This week’s Oahu Jar pull had us heading, once again, back to the Koolau mountain range (we really were hoping for a change of scenery!) and through traffic hell. The morning started off fine, but kind of dissolved on our commute. There was an awful accident a few exits before our offramp, but the flow of cars was moving quickly so there was no time for in-car shenanigans like last week. We meandered our way up the road to Mānoa falls and when we arrived, we decided it was too busy for us to enjoy the hike, so we decided to continue up the road to the Lyon Arboretum.
Nestled in the back of Mānoa Valley, just five miles from the bustle of Waikiki, Lyon Arboretum has over seven miles of hiking trails and boasts more than 6,000 tropical and sub-tropical plants on nearly 200 acres.
There are multiple themed and memorial gardens near the Visitors Center. These gardens are easier to access for everyday visitors, and they boast an impressive array of plant life.
They are open to the public five days a week, and parking and visitation is free. Reservations are required and a $5 donation per person is requested.
To get there from the H1: Take the Punahou St. exit and head towards the mountains, past Punahou School, take the left fork (Mānoa Road) and continue up the valley, staying on Mānoa Road until it ends just beyond Paradise Park. Entrance to the Lyon Arboretum is at the end of Mānoa Road.
We meandered our way up the road to Mānoa falls and when we arrived, we decided it was too busy for us to enjoy the hike, so we decided to continue up the road to the Lyon Arboretum. What a treat this turned out to be! We got our Princess parking per usual and went in to register and give our donations. We decided after the long commute we should probably use the bathroom, which was mistake number one. I'm not sure what's going on with the building there, but there is only one bathroom available for everyone to use while up there. Now take into consideration the fact that there are many people with many children visiting this area, therefore the time waiting for the bathroom became longer than our commute time! We decided to ditch that idea and move on with our tour of the land. We figured the loo would clear out after some time. (Mistake number two!)
We started strolling on the cobblestone paths and came across some amazing foliage. This area is so unique and is home to such incredible plants and trees, it can take some time to get though. I definitely recommend bug spray, water, and good walking shoes. Without these items you will find yourself the main course for a majority of the bugs flying around and your feet will hate you for the remainder of your life after walking all over some of the uneven terrain.
As we were walking along there was an offshoot to an area that went slightly uphill and was dark and mysterious looking. We decided to venture over there and came across the most phenomenal tree. This tree dumped blue balls onto the ground, and at first glance you would think they were blueberries, but something was off with these because the color was so unusual. It turns out there's a tree called the Blue Marble Tree and the roots of this tree were as unique as the balls that it dumped on the ground. I can only describe this with the imagery pics below.
After that phenomenal little find we continued up and around the bend and I happened to look through some trees and saw a statue of standing Buddha. We didn't know they had a Zen Garden here and we scrambled up the path in search of it. It was so peaceful and gave me the inspiration to try to capture the statue through my lensball. That can take a while, so my mom made herself at home under the hut and enjoyed the surroundings. After playing Nat Geo photographer, we started our journey down.
So, back to mistake number two…. apparently, this place is quite popular this time of year and when we arrived back at the loo….it was as busy as before. By now it was almost dire we use the facilities, so we hung our heads and waited as patiently as possible (hard to keep still when all you hear is the sound of rushing water as the faucet runs when someone is done) and we made it through the line without incident! Whew…. At least we had a nice view to look at during the arduous wait.
Now it’s time we head back to the West side, so we piled back into the car and headed down. Here is where the sunroof shenanigans start. You see, I washed my mom’s car for her over the weekend and found out that after 5 years of her owning this vehicle…. That damn thing has a sunroof!! When I found this little treasure, I looked at my mom and asked her if she knew she had one and she laughed and said she knew but forgot about it…are you kidding me?? We live in a state where I’m pretty sure it is required by law to own and USE your sunroof! (Joking about the law but come on…it is Hawaii!)
As we made our way down the one-lane road that is Mānoa falls, we opened that bad boy up and took in the cool air and spotty sunshine. We also used some of our newly formed “ass” sentences we learned last week to colorfully describe the pedestrians that refused to move as you drove past them to get out. After playing frogger with other people and cars, we made it to the freeway for a seamless commute home. All in all….it was a beautiful hike around the Arboretum and I recommend this to anyone that visits. Just be prepared for bugs, people, possible kidney/bladder damage from a lack of bathrooms and the occasional ray of sunshine through your sunroof! Stay tuned for next week’s pull!