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Exploring Kahuku

Too often, the trip from Honolulu to Kahuku is a well-beaten path from downtown to the comforts of a single resort.


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To get there, you have to start off on a dusty road, but the Laie Falls hike is worth it.

Laie Falls Hike

Until the very end, the six-mile hike to Laie Falls is a pretty easy, albeit uphill, trek. The adrenaline really starts to rip after you see the sign that points you to the waterfall lookout. It should say “This is where it gets interesting.” There, the trail turns to razor-edged paths and steep rock walls. The falls at the bottom aren’t huge—probably about 10 feet—but rush quite dramatically. With the peaceful views of the mountains and the ocean you get on the way, this hike is worth a few hours if you have them. There’s no official website for the hike, nor any information from Hawaii Reserves Inc., which owns some of the land (technically, you need a permit from its office to hike). But it’s easy to get there: take the road directly across Kamehameha Highway from Hukilau Beach, go around the traffic circle and stay right onto Poohaili Street until it ends at a somewhat rickety gate with a small sign that says “Laie Falls Trail Head.” Next door to it, someone has posted less-welcoming signs, to keep out of their property in somewhat colorful language. Keep walking down that dirt road (past a panoply of “no trespassing” signs) until the first wooden Laie Falls sign points you to the trail. Despite the dubious beginnings, the trail really is fun.  For general information, call Hawai‘i Reserves Inc., 293-9201, hawaiireserves.com.


Take a Snike

It’s worth the walk at low tide to Goat Island, which, despite its popular name, is actually a bird sanctuary. But we suggest bringing your snorkel gear to make it a snike (snorkel/hike), because even at low tide the reef can be sharp and if the tide comes in, well … it’s best to have some fins. To get there, go into Malaekahana State Park and walk east, towards the point. The crossing is about 400 yards wide. Though it’s an accomplishment to get there, the smell of thousands of nesting seabirds and their guano may hasten the return “snike.” hawaiioirc.org.


Poke Pit Stop

Like a lot of things in this town, the shoyu poke at Kahuku Superette was inspired by football. “The owner saw all the kids come in after football practice, buying candy bars. So he said; ‘how about we make poke and rice instead?’” recalls manager Diane Primacio. Owner Tina Lee makes the shoyu from a recipe passed down from her mother’s Korean great-grandmother. Customers make a beeline from the front door to the back counter to fill up on the poke, served over warm rice for a dollar more. There’s a couple types of ahi poke (but seriously, get the shoyu), tako and lomi salmon. For sweet and spicy crunch, get a quarter-pound of the amazing taegu-style dry opae shrimp, Primacio’s favorite. “If she’s in the store making it, she’ll pop one of the warm ones in your mouth!” Kahuku Superette, 56-505 Kam. Highway, 293-9878.

Go for a stroll along the new 1.8-mile Malaekahana Bike Path. Almost everyone walking it’s length is a local, so it is a great place to hear the local gossip and talk story to get the real feel of this community.
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Honolulu Magazine March 2019
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