Ahuena Heiau sits in Kamakahonu Bay in the historic Kailua Village on the Big Island. Michelle and I recently had the chance to visit this temple that served Kamehameha the Great when he returned to the Big Island in 1812. According to the official Ahuena Heiau website, three significant events occurred here. First, in 1910, Native Hawaiian’s mourned the loss of their King, as Kamehameha The Great died inside of the heiau. Second, it was here that Liholiho (Kamehameha II) broke the ancient kapu system (taboos that provided the framework for traditional Hawaiian government). Third, the first Christian missionaries traveled from New England and came ashore here in 1820.
All posts tagged Ancient
[Note: This post is titled True Makapuu to Tom-Tom because of a previous inaccurately titled post. The previous post actually documented a hike from Kamiloiki to Makapuu.]
When it comes to scenic hikes, it’s hard to beat the trek from the Makapuu portion of the Koolau Summit Trail to the Tom-Tom trail in Waimanalo. Throughout the entire hike you are spoiled with impressive views of the lush windward shores. If you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time and looking for an adventure with unforgettable views then this is the hike that I would recommend. In fact, with my friend Mark visiting Hawaii, I thought that this would be the perfect first hike for him to do. Oh, and I decided to do this hike while battling a cold. It was worth it.
Joining us for this adventure was Mark’s college buddy, Ernest, who is an avid hiker himself (i.e. Lanipo, Haiku Stairs, and all three peaks of Olomana just to name a few). As I would find out, Ernest is quit the character. He’s an avid toy collector, he works for Tetris (yes, the game), his family runs Frostcity, and he runs marathons. Speaking of marathons, he was set to run the Honolulu Marathon the day following this hike. For those who don’t know, the 26 mile Honolulu Marathon is a world class event that attracts runers from across the globe. Little did Ernest know, he was in for a challenging hike the day before the big marathon. In fact, both he and Mark were shocked to say the least. Mark, pretty much knows nothing about Honolulu hiking trails so when I told him that we were hiking from Makapuu to Waimanalo, he assumed that it would be a nice and easy walk along the coast. And since Mark was the one who invited Ernest, he had told Ernest that this would be a short and non-strenuous hike. LOL.
The trailhead for our route on this day began across the street from the Makapuu Scenic Lookout Point. It’s the same trailhead that we used when doing the Makapuu Sunrise Timelapse and also when Marvin did his summit hopping from Makapuu to Wiliwilinui. When we did the timelapse, we stopped just short of the Makapuu Puka, which we affectionately re-named the Makapuu Glory Hole on this particular hiking jaunt. As we gained elevation and ridge walked to the Makapuu Glory Hole, we could not help but notice the world class views of Makapuu Beach. Also in plain sight were Manana and Kaohikaipu Island. Of course, you’ll also get a top-down vantage point of Sea Life Park and you’ll even hear the dolphins from the park as you make your way along the ridge. These amazing views follow you throughout nearly the entire journey to Waimanalo and the Tom-Tom trail. If you’re looking to take postcard worthy photos during your visit to Hawaii then this is the trail that you want to do.
Speaking of the Makapuu Glory Hole, did I mention that we found Waldo. Yep, we found Waldo. Beyond the Glory Hole will be more ridge walking and scrambling with multiple ascents and descents. Eventually, you will reach a jumpoff point used by Hang Gliders. This area will be covered with old dirty beige carpet and the wooden launch spot covered with green carpet. Behind the green jump off spot you will notice a set of wooden and concrete steps.
Walk down these steps and continue on the concrete road. When you reach the top of the road you will see an open area to your left with a slab of concrete and in front of you will be a building structure. There are two ways to continue on from this point. Either walk toward the concrete slab and to your left you will see an old gate along the ridge line. Walk on the ridge and continue pass this old gate. Or, you can choose the easy route and follow an alley next to the building structure. There were ribbons when we did this indicating the trail. Walk a short distance and then trail will turn right into tall grass (again, ribbons helped us). You will eventually find yourself once again walking on the ridge and will eventually meet up with those who chose to go the more difficult route past the old metal gate near the concrete slabs.
You will then eventually reach another set of old buildings. To your right you will see concrete steps. Walk up those steps and continue with your journey to the Tom-Tom trail. Your next landmark will be two large cylindrical concrete structures with concrete slabs on top of them. Continue past these two concrete sturctures and keep following the ridge line. Eventually you reach a steep descent where a blue rope has been installed. The descent is actually not so bad and none of us required the use of the rope. Just be sure to make your way down nice and slow. After more ridge walking, you eventually reach an ascent into some Ironwood trees. Follow the ribbons pass the Ironwood trees and continue toward Waimanalo.
