So when some friends wanted to hike and bike around Kaena Point, the westernmost point on the island, I didn’t hesitate.
Kaena Point is nothing short of magical.
It’s one of the last intact dune ecosystems in the main Hawaiian Islands and home to a growing population of rare and endangered coastal plants and seabirds such as the Laysan albatross and wedge-tailed shearwaters. The Hawaiian green sea turtles and monk seals — both endangered — often rest along the shoreline here.
It’s also an area teeming with cultural sites and significance. Kaena Point was once known as leina a kauhane, the leaping place of souls, where the spirits of the recently dead could be reunited with their ancestors.
Because of its cultural and environmental importance, it has been designated as a natural area reserve (NAR). The Kaena Point Ecosystem Restoration Project was set up to protect, preserve and restore the native environment here, including installing a predator-proof fence, the first of its kind in Hawaii.
We spent a Sunday morning traversing this unique coastline. Here’s what our trek looked like: