Introducing The Alyson AML from JWM Designs LLC

logo image2 Introducing the Alyson AML:

“Many years ago, our father named a beautiful boat for my sister. Unfortunately that vessel sank and too did the name. I never thought that was fair. It was like my sister had been cheated somehow. I know if my father were still alive, he would have named another vessel for her. I am proud of the machines I build, much like my father was of his boat. I know my systems don’t float, or provide a steady platform for sunbathing in the gulf, but perhaps they should be named for my sister anyway. After all, there was enough pride in my father to name his vessel for this amazing woman. Like my sister, and that boat, I feel these machines are not only powerful, assertive and poised, but delicate and graceful at the same time. So be it then. I give you the Alyson.”

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The idea:

The idea for these machines came while working on another design. A design I am still working on as a matter of fact. They are floor standing, rear horn loaded, transmission line speakersUno designs work copy that I have been building for many years. The design has always been a challenge though. Don’t get me wrong, after 15 years of research and development, they are remarkable. The trick has been downsizing them into a real world size that can be aesthetically pleasing for, well; let’s just say the average spouse. (I hope I’m not in trouble here.) To do this, one must do a ton of dancing with the tuning of the machines. This takes time and patience. Both of which I am running out of. Often, I must take a break from the project and turn my attentions elsewhere. Call it a hiatus if you will. This is my way to get a fresh perspective when I return to the project. This also stands true for my other artistic endeavors. Stay tuned. They will be great indeed. Some day.

In the meantime:

About 5 years ago, several people asked if I had any smaller monitor designs. During this time, I had also noticed a trend toward smaller and simpler systems. In other words, more compact audio equipment that has less of a footprint on the living environment. Also around the samerecording-studio copy time, I had received a phone call from a studio where I had installed a set of my monitors many years ago. They had asked if I was still building and if I had made any improvements or updated the designs I had built for them. Truth is, I had thought about it many times, but the answer was no. I had not put thought to paper on these designs in a long while. Perhaps there was never a demand big enough to sustain building small near field monitors that cost as much as a Hyundai. Building one-offs specifically for the environment the client resides in was always my way. But alas, it may be time to open this can of worms again and see what I can do!

The research begins:

High frequency modules breakdown.

I spent several weeks in the shop revisiting the design I had built for the studio. I built a set identical to theirs and began tearing it down. I found so many flaws in the design, it was almost embarrassing. Not the overall sound mind you, just the overall lack of life and timbre. As a studio monitor these pieces were wonderful, but they would never pass the muster in a real world HI FI system. At least 10 times, “Clinical and flat” was scribbled in my listening notes. But that is what the client wanted! They wanted me to tune this system to sound like “NOTHING!” flat frequency response with as little coloration of their own as possible. The system they would be driving the monitors with was also as flat as it gets with no sugar coating what so ever. Spectral Audio amplifiers and preamps were chosen to feed the system from front to back. Flat, flat, flat…

Why did it sound so bad to me now? Why I ask?!?!

To me it all boiled down to two things. First; my lack of knowledge atAML X-Over 6 copy the time of the original design execution. Second; the lack of technology at the time. The fast and silky capacitors of today simply did not exist. Nor did the amazing new foil inductors and Vishay resistors modern designers use now without a thought. Yes, back then the thought of spending 200 bones on a single capacitor was unheard of, but for a few AML X-Over 5 copymanufacturers. Today, not so much. I’d spend 700 without a flinch if it is what it takes to get “That Sound”. And “That Sound” is exactly what I set my sights on. Don’t forget, the speakers in the studio were more than 10 years old now and permanently installed. I had to do this from 4,000 miles away. Challenge accepted!

I called the studio back a few months later and gaveAML X-Over 3 copy the news about the new crossover system. I made it clear that this may be just what they wanted. “Same system, just with new life and a powerful new sound”. I explained. They took the bait and off the crossover boards went to the FedEx shop down the street. It’s always hard to see your children off for the first time. Especially when some other technician will be in charge of the installation and final judgment. Studios don’t usually mess around and having their main monitors out of commission for two days is a BIG deal. So, cue the fingernail chewing Maestro!

AML X-Over 2 copyShortly after I ran out of valium while waiting on the verdict, the call came. That call set the stage for what I decided to spend the next period of time and energy on. That time ended up being 5 years. “Josh, thank you! This system has never sounded as good. You really should build this design for the commercial market. It may work. How much do we owe you?” Let’s just say he was not as happy as he was when the phone call was initiated. None the less, he agreed it was still one hell of a bargain! Remember those $700 capacitors and inductors I mentioned earlier? I integrated a LOT of them.

What next?

AML blog 1 copySo, here we are. A few years later and several gray hairs to show for it, the Alyson AML is born. Of course, it’s true that a near field monitor retailing for the price of a Hyundai is still a narrow market. But when you tune that monitor to thrive in every real world environment outside of the studio, dress her in some pretty cabinetry, solid hardwoods, piano lacquers and the best components available, now we have something! A design within reach of most music lover’s pocketbooks. One that will also continue to thrill for years to come. You see, these are not just machines to me. They are instruments. Pieces of my industrial design should not be chosen like any other high-end speaker system. No, these are to be chosen as if purchasing a piano that will be in the family for generations to come. That is exactly what these are. Instruments. My pianos. Alyson.

Technically speaking:

AML blog 6 copyAt first glance, The Alyson is a D'Appolito design. Inside it is a whole other ball game. Some call it a MTM, or Midrange – Tweeter - Midrange design. This design configuration was created by Joseph D'Appolito as a way of correcting the inherent lobe tilting of a typical mid-tweeter (MT) configuration, at the crossover frequency. I opted to spend the design hours and Doe-Ray-Me on a time-aligned configuration (Which is featured in all JWM designs). In this arrangement as is found in my smaller NET-1 design, the loudspeaker uses one shallow wave guide loaded driver, a mid-range (or mid-woofer/woofer) for the low frequencies and a shallow horn loaded, ring radiating tweeter for the higher frequencies, with the tweeter being placed above the other larger drivers. The configuration desires 3rd order (18 dB/oct or 60 dB/dec) crossover allowing the drivers to have similar horizontal dispersion, resulting in the absence of any sudden change in directivity with frequency.

X-Over FX2Since it is rare for a tweeter and mid-range (or woofer) to have their diaphragms or acoustic centers in the same physical plane, sound waves emitted by them (of the same frequency) will not reach a particular listening position in the on-axis plane at the same time. Conversely, the MT or TM combination's on-axis plane is not coincident with the physical on-axis plane - it is tilted w.r.t. the physical plane. (Say that 10 times as fast as you can.) The overall effect is that at the crossover frequency (when both drivers are reproducing the same frequency) the sound from both drivers does not acoustically sum ideally at the on-axis listening position. There will, however, be some off-axis listening position where the acoustic sum is ideal - but the listening position itself may be such that it is not practical. Thus, with a typical TM or MT loudspeaker where the drivers are not time-aligned, the main lobe is tilted away from the horizontal.

The direction in which the lobe tilts (i.e., the vertical orientation or angleTM Lobe Methods of the lobe) is a function of the difference or offset between the acoustic centers of the two drivers. In order to remedy this effect, a great deal of measurement and listening must take place. Correcting the time alignment in JWM speakers is not necessarily to achieve a perfect dead center alignment. It is however, another tool in my box for tuning any given design to perform well in most rooms. How often do you sit directly in front of your speakers and perfectly in line with their acoustic center? Never you say? I know!

