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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are approximately three sections where a rope is available to assist with climbing and descent on the ridge.
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!
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.
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!
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!
**All photos and videos are owned by Fitlifeandtravel.com. All rights reserved.
Visiting a museum can be an interesting and enlightening experience for anyone. So when the opportunity came to explore the incredible USS Midway naval aircraft carrier now turned into a museum, we jumped all over it. The museum also offers special discounts and no fee for veterans and their families certain times of the year. Veteran’s Day is one of those times. I am excited to share a day at the museum: USS Midway Museum San Diego with you.
The USS Midway naval aircraft carrier has amassed tons of military history dating back since the 1940s. She has seen battles that would make your stomach churn upside down and then some. From the wartime operations in the Vietnam War to the relentless battles in the Indian Ocean, to the rescues out at sea and Operation Desert Storm. Read more on her wartime campaigns here:
The Museum Experience
The San Diego Bay area is absolutely beautiful with its Embarcadero and welcoming and pleasant surroundings. It is quite impressive strolling along side the dock next to the ship as you approach the entryway to pay admission.
You will receive a welcome aboard and will move to proceed to cross the plank entering the main deck (Hangar Deck). You can choose your own experience via an island tour, talks, and an audio tour. Here is a brief 3-D walk through video.
As we continue to peruse the museum we find ourselves speechless at times and wondering to ourselves, ‘If these walls could talk.” It brings back several memories of my days in the Navy. While I was stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, a few of my shipmates were stationed on the USS Midway. They described the experience as challenging and somewhat chaotic all the time. The shipboard life for those in the Navy is not easy and visiting this museum gives you a new found respect for those who serve or have served.
What To Expect
Be prepared to be amazed! This experience left me speechless and in awe!
The museum excursion includes the flight simulators as well, which offers insight into the experience of air to air combat. Strolling through each compartment, you will see how small and how limited space there is on this ship. An aircraft carrier is like a small town and has all the things you need as a service member.
Visiting the USS Midway Museum in San Diego takes you into the life of a sailor on an aircraft carrier. You will learn about the many battles and sacrifices made for our freedoms. The opportunity to get an up close look at 25 restored aircraft static displays and over 60 exhibits is quite extraordinary. You will see the areas where sailors slept and showered, and worked endless hours in the control room and many other compartments.
Although I am not a fan of gift shops etc., I would recommend stopping by this one. It is quite unique and offers so many special mementos and souvenirs. In the anticipation of the upcoming film, “Top Gun,” there are some very cool memorabilia, T-shirts, and unique gear to purchase or collect. I loved this movie, so it was really cool to see these collectibles.
To tease and entice you a little bit to go experience this amazing museum, here are a few fun facts to know:
- 1945 USS Midway is commissioned as the largest ship in the world
- 4500 crew members
- 80,000 haircuts annually
- 13,500 meals daily
- 500 pies for dessert
- 1000 loaves of bread daily
- 2000 compartments
- 1500 telephones
- 212,000 horsepower
- 3.4 million gallons of fuel
- 18 decks
- 1001 feet long
- 30,000 light fixtures
- 69,000 ones fully loaded
- 1992 Decommissioned in San Diego, CA
- 2004 Opened as the USS Midway Museum*
*Information sourced from the Midway Museum brochure.
To plan your next visit to the museum and for admission pricing information, check out the website below.
USS Midway Museum
910 N. Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
The museum is also wheelchair accessible as well as offering many other ADA services including American Sign Language and elevator access on all three main levels.
We highly recommend a visit to this museum for anyone visiting the San Diego area. It is a great way to spend time with family and friends at the same time learning about military history.
The fall season is one of my favorite times of the year! Autumn presents an opportunity to reflect back on the year you’ve had thus far. And it also allows you to get excited about what’s coming. This time of year you might experience a fresh crispness in the air, sweater weather, and special moments with family and friends. Here is a list of some of the best Fall events San Diego that you might wish to take part in, if you are are visiting or live here!
GI FILM FESTIVAL SAN DIEGO
Dates: September 24-29, 2019
The GI Film Festival San Diego entails film screenings, panel discussions, a family movie night, and awards while featuring the local military culture in the community.
GASLIGHT STEAMPUNK EXPO
Dates: September 26-29, 2019
Gaslight Steampunk Expo takes you back in time as you revisit Jules Verne’s classic tale of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Explore the Stargate display, Tea Pot Racing, Sands of Time Fashion Show, and so much more fun festivities!
MIRAMAR AIR SHOW
Dates: September 27-29, 2019
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is set to hold another outstanding air show event! This is the largest military Air Show in the country!
Dates: September 28-29, 2019
The San Diego Waterfront Park is home to CRSSD Festival, a two-day electronic music festival. This is an amazing event featuring three stages and 36+ performers. There will be craft beer, mixed drinks, food, and of course, plenty of music.
Dates: September 27-28, 2019.
A 47-year tradition, the Poway Rodeo is back on at its finest moments! Poway is highlighting its Old West and cowboy heritage once again! Enjoy the best of saddle bronc and bull riding, adults only Rodeo Jam dances, and a special Kids Dollar day promotion.
ANNUAL PACIFIC BEACHFEST
Date: October 5, 2019
Pacific BeachFest has something for everyone including a fish taco contest, beach volleyball, craft beer, 5K run, kids activities and music!
ART SAN DIEGO CONTEMPORARY ART SHOW
Dates: October 10-13, 2019
Art San Diego features over 500 leading contemporary artists, museum exhibitions, art labs, events, and much more.
