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:
All posts tagged Sunset
This is Instagram Hawaii Spotting: Volume 4. 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. These are a few photos that I Instagrammed during the first month of 2013. Enjoy!
Follow me on Instagram. Hashtag your Hawaii adventures with #explorationhawaii hashtag and maybe we’ll add your photo in Volume 5!
Having spent most of the first day of 2013 cleaning house, Michelle and I were itching to get out and do something. We decided to try and catch the sunset from Keawaula Beach (Yokohama Bay). Sunset hunting would be our first adventure ouf 2013.
We started our drive toward Waianae at around 4:30pm. The sun was scheduled to set at 6:01pm. We drove past Nanakuli, Maile, and Waianae. We noticed a crowd of people at Makaha Beach, but continued to drive forward. Past Kea’au, Ohikilolo, and Kaneana Cave. At this point, the rain really began to fall. We decided to turn around and head back toward Maile.
We stopped first at Makaha Beach, but it was way too crowded with surfers and onlookers. All we wanted was the sunset. We decided to jump back into our car and drive toward Maile. Then, we found a random beach that was quiet and empty. We parked next to a big truck. Sitting inside was a son on his mother’s lap, watching dad surf a few feet away. Michelle and I rushed to the rocky beach and proceeded to snap away. The first sunset of 2013 was indeed beautiful. Let’s hope that the rest of the year is just as stunning.
Joel, Coty and I went to the western most point of Oahu, Kaena Point, a couple months back using the southern route from the leeward side. I recently went back there with Oahu Hikers and Adventurers (OHA) from the north side (waialua) to check out the seals and albatrosses and also to see if whales and dolphins were now in the scene.
The walk from the north side is as easy as the one from the south side. Here are the directions directly from OHA’s meetup details:
From Honolulu: 1. Take the Interstate H1 W/HI-61 N/Lunalilo Fwy/Pali Hwy ramp 0.2 mi 2. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Interstate H1 W and merge onto I-H-1 W/Lunalilo Fwy 2.2 mi 3. Slight right at I-H-201 W 4.0 mi 4. Take the Interstate H1 W exit toward Pearl City 0.6 mi 5. Merge onto I-H-1 W 4.2 mi 6. Slight right at I-H-2 N 7.8 mi 7. The H-2 will end you will continue ahead as it will turn into Farrington Hwy /State Hwy 930 8. At the traffic circle, continue around to the other side and continue strait as if the circle wasnt there 9. Continue onto Farrington Hwy/State Hwy 930 Destination will be on the at the very end of the road dirt parking lot on the right 6.5 mi Kaena Point State Park, Waialua, Hawaii 96791, 96791 Located on the isolated northwestern tip of O’ahu, Ka’ena Point Natural Reserve houses many endemic as well as indigenous plants and flora found in the state of Hawaii.
From the parking lot, it will be a 60-90 minute walk to Kaena Point. It will be on even, but unpaved, road the whole way. Wear shoes that you would be comfortable in stepping over odd shaped rocks.
While Marvin spent the first day of 2012 just a few clouds away from Heaven, I decided to spend it at arguably the most famous surfing beach in the world, Waimea Bay. Located in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu, Waimea Bay is known as a world class surfing spot and the backdrop for the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, or, as it is affectionately know, The Eddie. The Eddie is currently being held this year, waves cooperating, until February 29, 2011 (the event started on December 1, 2011).
Eddie Aikau was a well-known surfer and lifeguard from Kahului, Hawaii. He is remembered for his courageousness as a crew member of the Hokule’a, a double-hulled replica of a Hawaiian voyaging canoe. In 1978, the Hokule’a set out on a 30 day voyage to follow an ancient Polynesian route of migration. Approximately 12 miles form Molokai, the Hokule’a capsized. Eddie Aikau took it upon himself to paddle on his surfboard to neighboring Lanai. He was never seen again. It is because of this selfless act that many locals feature a bumper sticker on their vehicles reading “EDDIE WOULD GO.” Waimea Bay was chosen as the spot for The Eddie because it had been the beach where Aikau had worked as a lifeguard. Not a single life was lost during Aikau’s tenure as a lifeguard at Waimea Bay.