So why MTM for the AML Josh?

Well, you would think when another mid-range or mid woofer is added vertically and symmetrically opposite to the existing one, the result is that the tilted on-axis plane gets corrected such that the differences between the mid woofer and tweeter planes become immaterial - the on-axis plane is always w.r.t. the tweeter's center. Sure, it makes sense all right. But, time is not always on our side.

X-Over FX3The design requires that the two mid woofers are in exactly the same plane, and exactly the same distance from the tweeter - which is much easier to do physically than in the crossover. Up until recently, there has been a price to pay for this - although the MTM's on-axis response is near perfect, its radiation pattern or main lobe can be much narrower than that of the MT or TM configuration. As a result, the off-axis response (i.e., response at locations vertically away from exactly opposite the tweeter) should be much weaker. There can be obvious and discernible change in tonality at the crossover as one's listening height relative to the tweeter changes, and the effect is perceived more as the listener moves closer to the loudspeaker. In the Alyson AML and many other designs, this is corrected by (1) mounting the mid woofers as close to the tweeters as possible (so that the listening distance is much larger than the distance between the drivers) and (2) operating the mid woofers and tweeter in quadrature, i.e., achieved by ensuring that the tweeter lags the mid woofer by 90° in phase at the crossover frequency, and this in turn can be achieved if the crossover has a 3rd order Butterworth characteristic. To achieve the smallest distance betweenX-Over FX1 the mids and tweeters requires the drivers to have the smallest possible size - but there are design limitations to this (lowest mid-range frequency, for example, will place a lower limit to the mid's diameter). As you see in the Alyson AML, this small driver issue is not a problem, for there is a third way. (3) In conjunction with the other aforementioned methods, I also use the magic of wave guides and shallow horns to not only increase the width of the lobe, but much, much more. I can create a deeper stage effect, more focused dispersion pattern and a faster presentation. In addition the efficiency is increased substantially with the use of these wave guides. Voila!

What is on the inside counts most:AML blog 14 copy

I mentioned the inside of the Alyson AML being a whole other ball game. This is true. Not only does the shape play a crucial role in the design, so do the inside baffles, materials, and damping. In concert, (pun intended) the combination of all the above elements are tuned to the specific task of helping each other compress and release the back pressure of air within the cabinet. These elements must do so without one affecting the others performance through stray vibrations or standing waves within the interior chambers. This also is true of the driver components and electronics attached to the speakers. All work as one.

Let’s start with her curves baby:

There is a graceful curve to both the AML blog 8 copyNet-1 and Alyson AML. In almost all curved cabinet speakers, the initial idea is to avoid standing waves between parallel surfaces inside the cabinet. This is true in my designs. This is but one reason for my utilization of the concept. The curved design also allows me to compress the back wave of the drivers into separate band pass chamAML blog 4 copybers (two in this case) tuned to any frequency I desire. The most obvious drawback to most designers would be the speed of the rear exhaust being out of phase with the front of the speaker. You may have heard the effect in your average boom car going down the street. ONE NOTE BASS, SLOW AND OUT OF SYNC. Well, if you treat the port as an extension to the interior chambers and utilize it as a transmission line, it seems to speed things up and increase the overall efficiency of the lower frequencies! Voilà! What we have is a band pass transmission line design in a compact architecture. It gets way more complicated, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Make it beautiful inside and out:AML blog 13 copy

I cannot stress enough the importance of the materials used in not only musical instruments, but musical speakers as well! After all, they do the same thing don’t they? At least they should. You would not expect a melamine violin to sound like the padauk one in first chair. Or a cardboard bass drum to have the same attack as the shaped maple beauty on the marching field. Thus, you will find no cardboard or melamine in my machines. What you will find is carefully chosen materials. These materials are selected for their damping abilities, resonant characteristics and so much more. My background in the visual arts and industrial design demand that materials I select must also sing to the eye. You would think it stops there, but no. Even the finish plays a crucial role in the overall sound of the machine. Just the specific lacquer used on a violin is crucial to its tone, so is true of the speaker. The bonus of this approach is obvious. The combination of art, audio and design create a product that will satisfy on a multitude of levels for many years to come.

Baffles, materials and taming the shrew:AML blog 15 copy

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Internally, all kinds of things take place that produce vibration and resonance. Some of these effects are desirable, some are not. I have spent a great deal of time deciding which should be exploited in my designs. I have spent equally as much energy in the pursuit of taming all of them with as little material as possible. Those materials are extremely important though. In some cases, even more essential than the cabinets themselves. Each has been selected from numerous manufactures for their ability to do precisely what I need them to do. No more, no less. Efficiency is the name of the game when taming resonance.

Compressed and layered wings ready for finish

The curved cabinets and stand wing components are made from the same materials and finished in the same way as well. The reason for this was to create a symbiotic relationship between the stand and speaker cabinet. Both components have nearly the same mass and surface area, thus react to vibration in the same way. The shape of both allow for any unwanted stray resonance to be channeled silently down through the stand and terminate in the lower plate. In the rare case any further damping is required; the choice of spiked feet couples the units to the floor and bleeds the vibration away.

People and parrots like shiny things:AML blog 17 copy

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When it comes to the finish on the speakers and stands, I spare no expense. The bodies of the system and stand wings use a 12 layer process, followed by a 6 step polishing regiment. I utilize the latest conversion varnish technology. Each layer is sprayed, dried and sanded. The final coat is then sanded several times down to 3,000 grit. Next, final polishing begins. Polishing is also a labor of love and takes a minimum of 2 compounds before final polishing. This not only provides a durable and long lasting finish, it allows for a deep and rich mirror finish that rivals any piano manufacturer’s proprietary technique. The possibilities are endless as far as solid colors, but if the end user wishes, I can custom match any top finish with automotive lacquers and/or clear coated bases. As long as the damping factor of the coats fit within my acoustic parameters, I’m ready to play!!!

AML blog 18 copyAML blog 20 copyThe hardwood components of these systems are treated in the same way. Hardwoods are picked first for their acoustic properties, then beauty. Form must follow function in this case, but in every case thus far, the two have worked together perfectly. The very same 12 step process is used in the finishing of the hard wood components. Rather than using pigmented primers and bases, as in the body and wings, I use crystal clear sanding and leveling materials to start. Again, each layer must be dried, sanded and inspected before the next. The end result is worth every bit of sweat. Don’t forget, I can create these in any hardwood you wish, as long as it fits within my parameters of the ideal acoustic wood. No, Balsa will not work! Lol…

AML blog 19 copyIn the near future, I will be adding more visual options to each line of speakers. This will include custom veneers, hardwoods and a rainbow of colors to choose from. Depending on demand, I may also choose to keep custom automotive finishes on hand as standard practice. Stay tuned!

The bottom line of the Alyson AML:

My mission was threefold. First, to create a fast and efficient MTM design, utilizing a transmission line and band pass cabinet layout. Second, to provide many options to the end user in finishes and wood. Yes, a high “Wife Factor” coefficient is always a plus! There, I said it. They are easy on the eyes! Third, I believe it important to have my machines HAND MADE and manufactured in the USA! Yes, I have some parts made in Germany, Canada and Denmark, but I feel there is no manufacturer in the US for those certain parts, that can meet my demand for perfection. "YET"! As soon as that is possible, ALL of these systems in my collection will be made here at home in Hawaii. I feel satisfied that I have exceeded my objectives and confident that the listener will agree. As I said in the beginning of this post, These machines are to be picked as if they were a piano for your family. After all, I build them to last for many generations.

Alyson Aml...

Thank you,

Joshua W. Miles

Specifications: Frequency Response: 35-35,000Htz Short term max. power: 600 Watts Long term max. power: 450 Watts X-Over frequency: 2,500Htz Impedance: 4 Ohms Sensitivities: 89dB SPL Recommended amplifier: 40-400 Watts

Questions and Inquiries:

All questions and inquiries, including pricing can be directed to the fallowing addresses. All dealers are also welcome to call at any time. Systems will be available in person as well as at select locations in the very near future. Also, stay tuned for my personal on-line shop as well!

Joshua W. Miles Designs LLC PO BOX 944 Kailua, HI 96744 (808)349-6661 (808)421-9991

Special Thanks:

I would like to send a special and warmhearted thank you to Thorben Wuttke. Owner and master woodworker for Honolulu Furniture Co. Without your MAD SKILLS and exceptional taste, these machines would still be just a scribble on a bar napkin. Much Mahalo!!!AML blog 22 TW



  1. AES 74th Convention, September 1983
  1. "Article by Rane discussing the Linkwitz-Riley crossover, time-alignment, lobing and correction of lobe tilt in TM or MT speaker configurations."
  1. "Biro Technology article showing lobe correction with MTM loudspeaker configuration, and other analyses"
  2. "Biro Technology article, section 3"

Hiking Hawaii: Likeke Falls Trail to Ho’o’maluhia Botanical Gardens: Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii.

This is a nice moderate to experienced level hike.  Points of interest include, Pali Tunnel, Likelike Falls, Old Pali Road (cobblestone) Likelike Tunnel, under the H3, Ho'o'maluhia Botanical Gardens and more. Truth be told, this hike is about the hunt more than anything!!!! Hunt for what you ask? Ahhhh, wait and see… Distance: 4.13Mi. Elevation: 467ft.-780ft.-160ft. Time: 3.75 hours. Water consumption: 51oz. Caloric output: Who cares… Difficulty: 1.8-3.0 Geo Cache: 4-5

Way points: Parking 1: 21°22'24.77"N 157°47'32.74"W Parking 2: 21°23'47.37"N 157°48'27.34"W Trail head 1: 21°22'21.74"N 157°47'32.69"W Trail head 2: 21°23'46.54"N 157°48'28.16"W A: Trail split. 21°22'11.48"N 157°47'30.04"W B: Pali Falls. 21°22'6.89"N 157°47'33.08"W C: Huge Mango. 21°22'14.33"N 157°47'45.82"W D: View. 21°22'24.37"N 157°48'7.67"W E: View 2. 21°22'34.00"N 157°48'21.95"W F: Bench. 21°22'41.56"N 157°48'33.77"W G: Bridge. 21°23'6.28"N 157°48'42.18"W H: Road. 21°23'18.96"N 157°48'33.91"W

You know, on Oahu, we have many micro climates that create just as many types of trails. From the arid desert like, to the tropical rain forest and everything in between. At certain times of the year, I tend to consistently gravitate to different types of trails. For example, in the dry summertime, I am drawn toward the more tropical and lush jungle hike. During the rainy season this same pull leads me to the more arid and exposed hikes. Perhaps it is because the trail conditions are better suited for these seasonal changes and influence my desires as they are pertaining to a nature “Fix”. Perhaps it is because the temperature on the hike draws me in. Could it be the beauty of the trails somehow subliminally tells me where the MOST beauty will be found at a given time of year? I tend to think it is the nature of man to have his primal side gravitate to the areas that will provide the greatest wealth of nourishment. Perhaps this primal magnetism to an area will give forth the feeling of a greater amount of safety while in one season or another. At this time of year for example, I am truly drawn to the wealth of yummy treats that are fruiting at the base of the Ko’o’lau mountains. One can literally feast for days in these areas without ever leaving the woods. If you are one for hygiene, and the thought of not showering for day’s turns you off, this too is not a problem! The plethora of natural water sources as well as an abundance of Shampoo Ginger is all that is needed to smell like strawberries 24 hours a day! That is a good thing for you never know who you will run into out there in the jungle. (I’m searching for a Jane.) I can almost smell the Guava before opening my eyes on hike day! My belly tells me, “HUNT JOSH! HUNT!” Or, “GET OUT OF BED AND PICK THE FRUIT BEFORE THE TOURISTS EAT IT ALL”!!!!!!

So what’s on the menu today. Josh? Free tropical edibles no doubt! For starters, feast your eyes and belly on the glorious Strawberry Guava. If you time it correctly, you could fill a back-pack in minutes flat. These tiny morsels of goodness range in size from the golf ball to lemon. As a matter of fact, the lemon colored ones are what you seek. Especially the ones with a smooth and waxy appearance to the skin. You will find these are the ones with the richest pink and strawberry color to the interior. They are juicy, seedy, and delicious. You can eat the whole thing including the skin, but most people slurp out the inside middle, and discard the husk. You will find them on large shrubs as well as small trees. I can’t tell you which produces the finer fruit though. You will need to discover your own taste. Don’t worry about taking as much as you want, for they are an invasive species and the more you eat the more they stay in control. Bon Appetite!

The second course on the menu is nothing less than the wild mountain apple! Mmmmmm!!! Can you say “JAM SANWICHES”?!?!?! The best on earth can be had in this section of the island, so you better bring an extra satchel. What can one say about this yummy fruit? Mountain apples grow on larger trees than the guava for starters. You will recognize the long spindly trunks reminiscent of the ficus tree. The thin skinned fruits look like slightly elongated, slightly pear-shaped apples. I like to think of their shape as an edible Fabergé egg! Their flesh is crisp and white with red streaks and mottling. Much like an apple, but instead of the green on young specimens, it is replaced by white and pink. In the spring, you will recognize the pinkish-red powder puff flowers they produce. So many in fact that in some cases the trails literally turn pink and purple! Makes me feel like I’m in a scene from Pandora. I don’t even do drugs and this is sooo cool!!! Enjoy your lunch!!!!

Oh the wild Avocado. Oh the wild avocado. What do I say but "Oh the wild avocado"? I do believe I have only met one person in my life that could turn down a fresh avocado, a spoon and a comfortable place to enjoy it slowly. Last I heard, that individual was currently taking up residence in the dregs of some government run mental healthcare facility in the middle of some third world country. Bamboo under fingernails seems to ring a bell in his last post card. Oh boy. We take these trees pretty seriously around these parts. Not often will a local share the locale of their favorite tree. I am one of those greedy bastards so; allow me to simply whet your appetite with the unobtainable. HA!!!! I have spotted at least 5 varieties of what I refer to as the “Fruit of the Gods”. Each one has its own unique characteristic that suits a different method of preparation, presentation and yes, “MOOD”. When you are lucky enough to find a tree in the throws of birth, don’t be too picky as to the species before you. One must allow the tree to dictate the “MOOD” and meal that is sure to follow. Chances are, you may only find one tree initially. If you pass it by, the gods may deny you another. The tree in question today is what I like to call a “Banana Lime Cream Pie”. This is the best way to describe the creamy meat within this lime colored and waxy beauty. This particular tree yields fruit that is difficult to slice, so it is better suited for the mushed and guacamole type preparation. It may be hard to believe, but there is really no need to artificially enhance the flavor in any way whatsoever. There is a slight hint of lime to the back flavor in this particularly sweet specimen today. Alone, or spread on a fresh toasted French loaf, you are certain to need a change of undergarment upon first taste. The kick in the initial power of a wild avocado will instantly change your life and perception of what a “REAL” avocado is all about. DO NOT take this experience lightly. Instead, take your time and “PICK” wisely, for this you will remember most on this hike. I wish you luck on your hunt for this miracle of culinary nirvana and God speed….

