Ka'ena Point

By Kim Fethal and Scott Seabury

One of the best ways to get in touch with nature and see the beauty that nature offers us is to go hiking. There are many places on O'ahu to go hiking but Ka'ena Point Natural Reserve is an adventurous hike you won't forget.

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. Also making a home there are various types of marine life, birds, and even the elusive mongoose which was bought to Hawaii to control an ever growing rat infestation.

Safety is a very important factor in hiking and the hike to Ka'ena is one that should not be over looked. Be sure to bring enough water for those on the hike because nature has neither provided a water fountain nor rest- room facilities. Hikers might also want to bring some sunscreen along for the sun is unforgiving on the trail. Since there are no telephones, make sure that someone is equipped with a first aid kit and a cellular phone in case of some unforeseen accident. The trail is unpaved and at some points rocky so shoes are a recommendation. Just be careful and have fun.

There are two ways to access the point. To get there from Honolulu, take H1 west that will also lead to Farrington Highway ( route 930 ) and keep driving till you reach Keawa'ula better known as Yokohama Beach which was named after a railroad worker who switched tracks for the O'ahu Railway and Land Company ( Arrigoni 6 ).You can par your car at Yokohama Beach. For an even longer scenic drive you can also take H1 west from Honolulu then make a cut off to enter H2 north which will lead to Farrington Highway ( route 930 ) and you will drive through the old plantation town of Waialua, pass the starting points for the Mokuleia and Kealia trails and go to the end of Mokule'ia. You can park your car at Mokule'ia. From either way it is inadvisable to drive past the macadamized road due to its rough terrain ( Arrigoni 4 ). After parking, from either direction the rest of the way you would proceed on foot. The hike is approximately three miles to the point's light house which ever way you came from.

During the months from November to May you might be able to see the spouts and an occasional breach from Hump Back Whales offshore. Along with the various marine life at Ka'ena it is also a sanctuary for the Wedgetailed Shearwater, Red-footed Booby, Laysan Albatross, and the Iwa or great frigate bird. Mynah birds, Cardinals, and several types of doves also nest on the point (Arrogin 139 ).

Ka'ena Point was said to be named for a brother or sister of Pele ( Pukui 61 ). The point is also known as Leina a Ka'uhane which means the "Leaping place of the souls." The myth is that the Hawaiians believed that the souls of the dead leaped into the next plain of existence from Ka'ena Point.

While walking through the dry beautiful setting you can smell the salty ocean water and feel the breeze with the touch of moisture. The hike to Ka'ena Point is not an overly strenuous one but the sun can take a toll on even the most healthiest of hikers. The tidal pools offer some refuge as well as a good place to see the fishes of Hawaii. The manini or convict tang were a food source for the native Hawaiians and are abundant. Sharks and rays are also abundant and are sometimes seen frequenting these tidal pools. The trail also sports haole koa trees, ma'o or Hawaiian cotton, naupaka-kai, ohai and even the blue flowered pa'u o Hi'iaka ( Jacquemontia sandwicensis ) ( Arrogoni ).

Since 1983 Ka'ena Point has been adopted as a natural reserve and most of the plants and animals are protected. It has been closed off the recreational vehicles due to the uprooting of some of the endemic plant population in the late seventies.

At Ka'ena Point there is also a Coast guard observation tower. If you climb the ladder to the top of the tower you can see incoming waves from both sides of the point which is really neat. When you watch the beautiful sun set over the horizon you will be able to see the green flash that occurs for a few moments which would make a good photograph (Pager 119 ).

The beauty of Ka'ena Point always attracts people there. We are sure hikers will have an unforgettable time on their Ka'ena Point expedition. We know you would like to visit other places on Oahu but, don't pass up the best offshore hiking on the island.

Works Cited

Arrigoni, Edward. A nature walk to Ka'ena Point. Honolulu: Topgallant,
Pager, Sean. Hawaii of the Beaten Path. 2nd ed. Connecticut: Globe Pequot,
     1995. 119.
Pukui, Mary Kawena, Samuel H Elbert and Esther T Mookine. Places 
     Names of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii. 1974. 61.

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