Last January, Michelle and I decided to catch a sunrise together. This came after she revealed to me that she has never watched the sun rise before. This needed to be corrected, and quickly. So I suggested a sunrise hike to the Koolau Summit. We woke up at 4am in the morning, drove east toward Hawaii Kai and then proceeded to hike up to the Koolau’s. Doesn’t sound very safe, huh? The hike up is actually very safe and takes roughly thirty minutes. Just remember to bring headlamps or flashlights. Once you do get to the top, you are rewarded with stunning views overlooking Waimanalo. I’m pretty sure that she had a good time.
All posts tagged Sunrise
The Apple App Store offers mobile consumers the opportunity to access a library of apps that allow you to do a wide range of things, from farting-on-command, to finding a nearby restaurant, to even translating foreign languages. But are there any apps for the outdoor enthusiasts? Sure, of course there is. There are a ton. However, one of the problems of such a vast library of apps is sorting through the bunch and finding the ones that are best for you. I might not be able to tell you which apps are best for you, but I can surely share with you some of my favorite hiking/outdoor apps for the iPhone. Here are ten:
This is Instagram Hawaii Spotting: Volume 3. I use Instagram a lot. A LOT. This makes sense since I’m pretty much glued to my iPhone and I love to snap photos. I just returned from a short, 4 day and 3 night stay on the Big Island. Michelle and I had an amazing time. Here are a few Instagram shots taken during our most recent visit to the largest of the Hawaiian islands.
This sunrise timelapse takes place somewhere along the Ko’olau Summit Trail, just above Sea Life Park and overlooking Makapu’u Beach. To get to this point Team Exploration: Hawaii hiked up the Makapu’u end of the Ko’olau Summit Trail at 5am in pitch dark and then reached this destination an hour later. We stopped at a lookout point just above Sea Life Park but before the puka that Marvin mentioned in this post. This is what we saw:
This timelapse is a bit more personal and interactive than my previous timelapse videos. You’ll notice us moving around throughout the video. Andy (red jacket and hat; lanky haole) makes his first video appearance on Exploration: Hawaii. You might remember him from the kayak adventure to Mokoli’i Island (Chinaman’s Hat). His dad was also visiting from Pennsylvania, so you’ll see Timbo, as Andy affectionately calls him, pop up in the video.
Marvin hasn’t stopped talking about this spot ever since he snapped this photo. And although I hate to admit it, I really enjoyed this location and the view. From this vantage point we had excellent views of Manana and Kaohikaipu Island, both of which are located just off of Makapu’u Beach. You can also see Makapu’u Point Lighthouse as well. Look closely in the video and you will see the lighthouse flickering.
The trek in was a bit more strenuous than I tend to like for early morning timelapse sessions (lugging around a full-size tripod is heavy business). However, when we finally reached the final lookout point and I had realized how beautiful the view was, my complaints vanished. Kudos, Marvin.
Explorers: Marvin Chandra, Andy Dewald, Coty Gonzales, Joel Sabugo, and Timbo.
Collecting sunset and sunrise timelapses throughout Oahu is a current (and recent) obsession of mine. However, in order to capture these spectacular sunrises requires me waking up during obscene times in the morning. Take for example my most recent sunrise timelapse to the Lanikai Pillboxes located atop Ka’iwa ridge in the beautiful and affluent town of Lanikai. If memory serves me correct, I woke up at around 3:30 am to get ready for the hike and then left my apartment at around 4:30 am.
The drive to Lanikai was a smooth one, which was expected considering that most normal people tend to be asleep at 4:30 am. I guess that makes me abnormal? Anything for a timelapse – I guess. It took us about 25 minutes to drive from Manoa to Lanikai (see below for driving directions). Once we reached the trailhead we quickly grabbed our bags, flashlights, and headlamps and made a dash for the first pillbox. Having scouted the area a few days earlier, Joel and I were familiar with the trail. Marvin, however, went into this one a bit blind – good thing he had a flashlight.
The trek up this particular trail is not bad at all. It’s a relatively quick 20 minutes to the first pillbox. The nice breeze and the sound of the ocean make the time go even faster. Once we reached the first pillbox, I promptly set up my tripod and GoPro HD and proceeded to capture still images. These morning hikes are appealing to me because they are very fast (I never choose hikes longer than 45 minutes when doing early morning sunrise timelapses). Once everything is set up, you sit and wait, and of course you enjoy the sunrise. The sunrise on this day was particular beautiful. It was a clear day. Even better, we had the first pillbox all to ourselves. Everyone seemed to crowd at the top of the second Pillbox.
Directions: You will take the H1 freeway and then take the Pali Highway (HI-61 N)exit. Continue on HI-61 N until you reach Kailua Road. Continue on Kailua Road and then continue on Kuulei Road. Turn right on Kalaheo Avenue. Continue on Kawailoa Road. You will drive past Kailua Beach Park and eventually you will pass a little statue on the left hand side that looks like a little stone lighthouse. At your first right on Alapapa Road you will turn right onto Kaelepulu Drive. You can park anywhere along that road. You should see the Mif-Pacific Golf Course to your right. The trailhead is located directly across from the entrance to the Mid-Pacific Country Club parking lot. You will see a sign indicating that you are at the Lanikai Pillbox Trail.
While Coty and Joel were creating a sunrise time lapse from the Makapu’u lighthouse trail (eastern most point on Oahu), I begin my 13 hour journey on the Ko’olau Summit Trail (KST) with the intention to walk all the way back to my house in Manoa after ending my summit stroll at Mt. Olympus.