Dates: October 11-13, 2019
Throw yourself into this wonderful cultural celebration in Pacific Beach all about Polish culture, traditions and tasty cuisine.
HARVEST FESTIVAL ORIGINAL ART & CRAFT SHOW
Dates: October 11-13, 2019
This year’s Harvest Festival features hundreds of artisans exhibiting American handmade items, strolling entertainment, festival food and a Kidzone. Another Fall fun themed event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
LA JOLLA ART & WINE FESTIVAL
Dates: October 12-13, 2019
Just steps from the beautiful Pacific Ocean on Girard Avenue, bask in beautiful San Diego sun while meandering through over 150 handpicked artist booths, for a weekend of fine art, along with delectable wines, craft beers, scrumptious food, and live music.
SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
An event featuring engaging films, the hottest parties, intriguing panels, celebrity sightings, and industry events.
SAN DIEGO ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Dates: October 15-27, 2019
The San Diego Italian Film Festival showcases the best of new Italian film with a series of premieres ranging from dramas and comedies to documentaries.
WITHOUT WALLS WOW FESTIVAL
Dates: October 17-20, 2019
The WoW Festival is an interesting and exhilarating experience where impressive and site-based work designed to go outside the traditional theatre spaces. It’s unique in that you are both participant and performer.
BORREGO DAYS DESERT FESTIVAL
Dates: October 18-20, 2019
Borrego Days Desert Festival is fun filled event to enjoy inspiring art, entertainment, delicious food and drink, and so much more!
BULLS OF SANT’AGATA CHARGE LITTLE ITALY
Date: October 19, 2019
Friends, start your engines!! This event entails the streets of Little Italy hosting over 40 classic and rare “Italian bulls,” also known as Lamborghinis.
SALTDOG CLASSIC BEACH FESTIVAL
Date: October 20, 2019
This family and pet friendly event at Seaside State Beach in Solana Beach is a perfect October festival to enjoy. You can indulge in this music and art festival that is filled with wonderful music from local artists performing under the bright sunshine while enjoying the tropical drinks to cool down.
ESCONDIDO GRAND AVENUE FESTIVAL
Date: October 20, 2019
The Escondido Grand Avenue Festival is offering you live entertainment, over 400 vendors, kids rides and activities, and food from around the world, since 1989.
WCKD VILLAGE HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL
Date: October 26th 6PM-Midnight
They call this the never ending festival of nightmares as the streets morph into something unimaginable! It’s a terrifyingly dark journey into the WCKD Village where you will experience three stages of top talent, immersive elements, and mind bending dimensions and delusions!
FALL CARLSBAD VILLAGE STREET FAIRE
Date: November 3, 2019
Indulge yourself in the beauty of the seaside city while browsing through unique booths, delectable eats and family fun at the Carlsbad Village Faire.
FALLBACK FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY G.Q.H.F.
Date: November 3, 2019
Climb aboard an old-fashioned hayride, pan for gold, check out a Wild West Show, and saddle up on pony rides. Enjoy this free funday Sunday with two stages of live entertainment.
FLEET WEEK SAN DIEGO
Dates: November 4-12, 2019
Fleet Week San Diego honors and celebrates the men and women of the military through events that entertain and alliances that thank and support these heroes.
CORONADO ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Dates: November 8-11, 2019
The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) cordially invites you and film lovers alike to enjoy this unique historic seaside village. Other activities include contests, kid’s activities, arts and crafts, and demonstrations.
SAN DIEGO VETERAN’S DAY PARADE
Dates: November 11, 2019
See over 4,000 Veterans, Active Military, Bands, Floats and Civic Groups celebrate Veterans Day with the San Diego Veteran’s Day Parade.
WONDERFRONT MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
Dates: November 22-24, 2019
New in 2019, the inaugural Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival will celebrate San Diego’s culture and beach lifestyle with yacht parties and live performances held on San Diego Bay.
73RD ANNUAL MOTHER GOOSE PARADE
Date: November 24, 2019
The Mother Goose Parade is San Diego’s East County’s annual holiday kick-off celebration. El Cajon is where you will enjoy whimsical floats, clowns, bands and equestrians. A family fun day to enjoy!
ENCINITAS HOLIDAY STREET FAIR
Date: November 24, 2019
Encinitas Holiday Street Fair is a perfect event to help you get a head start on your holiday shopping, with more than 450 booths, plus dozens of unique downtown retailers.
JAZZ FEST AND SWING EXTRAVAGANZA
Dates: November 27 – December 1, 2019
The 40th San Diego Jazz Fest presents a array of traditional jazz music, from ragtime to hot jazz to swing to rockabilly at the Town & Country Resort and Hotel in Hotel Circle.
JULIAN, Fall Events
THE PUMPKIN PATCH AT JULIAN FARM
Dates: September 21-22, 2019 10AM to 5PM
It’s Harvest Season and a chance at some pumpkin patch fun! Choose pumpkins that are priced by a slot board based on .60 a pound. This is 4 acres of pumpkins planted by the farm and are waiting for you to pick off the vine. You can also enjoy Pioneer Field Trips and Pumpkin Patch Field Trips, to learn more about this event, please visit Julian Mining Company.
Julian Farm and Orchard at 4381 California 78 or Julian Road, Wynola Santa Ysabel, California, United States, 92070
APPLES WITH THE CAMELS
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019 1PM TO 4PM
at Oasis Camel Dairy
RAMONA, Fall events
TASTE OF RAMONA
Date: October 12, 2019 11AM to 5PM
Head to the country east of San Diego and enjoy this spectacular annual event of Taste of Ramona!