Last hike of 2013 – Manoa Falls

This last hike of 2013, was also our first true family hike. No section of Manoa Falls is paved; making the use of a stroller impossible. We did bring the Ergo (baby carrier) for the inevitable need.

First bridge

I did read a few posts about the hike before we headed out to find out we missed seeing President Obama at Manoa Falls on the 26th– that would’ve made for a memorable hike no doubt. There were also a couple cautionary statements repeated in the posts:

  • “Don’t forget the bug spray”. Yes, we forgot the bug spray, safely locked inside our car. I realized this, as you may have guessed, as I was scratching a bite on my leg. We all came home a little chewed.
  • “Wear sturdy shoes”. This is a misstatement. Wear shoes with traction, as the second half of the trail is muddy and slippery. Luckily it hasn’t rained in a few days, so it was only minimally muddy. There were several slips and slides, but no complete tumbles or scrapes. I should’ve purchased the half priced trail shoes on Amazon when I had the chance!

Gravel Part slipper part

The hike:

Breathtaking. This must be what the native Hawaiians experienced long ago. The scenery has an ancient feel, so much so, you’d not be surprised to see a dinosaur at any moment. And to think, just ten minutes ago, we were on a five lane freeway known as the H1.

tree arch Manoa Falls

The first half of the trail is gravel and they are slowly improving more of it. The second half is very slippery, as mentioned above. Navigating over mud covered roots and rocks. The falls were beautiful (not captured well in photos) and there were a few, tourists likely, swimming in the pool at the bottom.

Family Selfie

Family Selfie

Brendon hiked the entire way up and Vance carried John, despite heavy protests, only through the slipperiest section. There was no way I was putting him in the backpack at that point, wearing my minimalist non-trail shoes. There were many children on the trail, a couple tour groups and even a smattering of the older set.


Fortunately, we packed snacks and water; stopping once each way for the kiddos to refuel. Directly following this pit stop, Brendon eagerly jumped into the backpack, since John declined. You can imagine the looks we got going down. Our mini two year old running down the trail, loudly singing in gibberish, and the long limbed almost five year old on mom’s back.


Kukaniloko Birth Stones

This post is dedicated to Emily and her soon to arrive son, “Fox”.

Despite an insignificant mention in a tour book we received upon arrival on Oahu, I have been curious to see these birth stones in person. Maybe more so lately, reflecting on the Christmas Story, the births of my own boys, and the pending birth of Emily’s first boy.


We’ve passed by the site a couple times and even planned to stop once, but it was raining. Today on our road trip around the North Shore, I was finally able to get out for a visit. It was a little rainy and definitely off season for tourism; the site was nearly empty of people.

stone group1

You can read more details about the site here, but it is an ancient birthing ground for Hawaiian royalty. Before visiting, I thought there were maybe a handful of stones and was surprised to find so many (there are 80).  The stones are arranged with a view of distant mountains and still bear the markings of where women would have sat, laid or stood against the stones during and post labor.

sit stone2 shaped stones1

I know, this is going to come across a bit hippie maybe, but no less than my use of hypnobirthing to deliver my sons. I had a distinct sense of the ladies who had been here before and would highly recommend a visit to this site for any mother. My hubby could not understand why I wanted to visit and probably still has no idea, since he waited in the car with the boys. It’s not something I can put into words for him to understand. Childbirth is an amazing and exhausting experience, as is motherhood.

stone group crop

Best wishes for a safe and speedy delivery Emily!