For desert, shall we have papaya? Why not. For the lucky few million who actually like this fruit, well, you’re in luck. Along this trail, you will find a few scattered trees throughout the jungle. I never had a taste for them, but I can never help but to smile when I come across a tree that has come to full term in its pregnancy. What was God thinking when He made such a “Well Hung” fallacy such as this? HAHAHA!!! My word! OK, I’ll curb my enthusiasm for jokes that include terms like “Balls” and “Well Hung”…. LOL! All kidding aside, this is a wonderful find this time of year if you so desire a taste for the tropical. The wild papaya is also a great addition to a crisp salad at the end of the day. Sure to refresh the spirit. Did I mention that wild papaya is also an aphrodisiac? LOL!!!!! Mmmmmmm…. Nuff said… Oh boy! I forgot the Mango!!! You will find TONS of them out here. The trees vary in size from the small bush to the absolutely massive tree. Most will take some climbing to get to. A picker is a useful tool for sure. They can be had at most hardware stores for about $15.00 Before wasting your hard earned cash though, you may want to find your own special tree and wait till she starts to drop. When the fruit turns a slightly purple color is best. The skin takes on velvet like appeal. Not fuzzy, just dreamy. ENJOY!!!

After all this hiking and fruit picking, you are sure to be smelling a bit, well, let’s say “RIPE”! No problem. Shampoo ginger is plentiful and will wash away all your problems. ngiber zerumbet Sm.(Awapuhi), or the shampoo ginger has a long history as a medicinal plant in the islands. It also has been used as an addition to the mountain apple as a flavor enhancer. Want to have your taste buds go wild? Squeeze just a few drops of the juice into your apple and prepare for a treat. For many years, this delight has also been pounded into a salve to be placed on a sore muscle, wound, or teething baby’s gums. There is a numbing effect that can also be felt on the scalp when used as an actual shampoo. Not only this, but it will make even the nastiest arm pit smell like a Paul Sassoon massage room and salon. Sniff, sniff… All I know about the preparation for my needs is to squeeze the protruding bud from the flower and collect the sudsy-like substance. If you bring along a vial, or container of some sort, you can easily take home a few ounces to add to your bath water. Talk about the “Real Deal”. This is some great stuff! Your significant other should thank me… Sniff, sniff…

Believe me, there are many more treats to be had out here in the Ko’o’lau Mountains, but I was supposed to be writing a “HIKING BLOG”! How about we get on with it then? Oh yea, one more thing. Flowers. Lots of flowers out here. The one I adore the most is the Wild Orchid. How such a solitary and gorgeous flower can exist stuns me every time I stumble across her. Without warning and in the middle of nowhere, there she will be. Even in the midst of some jungle catastrophe like a fallen and wind struck tree, or rock slide, there in the middle, a single flower will stand. With a bold neon green trunk and long rain collecting leaves, she can tower above the jungle floor as high as 4 and 5 meters and flaunt blossoms as proud and wide as a rare Czechoslovakian Crystal serving platter. Purple and blue, pink and yellow, chartreuse and mauve, you will never know the colors of which the forest will spawn today. Tomorrow, the colors will change again. Take your time and enjoy the rarest jewels in the kingdom. PLEASE DON’T PICK THEM! If I have to explain why, you don’t belong here anyway….

The trail:

We begin our journey in the very same spot where we began the Old Pali Trail hike I wrote about before. The parking lot of the Ko’o’lau Golf course/First Pres. Church is a suitable place to leave car #1. Car #2 should be left outside the gates to the Ho’o’Maluhia Botanical Gardens. The trail can be trekked from either direction. I don’t have a preference other than it is nice to finish the trail with a bath in the falls with fresh shampoo ginger. After this a Mai-Tai at Honey’s bar and grill would be in order. (AKA “The 19th Hole”) For the purpose of this blog we will begin at the Golf Couse and end in the gardens. Go figure… (I felt like a taco this day) At the end of the parking lot, you will find a dirt road (Usually chained) heading up to a water storage tank. Follow it up to about 30 feet from the tank. You will see a trail leading into the wood on your left. This is your start. Follow it up and in about a few hundred feet you will find yourself on an ancient rock path. Actually, I am told this is a wall you are walking on that extends 10 -30 feet or so below the surrounding soil. The forest buried most of it. These were stalls of some sort used to corral pigs and other animals of the forest by the indigenous of old. Hmmmm…

In a short while, the rock path will widen. If you look to the right, you will see a large autograph tree. Step down onto the trail to your right and head that direction. The trail will narrow and twist about. Plenty of Kukui nuts are all over the ground! Some call them candle nuts. When exploring the lava tubes and caves, people of old would crack open the seed and place it on the end of a stick, or in a banana leaf. The oil content is very high and when lit can slowly burn for hours. The smell of the flame is not the most pleasant, so I’ll stick to a Mag Light thank you. Then again, if you get caught out here at night, well, when in Rome…

Guess what? You made it to the falls in less than ½ hour! That was easy! Obviously these are not the most spectacular falls on the island, but they are stunning. No, there will be no cliff diving into an emerald pool at this location. What there will be is a peaceful experience. Sit and watch. At some time, people began placing rocks around the upper and lower pools. This has created a dammed up wall around them deep enough to lie in and enjoy a mountain apple and a juice! Take your time here and take a few pictures as well.

Back to the trail. Simply continue down the trail past the falls. Welcome to “Ginger Land”! For the next ½ mile or so, you will be passing through about 3 species of ginger. That shampoo type can be had in here as well. Smells sweet…

Continue along the trail for a long time now. It will twist and turn in and out of the valleys. You will pass through all of the fruiting trees I spoke of earlier. Some areas are dense and tropical, while others out on the edge of the fingers will be dry and arid. You get a bit of both on this one for sure. Keep in mind though; there are areas where there is a tremendous amount of fern growth. The trail tends to be deceptive in these areas. It would appear as though the trail is wide, but au contraire. The down-hill side of the trail can be just that. A steep downhill no less. Do not step out onto the ferns, or you could end up simply disappearing into it. Like quick sand with a hard thump at the bottom. In other words, be mindful and aware of your steps.

Plenty of views can be had from here. Especially down onto one of the world’s most difficult golf courses. Ko’o’lau is ranked as perhaps the most difficult PGA course as a matter of fact. If you ever play there, and I highly recommend it, bring like a bazillion balls!!!! You will need them…

Soon you will find yourself at “THE BENCH”. This is a small stick bench that some awesome soul built. I can’t tell you how comfortable it is after the trek you have been on. Kick off your shoes and pull out a taco for lunch! You did bring tacos didn’t you? “LUNCH TIME”!!! Take a look at the views of Kaneohe Bay as well. This is a great perspective. You are sitting above Ho’o’Maluhia Botanical Gardens. The lake is in the distance. Ultimately, you will be emerging from the trail near there.

After taco time, you need to continue down into the forest. Again, there will be a more tropical feel to the trail. Soon enough, you will begin to emerge onto old service roads and signs of civilization. Just continue on and eventually, you will find yourself at a huge highway (H-3). Your goal is to find a route under the bridge to the other side. When you do find this passage, it is obvious. Huge pillars and concrete spires above. Dark and moist.  Kind of creepy if you ask me.

