Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail, Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii

May 8, 2014 Categories Hiking, Trails, Travel, USA

20140508-020_FotorKuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail is in my list of Top 3 hikes in Hawaii. For me, nothing beats Koko Head, but if I’m out for a little bit of a longer hike with a good workout and great views, Kuli’ou’ou Ridge is it. My other favorite hike is the Lanikai Pillbox Trail.

For the first 10 or 15 minutes of the trail, depending on your pace, you are actually walking on two different trails – the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail and the less popular Kuli’ou’ou Valley Trail. Then the trails split off; the ridge goes up to the right and the valley goes down to the left. I have walked both trails, but definitely prefer the ridge side.

The valley trail is nice, but the trail is poorly marked and can be confusing. There were several times I wasn’t sure if the trail was over or not because it took awhile to find the next marking, which was sometimes up and around the other side of a large boulder and impossible to see. I still recommend checking out the valley side, just to know what it’s like, but the ridge side is a lot more beautiful.

There are several roots along the trail going up the ridge side, which has around a 2,000 ft elevation. The trail winds back and forth up the mountain with several hairpin turns and gorgeous wooded scenery everywhere.

My favorite section of the trail is when you first enter the area of the pine needle blanket completely covering everything you see. It is absolutely gorgeous and just feels so surreal. This section of trail goes on for some time, but eventually it flattens out to a wide open area that makes you want to have a picnic.

Eventually you will ascend a couple, steep, heavily rooted areas that can be a little slippery if it’s wet out. The roots are a good sign, as you should be almost 2/3 of the way done once you get passed them. The first rooted area isn’t that bad, but the second one is significantly more steep and longer. Don’t worry, soon after these sections there is a bench you can stop and rest at and enjoy a little view of the valley down below before you push on to the ridge.

The ridge section begins with a nice, decently inclined path that soon turns into staircase after staircase of up, up, and more up. I tried counting them once, and got to about 384 but I messed up at the end so it could be plus or minus about 15 stairs.

Once you climb the last staircase and get a peek of the view, you’ll know the entire hike was worth it. From the top of Kuli’ou’ou Ridge, you can see a good portion of the eastern shoreline – including all the way out to the Lanikai Pillboxes and Olomana Trail (Three peaks).

Difficulty: Moderate.

Elevation: 2,000 ft

Length of hike: The trail is about 5 miles in length, round-trip. It takes about 3 hours to complete.

Best time to go: Any time of day is fine. The trail is shaded for almost the entire time.

Worst time to go: There isn’t really one, but some sections are pretty slippery if it has just rained.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

May 25, 2009 Categories Travel, USA

As an American, there are certain things I feel you just have to see in your lifetime. One of those things is Mount Rushmore, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This memorial is just amazing. There is so much detail and precision that it’s hard to believe that it was carved using dynamite! I also like that they just left all the exploded granite sitting at the bottom of the monument, giving you an idea of how much rock had to be removed to carve the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

May 23, 2009 Categories Travel, USA

Multnomah Falls is a waterfall located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. This beast has a total height of 620 feet. It’s first drop is 542 feet, followed by a second drop of 69 feet. It’s a mighty impressive view and even has a bridge you can walk across to proclaim yourself king of the world!

Moki Dugway (Hwy 261), Utah

May 16, 2009 Categories Road Trips, Travel, USA

The Moki Dugway is an unpaved, 3 mile long, steeply graded switchback road that traverses up the side of Cedar Mesa in Utah. It’s part of Highway 261, which is a paved road, however this 3 mile section of road is just gravel. It was built in 1958 by a mining company to transport uranium! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any super powers by driving on it, but with an elevation of 6,425 ft at the top, you are able to get a wide view into the Valley of the Gods.

Did I mention that it’s narrow? And has no guard rails to stop you from going over the edge? It gets pretty freaky being on the edge side when a larger vehicle is coming at you. This is a cool road with some awesome views. It’s one of the many things I loved about Utah.

Hwy 82, New Mexico

May 15, 2009 Categories Road Trips, Travel, USA

Driving along on Highway 82 in New Mexico was one of my favorite days during my 2009 “Wild, Wild West” road trip. A storm was forming and the road was directly on the edge of it, giving us sunshine on one side of the car and rain drops on the other. It was so beautiful, I had to stop and take pictures. We ate lunch, resting against the car and staring out at the vast and barren beauty that is New Mexico.

White Sands, New Mexico

Categories Travel, USA

White Sands, New Mexico is probably one of the biggest sand boxes (cat toilets) you’ll ever play in. With 275 miles of gypsum sand, this is one of the coolest deserts there is – literally and figuratively. It’s cool to look at and cool to the touch because the gypsum sand doesn’t convert the sun’s energy into heat like quartz-based sand does. So that means you can not only walk on it barefoot, but if you’re an idiot like me, you can also make a sand angel (and yes, it’s as bad of an idea as it sounds).