If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know that my boyfriend started his own Brooklyn-based personal training company fitXplorer, which is all about the intersection of health, fitness and of course, exploration... aka his everyday life [insert eye roll here]. But really, over the course of our relationship we've always tried to seek out new adventures that challenge us physically and provide a new perspective. And what better time to do so than in the wilderness of Oahu?
Below you'll find my shortlist of a few outdoorsy destinations on the island that will have you in awe of their natural beauty. So bring your go-pro or selfie stick and come along for the ride! You might even work up a little sweat in the process.
Cool Down at Lulumahu Falls
If waterfalls are what you're in search of, Lulumahu is is sure to deliver. The trail starts in a bamboo forest, then transforms into an open field and finally takes you up a winding riverbed to the gorgeous backdrop you see above. It's pretty easy to navigate (here are the directions we followed) and not at all difficult going up (there were plenty of children hiking it too) which makes the impressive size of the falls at the end such a surprise. You can also be in and out within about 1.5 hrs, depending on how much time you spend up top, so it still leaves plenty of time for the beach afterwards. And though there was a little bit of a crowd when we got to the end of the trail, a few minutes of waiting in the cool water and we were alone with this natural wonder in no time. Just try to stay patient.
The Lanikai Pillbox Hike has elements that I wish all hikes had: a relatively easy climb (albeit, steep at parts), a quick ascent, and a super rewarding view. When we reached the top we could hardly believe how little time it took. And I could just sit up there and soak in the ocean-meets-mountain vistas for hours. I highly recommend this hike to anyone that happens to be passing through the area (it would be perfect either before or after spending the day at the beach below). My only regret is that we didn't have a chance to do it again while we where there. Catching the sunrise from the top would have been amazing... but I guess there's always next time!
Above: On Me: Romper c/o 6 Shore Road by Pooja, Sunday Somewhere sunnies, Zara gladiator sandals. On Isaac: Patagonia trunks, The Whiskey Brooklyn 'BK to CA' tank. Shot by Isaac Lacey and (my dad) Kenneth Gould.
Epic Views at Laie Point
If you take the scenic route to the North Shore, following the road along the coast from Kailua, you'll hit the tiny town of Laie. Perched on the tip of the Northwestern side of the island, the views from Laie Point are breath-taking and the best part is that it's easy to drive into as long as you know what you're looking for (hence my lack of proper hiking gear above). I luckily spotted the cliffs from the road as we drove up, but here's the precise Google map location for you too, in case your hawk eyes aren't as keen. Apparently you can cliff jump from here as well (you might recognize it from this scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall), but much to Isaac's disappointment the waters were WAY too rough when we visited. Guess we'll just have to add it to our list of reasons to return!
The Pali Puka trail is not for the faint of heart. It pretty much involves heading down an unsanctioned trail in the forest to a death-defyingly-steep narrow trail that winds the side of a mountain and threatens at every point to toss you off. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but damn, it was scary! Sure footing and a bit of climbing know-how are definitely helpful. Not to mention, the less you fear heights, the better. To get to this lookout we wound up taking the unexposed side of the mountain that drops into the forest instead of a cliff, but it was still pretty nerve-wracking, to say the least. Looking for an even bigger challenge? Try out the Pali Notches which is off the same trail. Super scary but the experience (and insane photos at the top) seem 100% worth it. One day I'll work my way up to that level and return...