With The Eddie on my mind and the spirit of Eddie Aikau in the air, I found a warm solace in taking in the first day of the New Year at Waimea Bay. With two of my closest friends by my side, a bag of Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos, and a cooler stocked with ice cold drinks, we watched as the sun set over the Waianae Mountain Range. I’m a sucker for sunsets. We only experience a finite amount of sunsets during out lifetime, most of which we do not even see. This sunset was an important one. This sunset marked, in many ways, the major changes that will take place in my life in 2012. The sunset was spectacular, let’s hope the new year will be as well.
Explorers: Coty Gonzales, Joel Sabugo, Ryan Salvador.
The winter season is a favorite time of the year for Hawaii surfers, mainly because of the waves that the winter swells bring. However, if instead you are looking for idyllic and calm “beach” experience then look no further than the Ko Olina Lagoons located at the ritzy J.W. Marriott Ihilani. These mini beaches are actually four man-made lagoons (Hanu, Naia, Kolola, and Ulua). The rock walls surrounding the lagoons keep the waves from venturing in and therefore you’re left with a relaxed water experience. It’s like swimming in an open ocean pool – it’s chill, very chill.
After a recent stop at Kaena Point, Joel, Mark, and I decided to visit Ulua (Lagoon 4) at Ko Olina. The lagoons are located about 20-30 minutes (by car) from Yokohama Beach (where you’d park if you were to visit Kaena Point via the Waianae side). We arrived at the lagoon at around 5:00 pm and it was not crowded at all. I guess all of the tourist flocked to Waikiki.
Although located on a private resort, the lagoons are free to visit and open to the public. When driving to the resort you’ll need to drive past a guard shack. Simply let the guard know that you are headed to the lagoons. Do note that the lagoons do get busy during the weekends, so plan to go early during those times to score parking. The guard will turn you away if there is no parking available at the lagoons. Since it’s a private resort, you can expect a full range of services and amenities like clean restrooms, lifeguards, and concession stands.
Before we jumped into the lagoons, we sat on the warm sand and enjoyed our Spam musubis, fried chicken, and hash from my favorite okazuya  on the island, Gulick Deli in Kalihi. The sun began to set a few moments later. This is what we saw.
Explorers: Mark DeBlois, Coty Gonzales, and Joel Sabugo.
Watching the sunset on a beach in Hawaii is great. Watching the sunset in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Israel Kamakawiwaole playing in the background and a drink in hand is even better. The Welakahao Outrigger Catamaran [Update 12/1/2011: the catamaran was recently renamed the Waikiki Rigger]. offers just that and I got to experience this sunset cruise this past Sunday with Michelle.
The catamaran sets sail off of the beach fronting the Halekulani in Waikiki, the heart of the tourism industry in Hawaii. Although the catamaran is named the Welakahao Outrigger Catamaran, it is no way affiliated with the Outrigger Reef Hotel. However, when we asked about parking the representative from the catamaran mentioned that the cheapest option would be to valet park at the Outrigger Reef Hotel (conveniently located next to the Halekulani) and then by a drink before or after at the Shore Bird Bar & Restaurant at the Outrigger. Valet parking at the Outrigger is $5 with validation. With that in mind, we arrived at the outrigger at around 4:30pm, valet parked, and then made our way to the beach. On our way there, Michelle stopped at one of the lobby shops to pick up a bottle of sunscreen. You want to know how outrageous the prices can be in Waikiki? How’s this for outrageous: suncsreen priced at $17. We both had a laugh at the price (she ending up buying it) but we figured that $17 was worth the price for peace of mind. The moral of the story is to always remember to bring sunscreen!
