Sunday, January 16, 2011

I (Heart) Waialua

All three (woohoo...I still have three readers!!) respondents said they'd like to see the I <3 Waialua photoessay. Don't know why I couldn't get the <3 in the title, but there ya go.

And really, this is more than just Waialua, 'cause some of the photos are from Haleiwa, too. But they're right next door to each other, easy biking distance, and when I think of Waialua, I can't really separate out Haleiwa in my mind.

I've lived in Waialua on and off since 2002, when I was stationed on USCGC WASHINGTON (WPB 1331) when she was still homeported in Honolulu. I bought my first house there and then sold my first house there. But I bought another one at the same time, and have owned it since 2005. I haven't lived there very much. I got my orders to USCGC HAMILTON (WHEC 715) five months after moving onto Ka'amo'oloa Rd. Which is a damn shame, because it's a really sweet little house, in a wonderful neighborhood. My mom lives there now, so I'm lucky enough to get to visit. Which is what I did for the last month.

This is the road into Waialua, Kaukonahua Rd, also known as Mountain Rd or Snake Rd, because, well, it comes down the mountain, and it's really windy. But I really love that first view you get of the town from the hill, with the ocean in the background. You can usually see from pretty far away what the ocean conditions are like, if it's flat calm or the waves are big or if it's windy white-cap crap.

This is Mt Ka'ala, which is the highest peak on Oahu, and part of the Waianae mountain range dividing the North Shore from the West side. Mt Ka'ala has many moods, sometimes with low-hanging clouds skirting her foothills, and other times crispy clear, like this one.

 And this is in the old cane fields right close to my house. The sugar cane mill shut down in 1989, I think (or was it 1986?), and now small scale, local farmers lease the land and grow diversified vegetables and fruits, mostly for sale to Chinatown. I don't know what the structure is in the picture, some sort of old chimney or something.

One day, riding my back from yoga class through the cane haul roads that weave through the area, I came across this sculpture. I have no *idea* who made it or why it's just sitting there behind the ruins of some cane equipment, but I love that it's there, guarded by stalwart Norfolk pines. It's kinda a good reminder to appreciate beauty wherever you see it, not just where you expect to find it.

Sticking with the current scenic theme, this is the view from the road up to Peacock Flats. Which, I guess technically is in Mokuleia, but heck, Waialua, Haleiwa, Mokuleia all blend together for me. Anyway, this is just past mile marker 2.5 I think. The first mile of the trail is pretty flat, and then the rest of the 3.5 mile trail is straight up the foothills of Mt Kaala. The views are beautiful; you can look west towards Kaena Point, or east (like this one) back towards Waialua and Haleiwa.

And then when you get to the top, there's a lovely clearing with picnic tables, and some camping spots. I've never camped up here, but people do. It must be so peaceful and quiet. The clearing is ringed by eucalyptus trees and Norfolk pines, and a conservation group is trying to reestablish some native species as well.
Once the hike up the mountain is done, though, it's time for the beach. This is at Aweoweo Park, or Cement City, and was one of my favorite places to run this last month. I could run the 3.25 miles there, do some push ups, pull ups and sit ups on the jungle gym, take a dip, rinse off, and then run home. And the water in the water fountain is really good. Except when I turned it on full blast and it shot straight up my nose. Phthwwaa.

But Aweoweo is not necessarily the nicest beach around. That would probably by Kaiaka Beach, which technically is in Haleiwa, if anyone's being picky.This is looking west towards Kaena Point. Just around the sandy point in the photo is where the Waialua River meets the ocean. When it rains lots and lots, the river dumps plenny chocolate water into the ocean.
Kaiaka is such a nice spot because, unlike lots of other beaches in the area, it has a nice sandy bottom, instead of coral or rock. The big waves break pretty far out on the outside reef, and usually just send in little ankle-slappers to shore. One main reason I <3 Waialua...this photo below was taken on New Year's Eve day. I love that any day can be a beach day!

And then there's the folks you share the beach with. Mom and I had gone to Kaiaka, just the two of us. So I had to ask the very handsome, in shape gentleman who was hanging out a couple of yards away to take our picture. Darn.

Back at the homestead, Mom found this little, itty-bitty gecko in her room. He's no more than an inch long, and about as thick as a dime. So very cute!

And can you see the two lizards in this photo? There's one each on the center and right-hand rock. There's a native shrub, pohinahina planted by the front steps, that I swear the lizards use as a condo, there's so many of them living in it. But they are very territorial, and I think these two were about to brawl.

And one more, where's the lizard? This one's a pretty good sized one, maybe 5 inches from tip to tail. You can see the yellow/white stripe running all the way down his back. Oh, and that's the pohinahina I just mentioned.
So where are all the people? I save the best for last! Our 'hood is fantabulous. Such wonderfully great people (not even gonna *mention* the exception), in such a beautiful location. This was New Year's Eve. Mom hosted a potluck down at her end of the street, under the driveway tarp. The Adams' brought down a bunch of fireworks and we had a go at them in the street. Our little branch of Ka'amo'oloa Rd is bordered on one side by the Pa'alakai neighborhood and on the other by larger, more homestead-like lots. Who all LOVE fireworks!! We could see full aerials going up in three different directions. So super cool! The noise and light show lasted until about 1 am.

 These last two photos are of the same place, different days. The first one is when Molly (center), Marissa (right) and I took a biking booze cruze through Haleiwa. Molly and I picked up Marissa at her house, then pedaled on the bike path to Haleiwa Joe's. We enjoyed some fruity umbrella drinks and some pupus there, then got on our bicycles and trundled off to Luibueno's. Molly had to bail on us to go pick up her husband at the airport, home from Iraq for R&R, but Marissa's friend Michelle joined up with us. Some drinks, chips and salsa at Luibueno's and then we were off to Cholo's. Enroute Cholo's, we passed Bonsai Sushi, and heard live music, so once we were done being treated like tourists at Cholo's, we ended the evening with sake and sushi at Bonzai. So yummy and fun. I learned how to check in to places on Facebook that evening :)

And then the evening I left, we stopped at Haleiwa Joe's again for pupus. In the photo are: my mom, Karen (sorry about the picture, Mom...I don't know if I caught you with your mouth full or what); my cousin Karen (Elizabeth) and her beau, George visiting from West Virginia; Uncle Terry and Auntie Jane; and Travis (who doesn't usually look that much like a vampire) and Marissa (who always takes a great photo!). Along with being my last night there, it was Uncle Terry's birthday. I heard some crazy number over 66 being thrown out there for his age, but I don't believe he's a day older than 55!
One last thing I <3 about Waialua, besides the scenery, the beach, the neighborhood and the people...I <3 the sunlight. It doesn't show up very well in this picture, but it's as close as I could come. I love the way the light falls through the foliage, the sharp edges of the palm fronds' shadows on the grass, and how the golden light accentuates the green leaves and the bright blue sky. It's so crisp and clear. It gives me hope and helps me to breathe.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Great tour of Waialua et al.