Not for the Faint Hearted

Whether it’s taking a leap of faith off the Spitting Caves or watching the sunset down on the Leeward coast, there are a million and one things to do outdoors in Hawaii.

Anyone looking for ideas for an outdoor adventure no longer needs to pore through tour books as the Internet has become the perfect resource adrenaline kooks looking for their next surreal adventure.

I spent a couple of weekends driving across Oahu, capturing adventure seekers from the mountain to the sea. Personally, I prefer adventure with a little risk, but it’s important to remember not to be ignorant about the real dangers of some these spots. Always check the weather and any posted signs before you go.

UPPER MAKUA CAVE (near Ka‘ena Point State Park)

The Upper Makua Cave overlooks the end of Farrington Highway, the furthest you can go by car on the west side of Oahu. The hike to the cave, while short, is steep and the rocky path is dry and crumbly. However, the view is well worth the climb. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

BEACH TRAMPOLINE (Laie Beach Park)

A trampoline sits atop old rusty pier piles at Laie Beach Park, locally known as Pounders. A recent Hawaii News Now story noted that state officials consider the installation illegal and have plans to take it down. Photograph by Kellen Takatsuka.

PINK PILLBOX (Mā‘ili)

The story goes that this pillbox was anonymously painted pink in support of a cancer awareness hike. Not everyone loves the paint job, according to this report by Hawaii News Now, but the organizer of the 2015 hike hopes the pink bunker will be a reminder of the fight against cancer. Located in Mā‘ili in Waiʻanae, the hike to this bunker takes a quick 20 minutes. From the pill box, you can see the entire west coast of Oahu. When I took this picture I met Max Holloway, the Waiʻanae-born professional mixed martial arts fighter. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

OLOMANA’S PEAKS (Kailua)

There are three peaks on Olomana, the hike to the first peak being a four-mile round trip. It gets steep near the top, where there is a 30-foot rock wall climb. The unobstructed views of the Windward coast make this a popular trip. Most hikers only head up to the first peak as the second and third ones have very dangerous trails that have claimed a few lives. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

YOKOHAMA BAY (in Ka‘ena Point State Park)

Located past the end of the Farrington Highway on the west side is Yokohama Bay, which is part of Ka‘ena Point State Park. There’s nothing much here when it comes to shade, there’s no access to drinking water, and the waves and currents are considered treacherous. But beachgoers come here for its seclusion from civilization, and wild beauty. This is also near the start of the Ka‘ena Point Trail, which takes you to the Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve, home to nesting seabirds and monk seals basking on the beach. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

SPITTING CAVES (Portlock, Hawaii Kai)

Daredevils come here to express their YOLO spirit, taking 100-foot leaps of faith off the cliff into a surging ocean. The jump is notorious for taking people’s lives so I come here only as a spectator. Against a backdrop of multi-million dollar mansions, cliff jumpers and spectators enjoy the view of an unrelenting ocean as it pounds into a cave below, forcing air and spray back out in a dramatic display. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

MAKAPU‘U TIDE POOLS (East side)

While the Makapu‘u Lighthouse trail is abuzz with strolling tourists and jogging strollers, those looking for adventure take a slight detour off the trail to the Makapu‘u tide pools. The path down to the tide pools is steep with unstable rocks but once you’re down there, it’s quite the treasure. When surf is up, a pair of blowholes (nicknamed Dragon’s Nostrils) at the tide pools put on quite a show, giving viewers a better close-up view than the popular Hālona Blowhole, which is just down the road. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

PAST THE CROUCHING LION (Ka‘a‘awa)

In search of even more spectacular views, intrepid hikers go beyond the popular Crouching Lion trail. But those who stick to just the easier part of the trail will still be rewarded with a stunning 360 degree view atop the Crouching Lion himself. Photograph by Nui Sabas.

WEST SIDE SUNSET

There nothing like a west side sunset to end a day outdoors. When the conditions are right, the setting sun illuminates the clouds and the sky into a collage of ethereal colors. Photograph by Nui Sabas.
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