekahana State Recreation Area

We tried to visit the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge just up the road after, but I guess they don’t want anyone to stop by, because it was practically impossible to get there. I was really surprised. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that you can’t visit before.

Feeling thwarted, we continued until we came to Malaekahana State Recreation Area, where we were able to get out and get some pretty pictures. This particular park has an island called Goat Island just off the shore that you can walk to along an underwater (3.3 feet down) reef that’s 720 feet long. We hadn’t planned to make the trek across, but it was neat to see nonetheless, and the water was very clear and blue. I feel like I’m going to be saying that constantly on this trip.

Laie Point

By now, we were feeling thirsty and needed a little break, so we stopped at a McDonald’s in Laie for an unsweet tea. It’s starting to seem like this trip was sponsored by McDonald’s $1 large drinks. We’ve certainly had enough of them.

Properly hydrated once again, we made our next stop at Laie Point State Wayside. It’s basically just a rocky promontory overlooking a large sea arch. It was gorgeous, though. It was really the best view we had all day. The point stretched in a narrow strip out over the ocean, and we could see little rock cairns on top of the sea arch in the distance. I have to wonder how exactly people even get up there.

Mark’s awesome photo of water splashing up on Laie Point

We also ran into our first Instagram Boyfriend in the wild. An Instagram boyfriend is a man that follows his narcissistic girlfriend around taking thousands of ridiculously over-the-top pictures of her for her to post the perfect shot on her Instagram account for everyone to see. This boyfriend in particular had a drone, and his girlfriend was standing out all alone on the end of the point in her silly outfit and hat, staring off into the distance while her boyfriend took picture after picture with his drone. She was a little put out when we walked out there to the end, ignoring her little photoshoot. What a tragedy. Poor guy. They’d already been out there in the sun for quite a while. I hope that girl is worth it. Mark and I got a good laugh out of it, regardless.

Perfect shot of the Instagram Boyfriend and his drone

Back in our car once again, we drove down to Kualoa Regional Park, where we stopped for another picture of a little island off of the coast. It wasn’t as cute as some of the others, but Mark finally picked up his sand sample for Oahu from this spot, so it ended up being an important stop. It’s so easy to make him happy.

Not long after, we were once again in Kaneohe, and we were done with our drive for the day. We took Highway 63 over to Honolulu today instead of 61, which we took yesterday. I can’t say that it ended up being that different. The tunnel through the mountains was older, I think. It looked like it was, at any rate.

Kualoa Regional Park

We did some more driving along the coast in the Honolulu and Waikiki area, including a stop at the Diamond Head Overlook, where we took a few more pictures of Honolulu.

We were back in our hotel room by about 5pm, then went back out for dinner not long after. We decided to try The Loving Hut, which is a vegan food chain, and we were a little disappointed. The food was fine, but it was just Americanized Chinese food, when we were expecting something else. We could’ve found more authentic and tastier Asian-style food anywhere else in the city. Oh, well. It’s not so bad, I guess.

The Loving Hut dinner

Tonight is our last night on Oahu, so no run for us in the morning. Instead, we will get up and pack up the last of our stuff and head to the airport for our hop over to Maui. I wish it was easier to get from island to island, but we will survive. New territory to cover sounds exciting! We were almost out of things to do that we would enjoy here on Oahu.

– Trip Total :  303 miles

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