Friday was a pretty fun day - and full of adventure. The original plan included hiking Kaena Point on the West Coast of O'ahu followed by snorkeling and lunch, etc. After driving about 50 minutes to the entrance to Kaena Point, we were turned away because we did not have the required permit! What makes this troubling is that the Hawaii State Parks website specifically says, "no permit required." This, my friends, is the Hawaiian Government at its finest. See, Kaena Point is located on the grounds for a military observatory. It's not in the restricted area, but it's next to it. So they, understandably, need to keep track of who comes and goes. I have no problem with the permit being required. I have a problem telling the public that they don't need one. Just remember: you DO need a permit.
Here's the description of Kaena Point: The trail to Ka‘ena Point follows an old railroad bed and former dirt road that ran along the westernmost point of O‘ahu. The trail leads to Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve, a remote and scenic protected area harboring some of the last vestiges of coastal sand dune habitat on the island, and home to native plants and seabirds. Whales frequent this shoreline during the winter months.
All in all, it wasn't that big a deal. The West side is absolutely gorgeous. I had never been over there, but I want to go again (and hike this time, of course). They have a bunch of gorgeous beaches over there that are virtually abandoned. The highway to get out there also follows the coastline all the way, so while you're driving you're in between huge mountains and clear blue water. It's at the last beach on Farrington Highway.