Old Pali Road

Day 14

Destination: The Old Pali Road was used to get from Honolulu to the windward side until the Pali Highway was built in the 1960’s. There has been no traffic allowed on it for quite some time. It’s only open for hiking. This is also the site where the army of Kamehameha the Great fought their final battle to overtake the Hawaiian Islands. The story goes that they cornered the Oahu army here and pushed the survivors off the cliff. That may be why I’ve read that this is considered a very spiritual and haunted area. There are all sorts of ghost stories and urban legends posted online that tell of weird and creepy events occurring, always at night of course, along this road.

Focus: Nature, Hiking

Soundtrack for the drive: Radio silence – we got here so fast I didn’t have time to plug my iPod in.

Quote of the Day: Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Any day that finds me in the jungle with my dogs before 9 am is a good one in my book.

A few days back, when everything was going wrong, I drove up to the Pali Lookout thinking I’d take a quick walk to find the Old Pali Road. I met a guy named Sampson up there. He works for the parking company that collects money from the visitors and seemed to have a million stories he wanted to share with me. When I mentioned wanting to see the old road he began telling me about his childhood and how they used to access the road from behind the Koolau Golf Course.

Sampson described every foot of the trail with detail and clarity. He’s lived here his whole life and knows these woods backwards and forwards.  The description of his childhood hikes and all the spur trails that lead up from behind the golf course to waterfalls and lookouts were enticing. It sounded like a much better adventure than just jumping on the path from a tourist attraction spot so I decided to postpone the hike and embrace the message of that day: Go home and relax. Just then the winds picked up and I noticed a storm cloud moving in. I got in the car thankful to be staying dry.

This morning I’m having a Homer Simpson Doh! moment as I turn left onto Mokulele and immediately take a right onto Kionaole Road, the entrance to the golf course Sampson told me about. How could I live here for almost three months and have no idea this was so close? I have driven just over a mile. It took four minutes. Seriously next time I could walk.

The trail is lush with long stretches of tree tunnels and low lying canopy. It’s not long before my shoes and my dogs are once again covered in red dirt.

I got the digital camera working with some butter knife out patient surgery in the kitchen and I’m thrilled to be snapping away again. My favorite past time of looking up at trees isn’t letting me down.

 

After twenty minutes or so the trail dumps us off onto the road. The scene on the pavement is slightly reminiscent of autumn back home.

Parts of the old road are so covered in moss it’s as though the forest is reclaiming it as its own.

I didn’t encounter the energy of ancestral spirits or have any inexplicable experiences on the Old Pali Road and I’m nowhere near disappointed. I hate ghost stories and urban legends. I hate all things scary in fact. All I wanted was a nice morning walk in the woods and that’s exactly what I got.

Lesson learned: You don’t always have to travel far for a good adventure. Sometimes they’re right in your backyard.

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