Kaena Point From Mokuleia: Bunkers, Legends, and Old Railways

I love exploring the north and west shores leading up to Kaena Point, primarily because I think it is the last stretch of wild coastline on Oahu. Once you step beyond where the paved roads end in both Mokuleia and Waianae, you are instantly surrounded by beautiful coastal terrain, cultural sites, and remnants of a historical past once dominated by plantations and the military.

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Hawaiian Monk Seal Spotting at Kaena Point

On the last Saturday of 2013, Joel and I decided to hike down to Kaena Point. For details about Kaena Point, do check out this post here (from the west) and this post here (from the north). Besides just taking macro photography, we also decided to do some seal spotting. The best place to do so? Kaena Point, of course. Below you will find a few photos that we took of Monachus schauinslandi, better known as the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

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Testing Out The Olloclip Macro 3-IN-1 Lens At Kaena Point

I recently got my hands on the new Olloclip Macro 3-IN-1 Photo Lens, designed specifically for the iPhone 5 and 5s. I decided to head out to Kaena Point, the westernmost location on the island of Oahu, to test out the new gadget. The clip-on device features three levels of magnification, 7X, 14X, and 21X. For the shots below, I used either 14X of 21X lens. To use the 7X lens, you simply unscrew the 14X lens on top of it. For a device that retails at $69.95, I was rather impressed by the results. In comparison, a good macro lens for a DSLR could set you back hundreds of dollars. If you want to get your feet wet in macro photography, then the Olloclip Macro 3-IN-1 is a great place to start.

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Kuaokala Trail: A State Trail With Restricted Trailhead Access

By completing the Kuaokala Trail, I was able to strike off another Na Ala Hele maintained trail off of my list. Kuaokala terminates at a lookout that overlooks Makua Valley, however, the best views are to be had before reaching this lookout. Our crew had previously reached this same lookout point via the Kealia Trail in Mokuleia. The Kuaokala trailhead is located in Waianae, far from the trailhead of Kealia. Access to the Kealia Trail is open, whereas you will need to get a permit from the Hawaii Division of Forestry if you want to hike the Kuaokala Trail. That said, I believe that Kuaokala is a better hike, with much more varied vistas.

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Making House on the Waianae Mountain Range (WST Thru Hike)


Oh, mountain of our eyes, we’re calling you
Will you hear our cries, what will the poor boy do?
What will the poor girl do?
We’re coming to you

~ Patti Smith

What follows is an account of a three-day backpacking trip of the Waianae Mountain Range, one of the two mountain ranges on Oahu spawned by volcanic activity that formed the island about 3.9 million years ago. The Waianae Summit Trail (WST) as I’ll call it here is not really a ‘trail’ in the typical sense, since it traverses over military and privately owned land, involves several dangerous climbs, and certain portions are not even maintained or generally hiked on at all. It’s possible that these factors together may account for the lack of documentation on the WST having previously been completed in a single trip.

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Kaena Point: A Nature Reserve Located on the Westernmost Point of Oahu

We’ve featured the easternmost point of the island of Oahu on this site before (see Makapu’u Point), but what about the westernmost point of the island? That distinction belongs to Kaena Point. Located just beyond Waianae and Yokohama Beach, Kaena Point is actually a nature reserve and bird sanctuary that is managed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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