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So…I’ve been to Hawaii

I am a beach lover. A  California girl who lives far away from the beach now… I jump at any chance I get to stick my feet in the sand.  When one of sons moved to Hawaii for work – I started plotting and planning my getaway.

Off I went.

The most stunning view of the world I have seen is that from the world war two observation bunker on a jagged ridge top high above the sleepy beach town of Kailua, Hawaii.  The view out towards the 2500 miles of open ocean between Hawaii and California was in stark contrast to the graffiti covered cement bunker used in 1943 to watch the coast line.

It’s called the Pill Box Hike.   It was free !!  Just park your car and follow the signs or ask a local how to get there.  The hike is a couple blocks up from Lanikai Beach.  This hike was definitely one of the best things to do while in Hawaii.

It was a short but grueling hike. Well worn but narrow pathways winding through the jungle and over ancient rocks were challenging at best – well worth the effort.

hawaii kids and bunker

hawaii view

I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting my son and his little family as they welcomed a new baby into the world.  The perfect excuse for a vacation to a faraway paradise.

Okay it rained every day but one.

It didn’t matter.  The rain was glorious and mystic and it didn’t deter us from planning the local hike.  You can see the bunkers high on the ridge below but I was not prepared for the steep and muddy hike.  I was not going to stop. I was not going to turn back… I had to stop often to catch my breath and check my path… but I was going to the top with my grand-daughters. I won’t be out-done or left behind. ( I am so competitive) I want those girls to have something to talk about in 40 more years… “say, remember when GG came and we hiked…”

The bunkers were only used as observation posts – not artillery.. which when I was hiking that jagged trail, I was imaging how did the army get those howitzers up this hill? Turns out-  it didn’t happen- but none the less – impressive accomplishment considering how the military had to get the cement and tools up the hill.
The view is spectacular and ominous at the same time… Where the grey meets the sea.
From the top, the sea winds whip through your hair with all most gale force winds, warm and thick with water. The island grasses sway like a native dance, intoxicating in its simplicity.  Wild island cactus growing in the worn island rocks at the top thriving in stark contrast to the tropical jungle…  yes, cactus in Hawaii.
The hike for me was grueling, while I watched the granddaughters leap from rock to rock with little or no effort… aaaah, the joy of youth.  I was practically crawling on my hand and knees up the trail , grabbing tree limbs and bushes to help myself up the a step or two.  Meanwhile other hikers would zip by us anxious to get to the top… Patience is a virtue as well as fruit leather and a bottle of water in your pack.   Sugar – give me some sugar!
I could feel my heart pounding as I climbed higher and higher, pushing my body past what it was used to… and at the same time, distracted by the unspeakable majesty of the jungle -esque mountains rising up from the sea… I could see forever into the Pacific.  There was no end in sight.  I contemplated my world view and philosophy of life while avoiding the side of the cliff at the same time.  How can this be so beautiful?  How can we leave our mark so the world will know we have been here… and there it was ” Kilroy was here” spray painted on tot the side of the old relics.
Do folks today even know the history of Kilroy anymore?
The intrusion of hikers into the quiet of this space was a distraction to it’s perfection. People in their aggressive, sweaty noisy way, traipsing up a cliff to add graffiti to the 75 year old cement bunker- chug a beer before the head down.  A leftover relic of an angrier time.  I thought of my Dad and this fracture of an idilyic childhood shattered by war… Off he went, 18 years old – he saw his own share of bunkers in Europe – they remained unspoken by him. But we knew.
Never forget is what I thought… never forget.  The grand-daughters were asking lots of questions about why and how and what for… too young to understand the magnitude of the threat… not to young to understand it was important for good guys to fight back. to protect America, to defend her people, to defend Hawaii – to honor those lost. To protect the island. To guard against danger for the people who peaceably lived there… with flowers in their hair.  A somber moment.
Would I have a heart attack before I got to the top?  Could I still breathe?  Would my knees make it?  Fight on… my whisperer said to me… I did. It was worth it. I thought how grateful I was for the attention and care my son and the girls gave to me on the way and the way down…  ” You okay Mom” ?  Yep – I can do it.
Okay so its just a little hike up a mountain in Hawaii… not world war 2.  I can do it.
The greatest treat of all was not staying at a resort but staying local.  Kailua is a delightful town with great places to eat, a target, cute gift shops, beautiful local beaches and fun hikes – you are never to far from a waterfall.  It is worth the long plane rides and crappy airline snacks to feel the soft white sand under your feet.
PS:  Welcome new subscribers.
PSS:  This is the most amazing Hawaiian snack – get some today.
SUNBEST Dried Pineapple Chunks in Resealable Bag … (1 Lb)


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