Aeia Trail Ridge Hike

18 06 2013

When we set out for Oahu, one of the big things I wanted to do was get in a bunch of hiking. imageI think hiking is a great way to get to know an area, and get off the beaten tourist path.

After perusing a couple of hiking books, it became clear quickly that hiking on the North Shore where we are staying was going to be a bust, as most trails require conditional access permits, some from the Mormon Church, and some from the military, and, that sounds like a huge pain! (We had no idea that the Mormon Church has such a wide stake in the North Shore, but they really do, to the point that most of the shops in our little town of La’ie were closed on Sunday.)

Being that we are most definitely still on Pacific Time, we were up early enough on Sunday to see the sun rise and leisurely determine our hike, and still be out the door by about 7:30.

We decided on Aeia, which is in a state park. We liked its relative shortness (5 miles), relatively little elevation gain (about 1100 feet), and, that there would be  both good vistas and an aircraft wing from a B-24 that crashed during WWII.

Sadly, I hadn’t quite dialed in the settings on a new waterproof camera, so the white balance is a little out of whack in these photos. I fixed it after this hike, but the pictures are more washed out than real life was!


As is common in hiking anywhere, a lot of the trails around here seem pretty obscure in terms of where the trailhead starts, but this one was very clear – note the large sign that says “Start.”

And, speaking of the start, it was pretty tame – dry and exposed roots – but before long we were into some serious mud and more challenging terrain. Neither of us planned on getting muddy, but by the time the day was done, our shoes were completely caked. Luckily, there was a fresh water spigot at the park to clean off.

Here was the easy start:


A lot of the hike was lush rainforest, with views like this.


About 45 minutes into the hike, we came across this vista of the H3. You can’t tell by this picture, but a big chunk of it is a raised interstate highway. We find the term “interstate” ironic, since of course no highway in Hawaii connects to one in another state!


One of the key draws of this hike was that you were to come across a B-24 wing from a WWII crash site. In talking with a local hiker on the trail, she noted that she had done this hike hundreds of times and had never seen the wing, and told us not to be surprised if we didn’t find it. She clearly didn’t know my nickname is “Eagle Eye Ang,” because, about 15 minutes after we came across the H3, I spotted the wing.

There is not much left, and you had to hike down a fairly steep trail to see it, which is probably why most hikers overlook it. Apparently there is more wreckage farther down this gully, but the trail is very overgrown so we weren’t about to go bushwhacking.


Not long after the wing, we went through a grove of Cook Pines, which are really interesting – very different from the pines I know.


There was a peek-a-boo view of Pearl Harbor around the bend from the Cook Pines.


This hike was super interesting in terms of climates. We started off in a dry section, then had very humid rain, then alternated between dry and rainforest type weather for the remainder. Very different, and at times, very challenging for we Pacific Northwesterners that melt in oppressive humidity and heat!

Here was the route. I forgot to press “Start” on my Garmin until we’d already been going a little bit, but you get the picture:


And here is the elevation. The last little hill at the end could easily catch a person out – thankfully we were expecting it!


All in all, this was a great hike and the variety of terrain and views made it a perfect intro into Oahu hiking.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a monster hike – the Koko Head Crater Tramway – as well as some boogie boarding. The preview is as follows: We are good at hiking. We are lame old people at boogie boarding. But, we had fun with both!



One response

18 06 2013
Pamela Curran

This has been a good trip for you. Glad you are having fun.

Sent from my iPhone

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