Along the way, you will see orange and pink trail markers to keep you going in the correct direction. Along a fence, around a corner, onto a service road you go. Eventually, you will be dumped out onto the main road for the botanical gardens. A short stroll later you will be at the gate where you parked your car. “WHEW” You did it!

Now, I seem to remember something about a taco. Off to the market!

Happy trails Ya’ll!!! JWM

Mariner’s Ridge Hike/Kaluanui Ridge Trail: Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii.

Big Update: So it would seem that Kamehameha Schools (via Kekoa Paulsen Director Community Relations & Communications Group) has closed this trail to the public. Word on the street is that they simply got tired of the neighbors complaining about the traffic on the street each weekend. In my opinion, I believe there is a better way to handle such things than simply closing the trail. That is like brain surgery with a machete rather than a scalpel. None the less, they did it and put up a big ugly fence to drive the point home. Keys were given to several hiking groups though. (Hmmm, REALLY?)

Not only have they done this, They have also informed bloggers such as myself to cease and desist any mention of this hike and or any others that may be on there property. (OR PASS OVER for that matter) REALLY? I hope they realize the thousands of books, blogs, papers, videos maps and published media they will need to reach with this madness. Impossible.

They claim that they are trying to protect the aina, but isn't that always the story? Also the danger involved. I'm sorry, but that simply never works in the hiking community either.  Besides, the trails that get the most injuries are not on this side of the island. Oh well... Now, after hearing this, the for mentioned individual made a comment that Kamehameha Schools is simply trying to inform the public of the fact that they own the land the trails are on. REALLY? OK, you own it! Thanks for letting us know and see ya on the trails!!!

I did my part. Thanks!

Well, hello again Hikers! Want to get a good workout with a treat? Well then, this hike is a hoot and sure to please. The treat you seek is a fabulous view. You may even burn a few calories and work up an appetite for a taco later!!!! (I HIKE FOR TACOS!)Distance: 2.57Mi. Elevation: 760ft.-1,599ft.-760ft. Time: 2.5 hours. Water consumption: 32oz. Caloric output: 800-1,100 calories depending on pace. Difficulty: 1.8-3.0 Geo Cache: 4-5 Way points: Parking: 21°18'13.20"N 157°42'8.60"W Trail head: 21°18'17.76"N 157°42'4.80"W A: first breather. 21°18'21.84"N 157°42'10.94"W B: Wonderful view. 21°18'38.72"N 157°42'15.87"W C: Wonderful view 2. 21°18'49.54"N 157°42'23.45"W D: View to Waimanalo. 21°18'59.80"N 157°42'23.48"W E: View the other way. 21°19'0.76"N 157°42'20.94"W

Two mountain ranges exist on Oahu. One is the Waianae Range and the other is the Ko'olau Range. A plethora of trails, mostly accessible from the leeward (west-facing) side of the island, extend to the summit of the Ko'olaus.

Mariner’s Ridge hike or Kaluanui Ridge Trail could be the easiest and shortest ridge hike to the Ko’olau summit. Conveniently located near the island's southeastern tip in the Mariner’s ridge community, this is a kid and pet friendly hike. Follow Kaluanui road in Hawaii Kai all the way up and park before the dead end. There is a shingled house on the right, that a lot of folks call the “gingerbread house.” I never see anyone there though. Perhaps they would sell it to me and I could manage the trail! We could never figure out why there is a “No Trespassing” sign at the entrance to the trail. This WAS a public hike and not limited to Mariner Ridge residents only. Or am I mistaken? Who cares, arrest us!!! (OR NOT!)

Ready? Let’s go! The trail is dusty and rocky in the initial section as it switchbacks to gain elevation and leaves the residential area behind. If you are a runner, this is a great section to get the blood flowing and the heart a pump’n.  As you start your way up the rocky and dirt trail, you can see Koko Crater looming in your rear view. The higher you go, the more it becomes visible. Don’t worry about shooting a picture yet. It gets better. When you reach the top of the dry dirty section look to the left and you can see Hahaione Valley, Kuapa Pond and Koko Head. Now you can catch your breath and shoot that picture!  After ten to fifteen minutes of hiking, you will notice that the trail has become cooler and more forested, with pines and ironwoods being the predominant species along the way.

Due to the short distance (1.5 miles to the top) and good condition of the route, the trail is well-hiked, so if you seek a solitary, secluded hiking experience this is not the trail for you. Check out a few of my other hike blogs and find one that suits this better. Since this area is one of the drier ones on the island, this trail can be a good choice when rain is falling on other parts of the island. As is the case with all Oahu trails, slippery conditions will exist when rains hit, so practice good hiking safety. I have done this one in a torrential down pour though. It was actually not too bad. A bit slippy in places, but all in all it made it a cool and breezy hike.

The rewards (treats) at the summit are excellent views of the windward side of Oahu. Directly below is the community of Waimanalo and its farms and rural residences. You can also see all the way to Kailua and the Marine Corps Base Hawaii on a clear day.

While it is possible to hike along the summit to the left and right of the trail terminus, I do not advise this unless you are hiking with someone who has experience along these routes. A big part of hiking safety is knowing where you are going and what you might be getting yourself into. I have done these trails before and do recommend them, but again, be careful. I will write about these treks soon and will put a higher difficulty rating for these sections. Stay tuned!

Spend all the time you want at the summit. Bring a cool drink and a picnic lunch or snack and enjoy your time there. On a few occasions, I have stumbled upon some pretty elaborate picnics in progress up here. Wine cheese and all the fix’ns! Funny, never had a taco on top though. Hmmmm, I have an idea! “Mariner’s Tacos”!!!!

OK, head back the way you came. Easy as it gets! Man, I’m hungry…

Happy trails ya’ll!!!!


Kuli’ou’ou Valley Hike: Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii.

A short and sweet hike with plenty of bliss.Distance: 1.44Mi. Add .66Mi. if you take the falls trail cut off.Elevation: 242ft.-582ft.-242ft. Time: 46m.-1.5 hours. Add 1 hour if you take the falls trail cut off. Water consumption: 12oz. Caloric output: 150-400 calories depending on pace. Difficulty: 1.8-2.4 Geo Cache: 1Way points: Parking: 21°18'11.77"N 157°43'27.39"W Trail head: 21°18'12.44"N 157°43'27.59"W A: Trail and hunter’s check in box. 21°18'15.23"N 157°43'27.85"W B: Trail split and boot brush. 21°18'23.31"N 157°43'28.07"W C: River bed. 21°18'44.24"N 157°43'32.78"W Hidden falls: 21°18'51.49"N 157°43'31.87"WNormally I have a bunch of jargon to pepper my hike blogs. For this one, not so much. If you are looking for a short, sweet hike into the woods with little physical impact, this is a great spot.

 Don’t get me wrong, the short nature of this hike (and blog) must not detour you from taking a few moments of your weekend or end of day exercise routine. The Kuli’ou’ou Valley Trail Enters a lush exotic forest. I love these types of hikes. I especially like hikes when the trail parallels a stream bed such as this one. Eventually, the trail will lead you to the head of the valley where if you are lucky, you will find a cute little waterfall. When the valley is dry though, only moss will greet you on the cliffs. Still beautiful either way. This is a shaded, pastoral hike with an abundance of moss covered rocks along the way.

