Florida Everglades

FitLifeandTravel is adding more new content for your enjoyment! Introducing new nature videos featuring Florida wildlife! We refuse to allow this corona virus to take over our lives. So we decided to go explore more outdoors in the local areas. The videos will highlight some of the simple joys of life and nature. For the meantime, we intend to focus on several areas in Florida and share them with you! Later on, we will bring you a variety of nature parks and other areas in the U.S.

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How much has life changed in your household since COVID-19 began? Recently, a new way of life has immersed upon all of us in some way or another. We are now cooks, educators, artists, fitness enthusiasts, and backyard explorers to name a few. Some of these tasks and roles can be very challenging. But I am here to share with you these ideas on how to navigate the stay at home life today! Including ideas in fitness, cooking at home and more!

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The Spring season is a favorite of mine, and it seems there might be a few of you feeling a bit down nowadays. I am here to help bring a little light hearted beauty and refocus to you! This is why I am going to help you Spring Info Flowers! Featuring Hawaii, California, and more; a blooming photo journal that will bring you bright, beautiful happy visuals to make you smile!

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Are you finding yourself cooking more at home these days due to today’s current events? Here is a healthy delicious seven layer casserole recipe that I am sharing from my mother in law, M.F. The normal recipe is here below, but I do change mine a little from time to time. I will leave out the corn and add a little more ground turkey meat. The meat I use is ground turkey meat substituted for the ground beef. And, I also use organic or non-gmo tomato sauce.

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The Review of the Yeti. Its slogan states: “Built for the Wild” and wow, did our Yeti Ramblers endure some grueling tough adventures and came through wonderfully!  From hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, to exploring Granite Mountain in the 106 degree temps, Yeti performed when we needed it most!

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After reading an inspiring article, Hello from New Hampshire, by my friends at Roarloud.net, I too wanted to help bring a sense of togetherness and hopefulness to others.  My hope is to also inform you about whats going on in my little community in Florida. Before I do however, I want to reflect on the unforgettable experiences of California. As you read on, I wish to inspire you about a new appreciation for home. So here is my Hello from Florida.

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As many of you can tell from my blog, hiking is one of my biggest passions in life. The act of exploring and seeing new places just fill my heart and soul with joy. Adventures definitely come in all variations, types and places. One of the most beautiful places in the United States is Washington state. So I asked my friend Irine, from Travel with Irine to share some of her awesome Seattle hiking trails with us. Enjoy perusing these 25 amazing hikes near Seattle, Washington.

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Do you ever wonder what life is like underwater? It is an entire different world in our oceans and the life that exists here is constantly evolving and thriving. I have a huge interest in whales and other sea life so I just had to go. Enjoy a day visiting the Birch Aquarium La Jolla California. This is the perfect place to share an afternoon together with family or friends. COVID UPDATE: Currently, outdoor spaces are open, indoor spaces are closed.

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Hawaii is an incredible place of beauty and adventure. Every time we visit, we crave for scenic and challenging adventures. Which is why the Wiliwilinui Ridge Hiking Trail Oahu, Hawaii is perfect to tackle! We start the day with a little sun and clouds hoping that the rain might stay away for today. I don’t know about you, but the word ‘ridge’ puts just a tiny bit of fear in me being this is the first time we’ve hiked this trail.

View along Wiliwilinui Ridge Hiking Trail

Getting There

Ignoring the on-slot of a bit of fear I had, we proceed to gather our water, hats, and other necessities, jumped in the car and drove towards East Honolulu area. Actually, the journey to get to the trail head was quite spectacular in itself.

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We ended up cruising to higher altitudes through an upscale neighborhood of homes and hills. As we approached the trail head there was no a guard. So at this time, we proceed to park in the appropriate designated spots. Directions

The Trail

The clouds start to build up around us making for a possibly muddy, wet, and slippery hiking experience. Early in the hike, there is a beautiful canopy of trees of all sizes but mostly tall and large.

Tree tunnel paths. Credit: Photo by Cedric Froehlich on Unsplash

The wind began to swirl and howl making for an eerie stroll through this part of the trail. As we made our way through the tree tunnels, we encounter some of the challenges as well as the views from this trail. The steeper sections of the ridge continue closer and we use the ropes when needed to assist in the climb to the top.

Wiliwilinui Ridge Hiking Trail

Ropes and Mud

This part of the hiking trail offers a few challenges and obstacles. The rope is extremely helpful in climbing to the next part of the trail. This trail can be muddy and slippery when it rains, so take it slow and careful as you gradually make your way to the summit.

But don’t be in too much of a rush to make it to the top yet. You’ve got to experience the ledges and ridges that comprise this spectacular hiking trail. The further we venture up the trail, more and more pristine views begin to appear.

Views

Views from the top of the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

Another view point on the Wiliwilinui Ridge Hiking Trail. The views and beauty of the trail aren’t the only things to be excited about. If you blink, you may miss some of the most beautiful plants and flowers. They are in abundance and on display on this adventure nature trail!

Flowers and plants along the ridge trail

Soak It In

Be sure to take a rest on the ‘Swing’ and tree area. If you are hiking the trail on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to get a seat on the one lonely bench that sits at the summit of the trail. The views are incredible! Hang on to your hat as the winds can be quite wicked up at the top.

Soaking in the views of the ridge

Summary

As you can see, there is plenty of adventure opportunities in Hawaii. There are so many different hiking trails that with every visit you will make new experiences! Of course, its even better if you are lucky enough to live there. Hawaii is so full of nature, landscapes, and stunning sunsets. I highly recommend this beautiful adventurous hiking trail if you are looking for unique things to do in Hawaii! Enjoy!