As soon as we reached the beach we noticed the Welakahao sailing back to shore. While waiting, I snapped a few shots of the catamaran and Diamond Head. Speaking of Diamond Head, the view of the crater from this point of the beach is unmatched. It took a few minutes for the passengers to depart the catamaran. The crew then took a few minutes to prepare the catamaran and restock the bar. We started to board the Welakahao at around 5:15pm. A photographer was there to take photos of each group in front of the Catamaran with Diamond Head in the background. Passengers are then loaded to the front of the catamaran. There are seats toward the back of the catamaran but you can’t sit there until the catamran reaches the open ocean. The reason is that toward the shore there are a lot of coral reef (which are living organisms) and the back of the boat extends deeper into the ocean then the front half. And so with everyone initially sitting on the front, the catamaran is a bit tilted and therefore avoids damaging any coral reefs.
Once the Welakahao sets sail, the crew makes a few announcements and then the fun begins. The drinks begin to flow immediately and the best part is that all drinks are free. The bar offers both alcoholic and no-alcoholic drinks and yes, even the alcoholic drinks are free. The ship also serves the “Rigger” which is a mixed drink made with POG (passion orange guava) and oh my goodness is it delicious. You can also purchase an Outrigger Catamaran tumblr which you can bring on future catamaran trips.
From the Halekulani, the Welakahao sails toward the iconic Diamond Head Crater. You get beautiful views of the crater from an angle that most people do not get to see. Also in view is the Diamond Head Lighthouse, which is located on a steep cliff on the south side of the crater. Looking to Diamond Head, you can also see the bunker at the top of the lookout point as well as another bunker to the right of the Lighthouse. With the sun about to set, the catamaran made a U-Turn back toward the Halekulani. Within a few moments, the sun was setting. It was a gorgeous site.
I was actually really impressed with this Catamaran ride. The trip lasted an hour and half, though I wish we could have been out there longer. The drinks were tasty and they kept on flowing (maybe that’s why this cruise is nicknamed the “booze cruise.” The music matched with the scenery was perfect. If you’re a tourist visiting Hawaii, the Welakaheo Outrigger Catamaran is a must do experience. If you’re a local, and you don’t mind mingling with other tourists then you’ll enjoy this fun sail.
Welakaeho Outrigger Catamaran Tips:
- The Outrigger Catamaran does not officially offer parking. The cheapest option for parking will be to valet park at the Outrigger Reed Hotel (next to the Halekulani) then grab a quick drink at the Shore Bird in the hotel. The cheapest drink is a $3.50 beer. Once you’ve got your beer, don’t forget to have your parking ticket validated. The validation is good for 4 hours.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen.
- The Outrigger Tumblr costs $5 but if you plan to do the sail again in the future then remember to bring your Tumblr and you’ll have drinks as soon as you board the Welakahao.
- You’ll be on the beach so the use of slippers (or flip-flops as you strange mainlanders like to say) is a must.
- Drinks are free so the Catamaran might make for a very good “planned” Happy Hour session with a bunch of good friends.
- You can purchase tickets online for $40.84 per person. However, if you’re doing this last minute then take your chances and show up on the beach at around 4:30pm. The staff will let you know whether or not spots opened up. A friend of mine did this and she told me that 90% of the time they have space for you (that’s what the staff told her).
Explorers: Coty Gonzales and Michelle Sagucio.
In our quest to fully explore Koko Head Crater, we decided to ascend the mauka side of the crater rim. Mauka refers to an area toward the mountain, while makai refers to an area toward the ocean. If you remember, a few weeks ago Marvin and I did the makai side of the crater rim (see accompanying video). We started that off by trekking up the Koko Head stairs trail and the descending down the makai side of the crater. It was a fun trail, with a few intense sections (narrow ridges) at the initial descent. The rest of that trail was pretty much a piece of cake.
The mauka side of the Koko Head crater rim is a different beast.
First of all, you will need to trespass in order to access the trail head. And speaking of the trail head, it’s more of a makeshift trail head. We actually parked across the street of the crater in a residential area (see directions below) and then hopped over a fence into the perimeter of the Koko Head botanical gardens. From there, you basically work your way up towards the crater. There are no ribbons, and the trail toward the crater isn’t really defined. Eventually, you will hit the lower portion of the mauka rim. Once you’re there, work your way up towards the crater lookout.
