Thursday, March 24, 2011

KSRT- Makapu'u

March 26, 2011, KSRT- Makapu'u

The weather was terrible on Tuesday so our trail plans were ruined.  Today the weather was a little better, at least on the east side of O'ahu, so I took Mrs. XJ on a small section of what I'll call the KSRT from the Makapu'u Lookout to the end of the road that serves the Makapu'u lighthouse.  It was a short trail but considering the weather this week I feel lucky to have even got this in.  It's always a pleasure to have Mrs. XJ along too!
Mrs. XJ heading up the trail
The meadow, about halfway up.
We started by parking at the Makapu'u lookout and headed up the hillside after jumping over the rockwall and metal railing.  There were a couple of trails to follow but I wanted to stay as close to the ridge as possible to enjoy the views of Makapu'u Beach and Manana and Moku Hope Islets offshore.  There are two metal pipes and some power lines that parallel the ridge and we stayed makai of them until reaching the top.  Most of this section steadily uphill but it's not very strenuous and not difficult.  Very early on if you look closely you can see the remains of some kind of military position.  This one is a little harder to spot because they used lava rocks in the construction so it blends in pretty well.  I don't know why they didn't do this on all of them.

First "bunker"  No idea what it was for.

The trail divided into two uphill sections.  The first delivers you past some prickley pear cactus to a intermediate area with great views of Mokapu'u Beach and Kaupo and looking west, a nice view of the Makapu'u saddle.  It was super windy today and the gusts were crazy.  I had a hard time balancing on the rocks getting some of my shots.  Be careful!

Continuing our short hike up the ridge the angles of the view changed and they became even better.

Makapu'u about half way up.
Makapu'u from the top.
Makapu'u Point, the eastern tip of O'ahu
Collapsed roof
Fire Cotrol
Eventually we topped out at the remains of the fire control stations that were built during WWII.  I'm not sure of the exact designator for them but at least one of them was to direct fire for Battery DeMerrit near Aikahi according the the Coastal Defense Study Group.  

Judging from the number and their positions, I'm sure some of them were for other batteries on the leeward side because it would have been impossible for the shells of DeMerrit to target the areas some of these positions overlooked.

The thing that struck me most about the concrete structures was their poor condition.  Those above Lanikai on Ka'iwa Ridge are in far better condition.  Perhaps the concrete was of poorer quality or maybe the salt spray is worse at Makapu'u.  A couple of them and collapsed as the metal holding the heavy concrete roof sections had failed.  

This insides of the stations had the typical graffiti but some outside dated to July 1944!

After satisfying what was  mostly my curiosity, not Mrs. XJ's,  we heading down to the old Coast Guard Station road.  The station itself had in interesting history.  After the lighthouse was automated the buildings were used in the  witness relocation program during a local trial, in the filming of more than one Magnum PI episode, Hawaii Five-0, and finally in a small protest occupation that lasted a few weeks by some armed people.  The station's buildings were destroyed following that incident except the oiler building which I didn't think to take a picture off.  Oh well, it's easy to spot because it's the only thing up there besides the lighthouse that is painted and not crumbling to pieces.

Of course the most famous part of this area is the Makapu'u Lighthouse.  It was built in 1909 and it boasts the largest lens in America- radial or hyper-radiant.   I won't even claim to have bothered to even look up what that means.  There's a link at the bottom if you want to read more about it.  What I do know is that it stars in thousands of pictures daily from both tourists and locals that venture up here.  Of course, I had to take a couple too.
View from the roadway down.
The old Coast Guard road is hiked by hundreds daily and is a great opportunity to see whales in the Moloka'i Channel in season and always a great view.  This road is completely suitable for kids still in a stroller- I've done it.

We headed down the road and passed Pele's Chair (still haven't gotten there...) and back down to the newer parking lot the State built for those wanting to hike the road.  A small note of caution if you do, don't leave ANYTHING in your car and pray for the safety of your car windows if you park here.  Last time we were there there were about 6 cars with smashed windows and it was busy so it's not like they care if someone sees them doing it.  They didn't just hit the rental cars either!

Today was a good day though and no broken glass as we passed by.  We took a small shortcut trail through the brush back up to the lookout parking lot and ended our short hike for the day.  I managed to trick my computer into rendering a not-so-great video.  I went with a big band soundtrack because of all the WWII stuff up there.

H. Macey, you're a bad man!
Mokapu'u Sam, Yosimite's cousin.
More pictures of this trail and others I've done are can be
viewed  Flickr.  Aloha and thanks for reading.


  1. Wow, stunning photos! Puts mine to shame, for sure.

    Happy hiking,

  2. Thanks for the comment and the compliment! Aloha!