Alas, the final hours of our time in Hawaii arrived and we used every last second we had on the island.
For the first time over the last few days, Dunc woke up before me and spurred me out of bed at 5:45ish so we could go hike Koko Head Crater, or as one blogger calls it "The Stair Master" or "Switchbacks are for Wimps!" Our camera was charging, so we couldn't photograph our own success... but here is a look at what we were faced with.
Those "stairs" that run straight-up the side of a crater are old railroad ties and there are about 1,100 of them to the top. For my little legs that resulted in 1,100 lunges... awesome!!! This hike is actually really only famous among locals and everyone except us was from one Hawaiian island or another.
The lunges were hard, but in all honesty, worth it. And the descent was way more painful for my hip/knee injury combo* than the way up. Although the way up was TOUGH. Sweat Fest 2009 obviously returned, but we were so happy we got up early to do this and didn't attempt it in direct sunlight. If we move to O'ahu, you bet your boots that we will be joining the other dedicated locals who climb this beast once or twice a week. And the view... oh my... if we had our camera, you would have seen a view stretching all the way from Makapu'u to Diamond Head. Incredible.
*As for my injured body, the way down caused some pain that I was sure was going to get me in trouble with my PT. Lo and behold, my body can take more than I thought; when I met two days later with my PT, she was actually impressed with my maintained progress, increased flexibility and sustained balance. I was a bit tight in the knee and hip, but nothing a good beating from a PT can't fix! Healing rocks!
Anywho, after Koko, we headed back to pack, shower and eat. We were checked out and on the road again by 9am... headed to the SPITTING CAVE OF PORTLOCK.
The cliffs and cave referenced here are yet another location only really visited by locals. We had a mini-hike down to the cliffs, and it was gorgeous:
I definitely sensed my mortality as I stared down the cliff face at the beautiful, churning, deadly water.
And here is the "spitting" cave. We had trouble capturing the "spit" at just the right moment, but you can see some spray. Water rushes in the cave and when it is a big wave, makes a booming sound and the water comes spraying out. It was pretty awesome.
Yearning for another hike, because one just isn't enough for us... we headed for an easier climb out to the Makapu'u lighthouse.
Here we are at the top - a much easier slow incline over a mile and a quarter - after Koko Crater, we felt like we could run this. Behind us you can see Rabbit Island, the same Island hiding behind the dangerous waves of Makapu'u beach.
We enjoyed our lunch of leftovers atop Makapu'u and then headed out to find a jungle!
I am totally like Crysta from FernGully.
This was the "entrance" to the trail. Don't worry, we checked, we were allowed to crawl through the fence...
Eeeeee, soooooo cute. The one on the left was coming up when we arrived and totally opted to snuggle with the other turtle.
And that was all we had time for outside of Waikiki. We had to change, buy some souvenirs, pick up our bags and return the rental car. So we drove back to Waikiki, past the Dole plantation, and through a lot of red dirt farms.
At the airport we enjoyed some over-priced Kona Brewery beers, some Kalua pork nachos, and headed home.
In conclusion, we are moving to Hawaii.