Hiking Hauʻula Loop Trail
When I want a simple, no fuss hike I set out for the yonder of Hauʻula. Starting off on a paved road, I duck into the undergrowth at the marked Hauʻula Loop trailhead on my right, cross over a dry streambed and then I get to the hardest part of the adventure: The juncture. This is where the loop begins. Do I go right or do I go left?
I randomly opt for a clockwise route and head lightly uphill through an ironwood grove and under a mangled tunnel of hau bushes. A couple who ran past me at the trailhead comes jaunting past me once again as I reach the ridgeline. An open grassy area greets me, as do blue-skied views that extend to the ocean. Behind me the Koʻolau peaks are threatened by rainclouds.
I pass another grassy area where a family sits picnicking, clapping and cheering as a woman in jogging wear holds up a treat. Her pup, Bentley, kicks into cute gear on command, lifting onto his back legs, diligently begging for his promised cookie.
Shouts from farther up the trail lead me to an eroded hill. At the top, a group of college students wail in unison — they’re attempting to crack notoriously stubborn, round-shelled macadamia nuts with a rock. Instead, the thrust of the rock only serves to catapult the unyielding shell into the air and send it bouncing down the hill, forever out of reach.
“Is the view from up there nice?” I query.
“Yes,” they reply vigorously.
And with that, I attempt to amble up the slippery slope, but I’m sliding more than climbing against the gravely crumble of red dirt. I do reach the top and the “Ah, this is Hawaii” view pays off — my own spirit-soothing “doggy treat” for the day.
To complete the rest of the loop, I skid down the slope and continue along some manmade steps, moving on through more ironwood where needles layer the shrubs and ground with a “snowy” blanket, giving the place a quiet, magical-forest feel. Then comes an enchanting grove of Captain Cook Pines — all those knobby trunks lined up side by side, standing proudly at attention, their evergreen Christmas Tree caps shading the path.
Just ahead, a small stream trickles through my path, giving me pause. The water glides over a small rock cliff and gathers at its base in a reflection pool. The trees and sky see their image in that puddle and for a moment my little natural universe is perfect and complete. A few steps later, so is my hike.
TRAIL: Hauʻula Loop Trail
LENGTH: 2.5-mile loop
HOW TO GET THERE: From Waikiki, get on H-1 going West. Take the Pali Highway exit and continue along the highway toward Kaneohe. Turn left at Kamehameha Highway and drive along the shore for some distance until you arrive at Hauʻula Beach Park. Turn left at Hauʻula Congregational Church onto Hauʻula Homestead Road. Park in the neighborhood and continue on foot as the road becomes Maʻakua Road. The marked trail is farther ahead on the right.
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