A simple pleasure in Hawaii
is hiking back in towards the center of the island. (If you don't know, the center of the island is usually mountainous, which
causes rainfall, which gives us our drinking water and lovely forests and streams.)
Almost all the valleys and ridges
have some sort of trail, and (famous last words), you'll do pretty well just exploring. There is a hiking book, with a title
something like "Hiking in Hawaii" that is not too expensive. Pictured is the second waterfall going back in Waiomao valley.
Some of the waterfalls have
enough water to swim and even jump in. This is obviously a dangerous activity, and I'll only give a couple of warnings. These
mostly apply to urban spots like Kapena falls (pictured). (This is not the best spot, but it is the easiest to get to in Honolulu.)
First only jump where people
who are surviving are jumping. This will generally be right where the water dumps over the falls. There are rocks, etc. in
Second watch out for broken
glass. The wisest thing is to wear some old shoes (or those reef walkers) to protect your feet. The safest places to get out
are usually the rocks by the falls. (As opposed to walking on the bottom in the gravelly areas down stream that may have broken
glass.) The safest places to hang out are the open rocky areas in the sun. (Besides broken glass, there are lots of mosquitoes
in the shady underbrush.)
Third watch out for a weird disease called leptospirosis. I've taken
lots of people to Kapena falls and no one has gotten more than a mild headache. But I think occasionally it gets more serious.
There are usually signs posted in places where people have gotten it. If you are going to ignore the signs, at least consider
the common sense approach we use.
To get to Kapena falls from a map (online use 2450 Pali Hwy, 96817,
or manual from Wyllie St and Pali): Drive slowly south on Pali Hwy (61), cross stream (quick glimpse thru trees), then immediately
turn right into scenic lookout parking area. (Lock your car. Note broken car window glass at your feet. This is a ripoff spot.
Best not to even bring valuables, suitcases, etc. Do not leave anything showing.) Walk along wall north back towards stream.
Just a little after the death-defying part, turn left into forest. Follow right fork in trail. Leads to top of highest jumping
On some trails (and even roads)
you can pick wild fruit in Hawaii. In August your best odds are for strawberry guava (pictured), regular guava, mountain apples,
Strawberry quava is probably
the easiest one. It grows on low bushes, and tastes fairly good. It is a little on the puckery-bitter-sour side unless very
The regular guava looks sort
of like a lemon in size and color. Most of these are too strong for most peoples' taste. Occasionally you'll find a very good
tree, but you'll go through a lot of rejects getting there.
Mountain apples are very mild
and juicey, sort of like a pear. However, they are a little trickier to find and very tricky to pick. They grow in the wettest
areas, so more likely on a valley hike than a ridge hike, and more likely deeper in the valleys. They tend to grow out of
reach. The best tool I've found is just a long stick with a forked end. Have one person shake the branch and another catch
the falling apples. The redder ones fall off easier and are sweeter, but I like the half white ones best.
Passionfruit (lilikoi) are maybe
the best of all the wild fruits that get ripe in the summer. They keep well (most of the others do not), and are fairly easy
to get if you find them. Most are bright yellow, egg shaped, and have a hard outer skin that feels like plastic. (There are
also purple and pink varieties.) They tend to fall off when ripe, so often the way you spot a vine is the fruit laying all
over the ground. (The vines are often out of reach.)
To eat a passionfruit, you can
just rip it open, but the best is to cut the skin only (about a 1/4 ") and pop in half. If the seeds and juice are still in
their little packets (versus in a juicey mix), the fruit is still good no matter how old the outside looks. (The old wrinkly
ones are actually tastier.) If you've never tasted passionfruit, be ready for a mild shock. The taste is very strong and very
sour, but it is killer good.
Here are some other sites by yours truly:
List of Ray Grogan web sites
Mountain House rentals