The posted trailhead is located at the end of a cul-de sac at the end of Kalaau Pl. Begin your trek at the end of the circle. Walk down the paved road for about 50 yards or so. You will see a footpath that leads up to the right. Also, you will find a clearly marked sign for the trail system. For safety, there has been a hunter’s sign in station mailbox installed. You may want to sign the sheet in the box and tell the world which trail you will be taking. Sounds silly to some, but you never know. Just do it. On your way out, sign out. Simple.

From here, head north up the trail. In about 0.2 miles, you will find a split in the trail. Your mission is to head straight ahead. (North) The trail up to the right (Northeast) heads up to the Kuli’ou’ou ridge line. I will be mapping this trail and writing about it in the near future. Look around at this point and you will see a set of built-in boot brushes so you can scrape off any noxious weed seeds you may have picked up on your way in. PLEASE try to protect Hawaii’s native vegetation in this area. Take your time and pick off any Kling-on buggers as well. THANK YOU!!!!!

OK, the trail meets the (usually) dry stream bed in about 0.8 miles. All along the way though, you will be paralleling it. The entire trail is lined with strawberry guava trees and dense ferns. LISTEN!!!! Can you hear them?!?!?!?! Yup, if you are lucky and patient, you are most certain to hear the melodious song of the Shama Thrush. If you are really good, you may even see one. SHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh...

After 1 mile of bliss, you will see a couple of tall Cairns that will guide you to the other side of the stream bed. Beyond this point, the trail is not maintained and will become muddy, brushy and at times ridiculously tedious. If you so desire, this rout will take you to the back of the valley where you will end in a beautiful waterfall. Well, at least when it is raining. Otherwise the falls are just a trickle but still worth the adventure. Just knowing hardly any one ventures in this far is satisfaction enough for me. Ahhhhh, alone…..

OK!!!!! Time for a taco!!!!! Head back the way you came. It should not take you too long. The whole hike is only about 40 min. to 1.5 hours.

Enjoy and as always, “HAPPY TRAILS YA’LL”!!!!!!


Hike Hawaii: Old Pali Road, Pali Lookout, and Morgan’s Corner. Kaneohe/Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

It never ceases to amaze me how Mother Nature ALWAYS takes back what is Her’s. This hike is a perfect example. In fifty years, (since the Pali road was closed) the elements have taken their toll on the road. Plants have started to crowd the old asphalt and concrete, narrowing the path considerably. There are trees that have literally begun to grow through the old cement and concrete. Believe it or not, I noticed several places that the trees were literally holding up parts of the road. I could be wrong about this, but it sure would appear to be the case. Rest assured, I’m sure the trees will do a better job and for longer, than some of the degrading concrete structures I saw. Distance: 3.44 Miles Elevation: 466’-1,208’-466’ Time: 2Hours 10 Minutes Caloric output: About 1 crispy chicken sandwich and a Jr. Burger. Liquids: 42Oz. Geocache: 3-5

Way points: Parking: 21°22'22.77"N 157°47'32.32"W Trail head: 21°22'22.31"N 157°47'30.68"W Alt. trail head 1: 21°22'25.98"N 157°46'54.46"W Alt. trail head 2: 21°22'36.22"N 157°47'25.50"W A: Old Electric station. 21°22'22.61"N 157°47'21.34"W B: View of the roads above. 21°22'16.61"N 157°47'18.79"W C: Morgan’s Corner. 21°22'11.56"N 157°47'17.21"W D: Urban Art. 21°22'11.78"N 157°47'8.95"W E: Under the bridge. 21°22'10.31"N 157°47'5.98"W F: Fork, stay right. 21°22'9.11"N 157°47'5.64"W G: Cut off to falls. 21°22'5.51"N 157°47'16.60"W Hidden falls: 21°22'1.32"N 157°47'18.06"W Pali Lookout: 21°22'1.41"N 157°47'35.19"W

I can’t help but to imagine how the trek in an old model “T” would have been like on this route through the Koolau Mountains. The road was often narrow enough already. I get goose pimples just looking at it and contemplating what it must have been like, back in the early 1900s. Puttering up what was sometimes just a narrow one-lane road, with a cliff to your left or right and a hundred-foot drop to your right and left. Unlike more modern roads, the Old Pali Road was built hugging the side of the slope but typically not actually cut into it. In places it’s supported by huge concrete columns. Fantastic it would have been! Especially the downhill sections where wheels locked and ski slope like maneuvers would be normal. Now I can take my mountain bike instead and go wild!!!! Thanks Mother Nature!!!!

Even though I’ve been to the Pali Lookout like a bazillion times, and traveled the Pali Highway hundreds of times more, I’ve never taken enough time to walk up and down that old road. I had never taken an entire day to just stroll casually along and really notice the changes nature can make to our “HI-TECH” ways. Today, and a few times more this week, I was curious enough to do just that. I hope you will do the same one day!

The road starts out in pretty good shape, considering that it hasn’t been driven on for almost fifty years. But soon enough I found signs that this wasn’t an official road any longer. For one thing, there were rocks on the roadway. Big ones. Like the size of a VW! Some of the masonry was quite old as well. Around Honolulu, I’m used to seeing the occasional WPA-era Bridge, dated 1937 or so, but I thought that a 1919 date was pretty unusual. I wonder who E.J.L. was? You know, all in all, I’m not sure our newfangled “HI-TECH.” roads can compare to this! Especially the bridges. I find them beautiful. Sturdy. Made to last. Real… Let’s go see more!

On the map, I have indicated in blue, some alternative starting points for this trek. As always, in red is the route that I prefer and talk about here. Feel free to explore these other routes and let me know your thoughts! There are days’ worth of exploring to be done out here and a gazillion stories ready to be heard.

“WE GO”!!!! I like to start at the Koolau Country Club Golf Paradise and First Pres. Church parking lot. Why? Because my car is safe and there are several other trails that can be accessed from here. The 7 trillion cats that live in the trees are a hoot as well! If you feel so inclined, Honey’s is the restaurant in the clubhouse that can be enjoyed before or after the hike. I feel like I’m a celebrity outdoors man who gets to go back to the club after a day shoot in the amazon jungle. (Like Bear Grill actually sleeps out there and eats grubs for Sunday Brunch) Like “Hey”! Why not! “I’ll have the Eggs Benny and a Mimosa please and would you happen to have a hose to wash the mud off my Alfani’s”?!?!?! “T” Time!!!!!!!!!!

Just off the parking lot, you will find a break in the bushes. This is where you want to be. There is a set of built in stairs that will aid in your decent on to the old road. From the lot, you will also see a service road up from where you are parked. This is another trail I will write about on another blog. For now, we go the other way. When you get to the old road, head up to the right. You will find yourself on the first wonderful old bridge. It was built in 1919. I would say it looks fantastic for its age and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Up, up, up, you go. The road winds and climbs for several hundred yards from here. There are some great views to be had as well. Not only can you see down through the valley, you can also see way up to the new and old Pali roads, where you will be in about 45 minutes! Don’t believe me? Keep going then!

Eventually you will come to the famous “Morgan’s Corner”. What is that? Well, for starters, it is where I found a secret stash of avocado trees, that I WILL NOT TELL YOU ABOUT! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! WHAT AVACADOS? WHERE? Now for some history…

Morgan’s Corner and Night Marchers:

According to Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of ancient warriors. They supposedly roam large sections of the island chain, and can be seen by groups of torches. They can usually be found in areas that were once large battlefields (the Nuuanu Pali on the island of Oahu is a good example.) Legend has it that if you look a night marcher straight in the eye, you will be forced to walk among them for eternity, but if you have a relative taken by them, you will be spared. “Whew”! Hawaiians say that in the presence of night marchers, one should lie down on their stomach, face down to avoid eye contact, stay quiet, breathe shallowly, and don’t move. Some say that they may nudge you to provoke a reaction so they can take you. “JUST CHILL”!!! “THEY WILL PASS”!!! This place I take you is one of the many places the Night Marchers are said to roam.

Carrying pork over the Nuuanu Pali: A big “NO NO”!!!

Local folklore on the island of Oahu says that one should never carry pork over the Pali Highway connecting Honolulu and Windward Oahu. The stories vary, but the classic legend is that if one carries pork of any kind over the old Pali road (not the modern pali highway) by automobile, the automobile would stop at a certain point on the way and not re-start until the pork is removed from the vehicle.

  • Some versions of the story require the pork to be raw; other versions say that this happens after dark.
  • In some versions, a white dog will appear at the time the automobile stalls, and you must feed the pork to the dog to proceed.

This legend has its roots in ancient Hawaiian mythology. According to legend, the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele and the demigod Kamapua‘a (a half-man-half-pig) had a turbulent relationship, and the two agreed not to visit each other. If one takes pork over the Pali, the legend goes, one is symbolically taking a piece of Kamapua‘a from one side to the other, and it is said that Pele would stop that from happening. I can’t help but to wonder if it is OK to bring in a side of pork from Franklin’s in Austin Texas. Would I have to drive it around the Waimanalo side of the island from the airport? This would avoid the more direct rout over the Ko’olaus and the Pali. Hmmmm… There is no way I would share that pristine BBQ with any “White Ghost Dog” just to pass! Perhaps I could throw the white dog a can of Spam? I keep a few in my trunk to bribe the Menahune when I camp in Ho’omaluhea. Keeps them out of my Tacos. :)

Modern urban legends: The “REAL” scary stuff…

Morgan's Corner refers to two places on Oahu; one on the Nuuanu Pali Drive leading into Nuuanu valley above downtown Honolulu, and one in Windward Oahu below the Nuuanu Pali. It is said that the apparent spirit that haunts these places are in reference to the murder of Therese Wilder, whose residence was located on the Nuuanu Pali road in 1948. However, both of these places are connected to urban legends. Hmmm…

The story states that a girl named Brittani Lochmann from the Morgan's residence hanged herself on the tree at the end of the road. Ouch. She was lost for a couple of days and by the time she was found, her head had severed itself from her body, leaving her head hanging by the rope alone. Her head and her body were never re-attached at burial, leaving her to forever roam the Nuuanu Pali Drive. It is said that fireballs can be seen behind boulders here, and it is also said that if you sit under the tree and look up you will see a girl hanging from the branches. I have heard reports of small balls of orange light, reminiscent of torches in the distance that can be seen as well. Almost as though they were always approaching you only to vanish in an instant and re appear again at a distance. Last time I was here during the day, I sat on the wall of the bridge for a rest and some water. I would testify before a court that I heard a small girl crying just below my feet. I looked about the bridge and beneath and saw nothing. I have to admit that the sound was so convincing, I even resorted to calling out for a response from the child. My advice is just to move on and say a prayer for who it is that resides here. Legend also has it, if you're in a car you would see a big black figure sitting on the tree above you. Although the road is closed to cars now you can hike or ride a bike up the trail leading to the residence. This WILL be on my list of hikes to revisit at night!!! Any takers?!?!?

OK, back to the trail. One day I was greeted by a group of Power line workers who use Morgan’s Corner as a landing spot for their helicopter while taking a sandwich break. What a job! These guys have the life! I may quit my job and do this for a while. Cool stuff. At any rate, when you are at the “Corner”, don’t head down to the left fork. It will take you down to the new Pali Hi way. You can explore this rout another time. Instead, head up the road in front of you. Up, you go!

It is in this section you will begin to see how Mother Nature has taken her grasp on the old road. The trail narrows from time to time, yet you will notice there is actually old concrete under those rocks and dirt clods. Cool! Just keep on going around the bends and dips. Eventually you will come to some signs of old urban hieroglyphs! Yup. It turns out you are just about to venture below the new Pali Hi Way where plenty of urban artists have left their mark. I like to think of it as ancient records of a long past civilization sprawled out to be read by all for eternity. All be it these glyphs are modern in reality, they are now part of Hawaii’s history. Enjoy the art!!!

When you find yourself at a small pass through under the new Pali road, head under the structure to the other side. You will hear the cars passing over your head and it can be a bit nerve racking. No problem though! There will be an old set of stairs and latter that awaits your escape on the other side. Please take care here. The wooden structure is old and fragile, so take care in your steps.

On the other side, you will come to yet another fork in the trail. Your aim is to head up to the right. This way you will be looking down onto the Hi Way and some fabulous views! Up, up, up you go!

In and out the road winds over passes and streams. You will also see where Mother Nature has really begun her work. Trees growing through the road and fallen rocks and mud slides that have eaten much of the cement. Take your time here and enjoy the rebirth of nature. Views of the tunnels are here as well. If you look up, you will see several valleys where waterfalls scrape away at the mountain. There are trails up many of these valleys and I will mark a few for you on the map above. Others, you will need to take the time to explore on your own.

In several places along the way, one can see clusters of holes in the rocks, each about as big around as your thumb. Some think they were the remnants of blasting holes drilled during the road construction back in the 1890s. Road workers would have drilled long deep holes into the rock, packed sticks of dynamite into them, and blasted the rock away. “BOOOOM”! What we see today are the ends of the holes, left over after blasting. Personally, I like to think of these as ancient alien worm holes. You see, there is a legend originally found in the Anunnaki texts, which talk of rock worms. They travel the earth by tunneling rather than by ground. Some were the size of a pencil, others the size of a city bus and bigger! Although the “Worms” may have been extinct for over a million years, there holes can sometimes reappear during earth moving operations such as the ones necessary to build this Old Pali Road. Completely plausible as far as I am concerned.

YOU MADE IT! The Pali Lookout!

When you are at the Pali Lookout you can see the old road going down the mountain to the right. It’s a great place for walking/hiking with the family and has great views and nice breezes. When I say breezes, I mean wicked winds! This place can easily lift a few skirts and then some! Woooo Hooooo! Fun stuff!!!! This is the Windward section of the Old Pali Road, which was replaced in 1959 by the Pali Highway. I enjoy this spot for an easy afternoon hike and my favorite way to do it is obviously from the bottom up. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are some further trails that will take you to some wicked awesome places. I may write about them in a future post, but be aware that these are trails for the experienced trekkers ONLY! Just look up to either side and you will see what I mean.

Some More History:

The Pali Lookout. Oh boy. Allow me to put this in a nut shell for ya. Well, it was here that in 1795 King Kamehameha and his warriors (which consisted of a fleet of 10,000 soldiers and 960 war canoes) defeated the warriors from Oahu and its then ruler, King Kalanikupule. In doing so, Kamehameha The Great, united the Hawaiian Islands and became its first unified King. As you stand and stare out towards Kaneohe Bay, know that over 400 men were forced off the Pali’s cliff, a drop of 1,000 feet. Yes, that happened at the Pali Lookout. Now, as legend would have it, the winds that day were incredibly fierce through the valley. So fierce indeed that some of the worriers actually were blown back up the cliffs to the top, before splattering on the bottom. “Weird and wild stuff”… I can believe it. Just last week, the winds yanked the sunglasses rite off my face and sent me all willy nilly! Try eating a taco up here! SAUCE EVYWHERE!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!

