When we arrived we discovered that the park has no formal welcome kiosk and few signs of maintenance. Instead the entryway was a sporting ground for 4x4 vehicles—and dust and revving engines replaced the sounds of the ocean. As far as I am concerned any activity that involves chewing up the nature you are going to experience is a far cry from an outdoor sport. Nonetheless, we loaded the kids into the stroller and went for it. The “road” was so rough we moved almost as quickly as the pickup trucks and left the vast majority of the vehicles behind once we got about a mile into the trip. Our friends had warned us that it would be hot there at this time of year and they were right.
|Our all-terrain vehicle|
As we slugged along Tag and I had no idea there was other slugging happening at the same time. We made the tactical error of letting the kids hold the camelback water backpack in their laps at the beginning of our journey. Attracted by the novelty of the bite valve on the spout they managed to nearly wipe out our entire day’s worth of water as they rode along in their chariot. We joked that Alice’s huggies stayed the most hydrated of all of us.
As you can tell there were parts of the trip that were not ideal. We underestimated the length of the hike by not estimating at all, so we packed snacks and no lunch. Based on the water scenario you can already guess who got first dibs on those. Tag and I did manage to each have a banana and a mandarin, but the rest went to our giggling rickshaw passengers who yelled for “snacks!” quite regularly. We also got a flat tire on the stroller that needed to be fixed in the moment.
|Well-prepared husband replacing tube with skill and speed. Check.|
Small boy inflating mouth with bike pump. Check.
Despite the challenges, we really enjoyed ourselves. The kids thought the ride over the rough terrain was a blast, and once we were beyond the truck zone they did a fair amount of hiking. Plus, the ultimate destination was worth the parental dessication. While we missed out on the albatross, we did see a couple of monk seals sunbathing on the edge of the world. It turns out that the last mile of the hike to the point is so protected (due to the nesting and pupping habitat) that you need to enter a double-gated fence designed to keep feral dogs and other predators away. From these pristine sand dunes you can see both sides of the island, and a wide, open ocean all around.
|Alice likes to pack the stroller with her rock treasures. Tag and I need to secretly dump her discoveries along the way.|
|Resting in the grass after some trail running|
|The last section of the trail|
|Resting monk seal. One of just 100 left on the main Hawaiian islands.|
|Keiki in the cage. |
We left them plenty of food and water and went out to a nice lunch filled with adult conversation.
We got back to the car around 2:00, and made a bee-line for the surf town, Haleiwa. Tag and I took the kids to the famous Matsumotos for shave ice, let them skip their naps with a huge sugar rush, and hit the road for home. With just a nine-dollar investment we became the best parents ever. And, damn, did that sweet ice taste good!