Earlier I mentioned that the mauka side is a different beast from the makai side. It really is. You’ll encounter not just narrow ridges but also sections of the trail that will involve some free climbing. See the video and photos below for some examples.
I have to say that I had a great time doing the mauka rim trail. The narrow sections and rock climbing made my heart pound while the sunset added that extra thrill of trying to finish before it became too dark. Speaking of the sunset, it made the entire trail that much more beautiful.
Koko Head Crater – Mauka Side Rim Trail Tips:
- Start either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. There’s no shade so this trail will get hot. The experience will be better if you go when it’s cool.
- You’ll encounter a lot of dry bush and cacti on the trail and because of this I suggest wearing a pair of long pants. I didn’t and therefore suffered a few scratches and cuts to my legs.
- Allot yourself about 1.5 hours to do this trail. It will take about 30 minutes to get from your car and then work your way through the bushes towards the start of the crater rim trail. From there, it should take about an hour to reach the lookout point at the top of Koko Head Crater.
- It would be useful to bring two cars, if not then you’ll end up walking some distance. If you want to go up the mauka side and then go down the stairs then I would suggest having someone park in the resident area for the trail head and then have someone else park at the bottom of the Koko Head Crater stairs. Alternatively, you can have the second car park at Sandy Beach if you decide to do the entire crater rim and go down the makai side. Or, to make this trail even more challenging, you can go down the same you went up. I’ve read that going down the mauka side is more difficult than going up it.
- If you do decide to use just one car and decide to park in the residential then you will have to do some trespassing. Continue reading below below for more information.
The original plan was for us to do the entire crater rim – up mauka side and then down makai side. We ended up hitting the trail a bit later than expected and by the time we made it to the lookout the sun had pretty much set. So going down the other side of the rim was out of the question. Instead, we decided to go down the stairs and then walk back to the car located in Hawaii Kai Drive. And this is where things went from fun to sort of thrilling.
Going down the stairs was, by all accounts, standard fare. Except we did it in pitch dark. To help us make our way down we used both flashlights and headlamps. When we finally reached the bottom, we found ourselves in a slight dillema. The walk back to the car was pretty far. In fact, it would be a total of 2.5 miles from Koko Head District Park to Kekaa Street off of Hawaii Kai Drive (where we parked). Armed with the Maps app on my iPhone, we forged our own route that basically cut through Kaiser High School. To do this, you would theoretically (I say theoretically because, of course, we didn’t trespass and of course we turned around and walked back to the designated public route) need to follow the road to the right (rather than left) once you reach he bottom of the stairs. Follow the path far enough and you will reach the end of the paved road leading to a dirt path. This dirt path will lead you to a ditch located in the back of residential housing. From there, we theoretically followed the ditch until we theoretically reached a farm that was not gated, and one that we could cut through. We later found out that the farm was actually Otsuji Farms. Cut through the farm and you will reach a public road that theoretically led us to Kaiser High School. Sweet. We then theoretically cut through Kaiser High School and then theoretically found ourselves back on Lunalilo Home Road had we done this. It was a long walk to Hawaii Kai Drive, but the theoretical short cut made it a bit easier to tolerate. It was a mini adventure within an adventure.
Directions: To start on the Mauka side of Koko Crater, we parked on Kekaa Street. From Lunalilo Home Road, you will turn right onto Hawaii Kai Drive. Follow Hawaii Kai Drive and then you will turn left into Mokuhana Street and then make quick right on Kekaa Street. We parked along this street. Remember, this is a residential area so try and be as quiet and discreet as possible. Also, remember to park at least 5 feet from any driveways or your car may get towed.
I’ve been having so much fun playing around with my GoPro HD Helmet HERO Camera! I love it because it’s so simple and so compact. Here’s a quick little timelapse of the sun setting over Koko Head. Actually, the sun was pretty much down but not completely, so I was able get photos of some beautiful color shifts into the evening. To do this, I hiked the Mauka Rim of the crater for the first time, but that’s a different post and an entirely different story all together. Enjoy the video and let me know what you think.
Music: Houdini by Foster The People