Having previously done Mt. Olympus to Konahuanui, my trek today would have allowed me to finish the whole summit section between Makapu’u and K2, but a couple unexpected detours kept me short of my goal. First, I spent an hour waiting for and taking shots of the sunrise that I originally did not intend to do. Second, I got lost soon after the Kamiloiki junction and lost about an of hour of hiking time. But, in the end, I managed to cover a large portion of the KST and witnessed the best sunrise yet in my short time on the island.
Joel and Coty dropped me off at the Makapu’u scenic lookout point [directions] around 4:45 AM and I crossed the street to begin the ascend towards the KST. There are very few street and city lights in this part of the island so unless there is a full moon expect to be walking in almost complete darkness. Along with either a flashlight and/or headlamp, be sure to have extra batteries as well because it is nearly impossible to navigate without a personal light source.
The easiest way to find yourself on the KST from Makapu’u is to find the fence on the right side of the hill across the parking lot and follow it all the way to the top. Once the fence ends, head right towards the cliff and begin walking along the ridge. On the trail, you will eventually hear sounds of dolphins, indicating you are getting closer to Sea Life Park. I stopped once I got a good view of the park to take pictures of the sunrise.
Normally my bag is only 10 pounds but on this day I was carrying about 20 lbs total. With 4.5 liters of water, a gallon of Gatorade, 10 high protein Clif bars and other general items, I had to walk a slower than usual pace to get used to the higher weight. By the end, I only needed 6 of the Clif bars and about 3 liters of both water and Gatorade.
Makapu’u to Mariner’s
Most of my time was spent on the KST that connects to Mariner’s Ridge. Near Makapu’u, there is a famous puka where I managed to capture a more mature sunrise. As I continued, I found a small group of mountain goats! On my first trip to this side of the KST, I found many goat droppings but did not see any goats. I later found out that the best time to see them is earlier in the day and sure enough, here they were around 7:30 AM. I saw about a dozen in total with both young and adult goats running away whenever I got about 20 yards of them.
The KST is straightforward as long as you stay towards the edge of the ridge (just don’t fall off). If you attempt this summit hopping trip, you will have many places to bailout, but this side of the KST is mostly a straight line without many bailout points so you may have to simply walk back to the trail head if you want to end early. The first great view of the windward side you will encounter is when you reach the junction for the Kamiloiki trail.
Continue reading to see views from select summits encountered on the trail. Continue reading →
The Makapu’u Lighthouse trail offers some of the most breathtaking views that the island of Oahu has to offer. Located on the southern most part of the island, Makapu’u is home to the Makapu’u Lighthouse which was established in 1909. The paved trail is perfect for those looking for a quick not-to-strenuous hike and is especially well-suited for those with children. Having hiked Makapu’u multiple times in the past, I was looked to experience it in a different way. And what better way to enjoy Makapu’u than at sunrise?
I needed to wake up at around 3:00 am to give myself enough time to drive to Makapu’u and then complete the 30 minute hike up to the lighthouse lookout. Joel and I left at around 4:15 am and after a quick pit stop to pick up Marvin (he would split from us at Makapu’u and attempt a Makapu’u to Mount Olympus superhike) we set off towards Waimanalo. We reached Makapu’u at around 4:40 am and parked at the Makapu’u Lookout  and after preparing our flashlight, we bid farewell to Marvin as he set off on his superhike adventure.
With a single flashlight in hand, we walked the short distance on Kalanianaole Highway from the Lookout to the Makapu’u Lighthouse trailhead. I’m not going to lie, this experience was a bit creepy. It was pitch dark and there were hardly any cars on around (maybe three cars total passed us by as we walked on Kalanianaole Highway). And things did not improve once we were on the trail. Not only was it pitch dark but it was also devoid of any sound. All that could be heard were our footsteps and our breaths. I could not help but think about all of the people that have died at Makapu’u, including those who have taken their lives by jumping off the lookout and those who have been swept away by the tide pools. The experience made me feel uneasy and the entire hike up was chicken skin inducing. It was a good thing that I had someone walking alongside me.
Joel and I reached the top of the Makapu’u Lighthouse Lookout at around 5:20 am. I took a few moments to setup my tripod and GoPro. Once I had everything positioned, we both just sat there, talked story, ate our breakfast, and waited for the sun to rise. Eventually the sun did rise and it was awe-inspiring. Everything about this moment was beautiful . I soaked it all in.
Get on H1 and head east bound toward Koko Head Crater. Eventually, H1 will turn into Kalanianaole Highway (Hwy. 72). You will continue on Kalanianaole Highway past Hawaii Kai, Koko Head Crater, Hanauma Bay, and Sandy Beach until you reach a park on the right hand side with a sign indicating the Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline. Turn right into the park and park in the parking lot at the end. The Trailhead is just beyond the parking lot. If atemping to see the sunrise, the parking lot to Ka Iwi State Park will be closed until 7am, see  below.
1. The parking lot leading to the Makapu’u Lighthouse trailhead is chained off. The parking lot does not officially open until 7:00 am. We decided to park at the Makapu’u lookout point a few feet ahead. Park here at your own risk. Alternatively, many people simply park on the side of the road just after the gate leading to the trailhead.
2. The experience was only slightly ruined when 1. a man and his daughter came up to the lookout point blasting a portable radio just as the sun was rising, 2. a flock of tourists appeared and started yelling for no reason. To get away from these annoyances, I left my camera and tripod in place and climbed a large boulder far enough from these people and enjoyed the sunrise from there.