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Hiking to Haiku Stairs a.k.a. Stairway to Heaven is no easy task. The trail is actually closed and illegal to hike. However, there is a back route to reach the stairs via Moanalua Valley Middle Ridge trail which is long, challenging, and more dangerous.This hiking adventure has been on our bucket list for a while now ever since we saw the stairs while driving on the interstate, H-3 of which you can see from this freeway. So, we were determined to take on this unique and beautiful journey.

View of the Haiku Stairs from H-3 freeway

History of Kamananui Valley

Before we dive into the dirty details of this extraordinary day hike, let’s talk about some of the history of this particular trail and the stairs. Otherwise known as Kamananui Valley, this section of the trail towards the Haiku stairs is mostly flat, comprised of lose rocks, and muddy or water stream crossings. The lush forest lined path and bridges will take you on a journey through history.

On the trail, there are several remnants of Hawaii’s past during the 1500s-1800s. These include stone petroglyphs and articles left by early missionary; Samuel Damon. The brick fireplace from his residence is here now covered in moss, vines, and leaves. And a staircase that once led to the home, now leads to know where.

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The Ladder-Stairs

The Haiku Stairs or Haiku Ladder is a very steep hiking trail on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s comprised of wooden stairs that are spiked to the south side of Haiku Valley. This ladder (stairs) was installed to enable the construction of antenna cables to create a continuous communication link between Wahiawa and Haiku Valley Naval Radio Station. The antennas transmitted extremely low frequency radio signals that could reach U.S. Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay.

Illegal Hike

The wooden steps were later replaced with metal steps and ramps. Today, this hiking trail is closed and there is a hefty fine if caught, possibly up to $1000 fine. There is however, a different and somewhat legal route to take to reach the stairs. Follow along as I take you on this exciting excursion of hiking to Haiku Stairs | Stairway to Heaven Hawaii.

The Adventure Begins

The forecast is calling for full sunshine and clear skies on the day we decided to hike to the Haiku Stairs. The morning is gorgeous with its fresh dew, quiet, and peaceful skies awaiting for sunrise. We are joined by our local native friend, Mr. R. as we head out armed with our backpacks, water, lunch, and hiking gear.

Moanalua Valley Park

The Trail

We arrive at the parking lot area of Moanalua Valley Park-Directions, gather our things and start trekking towards the stairs around 7 a.m. Restrooms are available at this park and they are clean. We kept up a great pace and only a few people caught up to us. Early on the trail is quite smooth and wide, but later becomes full of lose rocks and very muddy.

Scrambling

We continue on for about three miles approximately until the trail becomes much more challenging with climbing and slithering through mud and trees. This hike has a little bit of everything that any adventurer would love! Rocky paths, thick mud, water streams, swinging ropes to use for climbing, and gorgeous views!   

Climbing The Ridge

After passing through about 17 stream beds and bridges; we come to the point where the fun begins. Be cautious, the early part of this route is noticeable, wide and somewhat smooth.

However, the ridge part of the trail isn’t quite as obvious and you might miss it. Once you pass through the final stream to begin the ridge section of the trail, you will incline about 900 feet for about a mile. The second mile will bring about an 1100 feet elevation along with tree roots, mud, and sharp drop offs.

Further up on the ridge section, it is more exposed and open that of which strong winds can be present and again sharp drop offs on either side.

The Ropes

There are approximately three sections where a rope is available to assist with climbing and descent on the ridge.

Climbing using the ropes

We reach the summit of the Moanalua Valley Middle Ridge Trail finally. Now there is still a short distance of about a half mile to the radio towers and the top of the Haiku Stairs. The views are amazing from up here!

The Radio Tower

You must not be fooled as you are so close to the stairs now and lose focus. This section is even more muddy and slippery. More tree roots, and several areas you lose your footings.

Reaching The Haiku Stairs

The moment we have waited for! We finally reach the stairs and radio tower and continue to be in awe. As the beautiful blue and partly cloudy skies linger on, we are lucky to enjoy a gorgeous day of mostly sunshine today.

More fabulous photos of the Haiku stairs and views from up here!

The Return

Although very tempting to continue on and take the stairs down and finish the hike, this is highly illegal. Please do not take this path. We are now ready for our return trip down the ridge after about an hour at the Stairs/Radio Tower enjoying the views and having lunch. We took our time, proceeded with caution, and made it back to the parking lot about 9 hours later.

Having lunch at the top of Haiku Stairs

FitLife Tips and Gear

FitLife Hiking Tip: We had hiking poles with us and are so grateful to our friend and hiking pal for providing us with his poles. They were extremely helpful during this challenging hike. On the hike, a couple hikers mentioned to us how much they wish they had poles to assist them here.

FitLife Hiking Gear: I had concern about my feet getting soaked and start swelling. As a part of my preparation, I wore water resistant socks and waterproof shoes. I couldn’t be happier with my Columbia hiking shoes and my Darn Tough socks! After the hike, I was pretty dirty and my shoes were filthy and muddy. Having dry feet made my hiking experience so much better! We cleaned them right up with soap and water, back to good as new too!

Summary

Hiking to the Haiku Stairs | Stairway to Heaven is one unbelievable hiking experience! The scenery and the views are incredible and the hiking adventure is intense! If you are looking for a rugged, Indiana Jones type experience, then this hike is perfect! Hawaii offers so many hiking adventures that can add a little spark to your visit. Be safe, enjoy and have fun!

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