The Legend of the Shapeshifting Shark-Man of Makua Cave is the first post of a series that we call Exploration: Hawaii Chicken Skin Legends, Locations, and Stories. These posts will explore some of the chicken skin (hair-raising goosbumbs for you mainlanders) inducing locations and stories that Hawaii has to offer. Since it’s October and Halloween is right around the corner, you can expect to see a couple of these posts throughout the month. And remember, you should always respect Hawaiian legends, spirits, and stories as spiritual Hawaiiana is something that should be respected and taken seriously.
During a recent trip to Kaena Point, we made a stop along the way to Makua Cave. Located just past mile marker 17 and Keeau Beach Park, this mysterious cave is full of Hawaiian legend. Nicknamed Makua Cave, this cave on the northwestern shore of Oahu is officially known as Kaneana (there’s even a sign across the street etched with this name). Kaneana is translated to mean Cave of the Kane (kane means man in Hawaiian).
Legend goes that within Makua Cave lives a shapeshifting Shark-Man that transforms into human form to lure people into the cave. It is because of this that during the ancient Hawaiian times, people were forbidden from entering Makua Cave, fearful that they would be attacked or eaten by the Shark-Man. With this in mind, Marvin, Joel, and I hesitantly entered the cave.
I was impressed by the sheer height of the mouth of the cave. As we walked further into the cave, though, the ceiling became shorter and shorter. There came a point where I needed to bend down to go deeper into the cave. We eventually stopped at a point that would have forced us to crawl on our stomachs in order to continue. There was no way that I would do that. And although we did not see the Shark-Man, we did have an encounter with some unexpected visitors .
According to Durupan & Chan, Makua Cave is approximately 150,000 years old and more than 450 feet deep. They also note that Makua Cave used to be underwater and was carved out of the sea.
Durupan & Chan also mention that the little tunnels at the end of the cave (remember, the ones that I refused to crawl into) will lead to the inner end of the cave. They also note that there used to a rope at the end that you could use to climb down and at the end you would find a happy face. Would I attempt this? Hell no.
Directions: From Honolulu you will drive west bound on H1 Freeway towards Ewa/Waianae. Follow H1 past Ewa, eventually it will become Farrington Highway and you pass Nanakuli, Makaha, and Waianae. Just past mile-marker 17 will be Makua Cave on your right hand side. Park across the street on your left in the dirt road parking lot. In the parking lot you will see a sign indicating that you are at Kaneana Park.
1. Two people from Climb Aloha stopped by to also check out Makua Cave a few minutes after we got there. They were pretty cool and I even asked them if they were scouting some new climbing routes. They said “no way!”
Note: Kaniakapupu is not open to the public. It is illegal to hike this trail and to do so would be cause for citation or arrest. There is also a risk of falling boulders, landslides, and drowning. As such, all accounts here are fictional. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Adobe Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software that allows one to superimpose another into a photo making it seem as if they were somewhere when if fact they were not. Got it?
You can count this one as a totally awesome find. Why? Because you will not find Kaniakapupu in any Oahu guide book. It’s a hidden treasure that few locals know even exist. Tucked away in Nu’uanu lay the ruins of the summer home of King Kamehameha. These ruins are known as Kaniakapupu, or ”the singing of the land shell.”
A few of us decided to venture out to the outskirts of the Pali highway to find this ancient Hawaiian ruins. This is the perfect excursion for those of you who want to do a little exploring but don’t have a lot of time to spare. The trail to the ruins is located off of Nu’uanu Pali Drive and takes about 5-10 minutes to access the site. You’ll need to navigate though about 600 ft. of bamboo to reach the ruins.
Kaniakapupu is the only remaining structure associated with Kamehameha III. Furthermore, since Kaniakapupu was the home to a king, it was considered to be kapu (Hawaiian word meaning forbidden, though it also carries the meaning of sacred, consecrated, or holy). It honestly did feel a bit eerie to be roaming the home of a former Hawaiian monarch. There were a few chicken skin moments that I experienced while I was exploring the back of the ruins by myself. It was like I could feel the mana (Hawaiian word meaning supernatural or divine power, or to have authority, privilege or power) being exuded from the site.
There isn’t much left of the home, however, there is a memorial placard posted toward the front of the home. It reads:
Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III and his Queen Kalama
Completed in 1845, it was the scene of entertainment of foreign celebrities the feasting of chiefs and commoners. The greatest of these occasions was a luau attended by an estimated ten thousand people celebrating Hawaiian Restoration Day in 1847.
From Honolulu, you will take the Pali Highway towards Kaneohe. You will then take the Nu’uanu Pali Drive exit. Follow this road until you see the Board of Water Supply building on the left. Park your car on the side of the street. You will find a bamboo pathway across the street of the Board of Water Supply building which marks the start of the short trail. Follow this trail about 300′, then take the first left turn and walk another 300′. The ruins will be at the end of this short trail.
Kaniakapupu Ruins Tips:
- Use bug repelant. The Pali is notorious for being wet and mosquitos love wet things!
- Respect the ruins. This was the stomping grounds of Hawaiian royalty. Pick up your trash before your leave.
- This is a high break in area. Do not leave your valuables in your car.