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10 May 2015 – Sherrie decided that what she wanted most on Mother’s day was to hike.  After long deliberation on which hike, plus trying fruitlessly to find a hike we had taken years ago, we took the suggestion of several bloggers and decided on Waimano trails.

It is easy enough to get there (only 30 minutes from our location): exit to Pearlridge off the H1 and stay on Waimano Home Road until it ends.  Driving through the suburb to the trailhead made us think twice about whether we were in the right place.  But, at the end of the road there was a small parking area and a trailhead sign.

There are two trails: the upper and lower.  The upper trail is a 14 mile hike along the Wai’anae Range with the Waimano valley below.  The lower trail is a 1.5 mile hike along the Waimanu river in the valley below and connects with the upper trail.

Waimano trailhead

Isabella, Lucas, and Aurelia at the end of the hike and the Waimano trailhead

We began on the upper trail which is starts gaining elevation slightly and then stays relatively flat.  It is very well maintained.  It travels along the side of the valley ridge with great views of the valley below.  The trail is wide enough for easy travel with a few rock bridges where the water clearly keeps trail maintenance challenging and one hill scramble with a rope to assist.

Waimano Valley from upper trail

Waimano Valley from upper trail

One of the coolest aspects of the trail, especially for children are the various caves along the route.  There are twelve total but we only went far enough to see the first five.  The caves are fairly short and indicative of the history of the trail – as a previous water system bringing water down from the mountains to the coast.  With the help of the flashlight on Sherrie’s phone the kids got to experience some Hawaiian jungle caves like Indiana Jones 🙂

Lucas, Aurelia, and Isabella acting the explorer about to enter a Waimano water cave

Lucas, Aurelia, and Isabella acting the explorer about to enter a Waimano water cave

Isabella, Lucas, and Aurelia explore the Waimano water caves

Isabella, Lucas, and Aurelia explore the Waimano water caves

One of the most interesting aspects of the trail is exploring the flora and fauna in the ecosystem.  Sherrie was the first to identify wild Brazilian peppercorns which when smashed smelled wonderfully peppery – I know, surprising!  The trees also made the trail much more interesting with their vines and branches everywhere.

Wild Brazilian peppercorns along the Waimano upper trail

Wild Brazilian peppercorns along the Waimano upper trail

Heading through a tunnel made by the trees

Heading through a tunnel made by the trees

Lucas and Aurelia hanging off a root in the Waimano water caves

Lucas and Aurelia hanging off a root in the Waimano water caves

The kids just couldn’t help playing Tarzan –  kindly assisted by these vines.

Lucas playing Tarzan on a hanging vine

Lucas playing Tarzan on a hanging vine

Isabella playing Tarzan on vines along the Waimano upper trail

Isabella playing Tarzan on vines along the Waimano upper trail

After a couple of miles we turned around and headed back but decided to detour down to the lower valley trail.  Of course, heading down in to a valley in Hawaii only means one thing – mud.  After a slippery decent of maybe 2500 feet to the valley floor – we learned Aurelia loves slipping (maybe it was only because she has to fall a foot to her bum) and that Sherrie will not hesitate to take Isabella down with her :0)

The lower valley floor was equally interesting with different plants and very loud birds along with wonderful views of the Waimano valley river.

Waimano Valley River along the lower trail

Waimano Valley River along the lower trail

Aurelia and Lucas cool off and wash off the mud on their feet in the Waimano Valley River

Aurelia and Lucas cool off and wash off the mud on their feet in the Waimano Valley River

After four hours of hiking we headed back up out of the valley, maybe 1500 feet or so, and felt wonderfully exhausted at the end.  We love hiking in Hawaii and can’t wait to do it again!

Sherrie, Giuliana, Isabella, Aurelia, and Lucas head up out of the Waimano Valley

Sherrie, Giuliana, Isabella, Aurelia, and Lucas head up out of the Waimano Valley

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