OK, boys and girls. My post is over and so is this hike. When you’re ready to head out, just head on back the way you came in. Pretty simple. If you had thought ahead, you would have a warm and comfy car waiting for you in the parking lot up top. HA HA! See ya at the bottom!

Happy trails ya’ll!!!

PS: Don’t let those urban legends deter you from making this hike. It is a wonderful and magical place for sure… With hidden avocado trees!!!!!!!


Hiking Hawaii: Hanauma Bay Crater Rim and `Ihi`ihilauakea Crater. Hawaii Kai, Oahu, Hawaii.

Howdy campers! This is a good trail for a workout! Not only do you get a brisk walk up a long paved service road, but the adventurous can head off road to some amazing views.  It is not the most glorious hike at the start, but after you hit the top you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the bay. On the other side, you will be able to see all the way to Diamond Head! As you head down into the crater, the views of Hanauma bay are scrumptious. The coral reefs are crisp and clear from these rocky spots. As a back drop, who could complain about Koko Head? You can see all the way to the top of it and even the tiny ant-like hikers heading up the side in the distance. Cool stuff! Distance: 3.57 Miles  elevation: 96'-684'-107' Difficulty: 2.5-3 Terrain: 2-3 Time: 3H, 9Min, 14Sec. Caloric output: About 1 ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich and some grapes. ;-) Fluids: Approx. 42 Oz water Geo Cache: 3

Way Points: Park: 21°16'28.03"N 157°41'59.68"W Trail Head: 21°16'29.15"N 157°41'52.42"W A: Service Road 21°16'26.91"N 157°41'50.40"W B: Nice view 21°16'9.04"N 157°41'59.56"W C: Intersection 21°16'6.64"N 157°42'0.94"W D: View 21°16'3.16"N 157°42'3.72"W E: Towers 21°15'59.15"N 157°42'8.20"W F: GPS Tracking Station 21°15'53.34"N 157°42'11.86"W G: Cool view! 21°15'43.73"N 157°42'14.77"W H: Off road 21°15'45.53"N 157°42'13.55"W I: Down, down, down 21°15'50.98"N 157°42'8.34"W J: Off trail 21°15'47.79"N 157°41'48.93"W K: Heiau 21°15'51.43"N 157°41'44.95"W L: View 21°15'55.59"N 157°41'42.89"W M: Top of Mars hill 21°15'58.13"N 157°41'49.53"W I have indicated in blue on the map some side trails worth exploring.

OK! Here we go! You will want to park your car in the nearby neighborhood. (Nawiliwili St.) For those who are spending the day at Hanauma bay, parking is only a dollar and a short hike back up to the entrance of the park.  It is only a short walk to the trail head from here, or from the neighborhood.  As you head off the road and into the dirt, you want to stay going up. Eventually (about 75 yards) you will get to a service road. From this spot, you will get your first view looking down into the bay. So cool… Ok, head on up, up , up! It is not too steep, but if you are hoofing it, you may get to breathing hard. Along the way, you will find numerous spots to stop and look over the edge. You will also be able to make out some of the trails below. Some of these trails, you will be on in a while so get your bearing’s.

Towards the top, you will begin to come upon some large cell and microwave towers. Also, for you techies, there is a huge GPS tracking antenna up here. It is like a 100 yard fenced in circle with a big giant marshmallow thingy in the middle. A giant dish in the ground if you will. I wouldn’t go in there if I were you though. It looks like the kind of thing that could boil your brain if you get too close! If you continue past the towers, you can catch a great view of Diamond Head and Hawaii Kai side. Relax, enjoy and drink some water before heading down into the crater.

Back track down the road a bit until you see a steep dirt and smooth rock road heading down to your right. From here, you can see the road as it winds out to the point. Just head there. Down, down, down you go. This road is used by fishermen primarily. It is steep in a few places so watch your step. Eventually the road will begin to flatten out. There is a fork to the right that you can go down and discover some time later. For this hike, I wanted to head left into the bushes toward a hidden Heiau. On the map, I indicated where to head off. It is a small and easily missed trail. Also, the weeds and grass can get high, so some bush wacking may be necessary. Just follow the most logical direction here. Through the trees and brush, Koko Head should be ahead and up to the left at about 10:30. Your destination is a large clearing past the trees. Take your time, and watch your step.

When you get to the clearing, you are standing in a sacred spot to some. Apparently, it is the ancestral land and home to `Ihi`ihilauakea. Tread lightly as you head across the field to the opening in the distance. You may be walking on graves, so you may want to stay around the perimeter to the left. Sounds creepy, but there is a serenity about this place and it feels nice. People just seem to subliminally get quiet as they walk through this place.  Energy…

When you hit the other side, WOW!!! Look down!!! The bay is fabulous from here! You can see all the way to the point as well as to the beach at the base of the cliffs. In the distance, you can see the other point of the bay. I will head out there soon and give you an update in a few weeks.

I can see why those people lived here so many years ago. There is everything one needs. Land to cultivate, sun, rain, and all the reef fish one could desire in an amazing and beautiful bay. A safe vantage point all the way down the side of the island is a plus as well. I wonder if I can build a house here? Hmmmm…

Time to head out. Up, up, up you go. Just to the right of the heiau entrance, you will see a big Mars like hill side. The ground under your feet is red volcanic sand with many types of igneous rocks strewn about. I find it beautiful.  Yup, that’s where you need to head. After you reach the peak of this hill, you will see the trail in the distance that takes you back up to the road. Up, up, up…

The rest is obvious. When you hit the road you came in on, just head down, down, down…

Have fun out there!!! And grab some Caches on the way!!!

Happy trails ya’ll!!!


Cooking: “NIBIRUIAN ANUNNAKI CHALUPA”!!! AKA: The Havarti, Cream Cheese, Tortilla, Melty Thingy!!!

This will change your life… So, about 2 ½ years ago I needed a hand with a dinner menu. I was having a collector over for supper, along with his wife and family. (Anything to sell a piece) I had a first and third course down already but I needed a “Betweeny”. Something simple, creamy andyummy to sit between a grilled Caesar salad smothered with sweet grilled cinnamon shrimp and a lobster/ crab stuffed, poached, grilled, spanked and loved salmon puck thingy. Mmmmmmmmm. “HELP”!  I said to my brother on the phone. “Any suggestions oh wise one of the kitchens?” Without batting an eye, my brother threw out the recipe for a creamy delight that has changed my life forever. So Simple, Delightful, Elegant this recipe from my brother was. It was as if he had channeled the ancient Sumerian tablets containing the recipes of the Gods. The same ancient Anunnaki culinary language only 250 people ever to walk the earth could translate. One such person and “Channeler” was Zecharia Sitchin. He was largely responsible for the disclosure by the US government of the possible existence of Nibiru! “Planet X”! He spoke of the culture, the arrival of the “Gods”, how all humans in their current form are simply a DNA experiment and of course, THIS legendary celestial dish. It is a tragedy he never saw it’s rebirth on planet earth. I now believe my brother is one of those 250 “Channelers”. Soon, you will as well.  This dish stole the show at my party. Thanks Bro…

Earliest known depiction of the Nibiruian Anunnaki Chalupa being shared with the humans.

As usual though, after 2 1/2 years of messing around with any dish, it grows into something ridiculous. I have added a few optional toppings to this one over the years. Basically the recipe remains the same at its core, so play with what you wish as yummy toppings. I like to Turbo charge it a bit and turn it in to the ultimate movie munchies. It can be a perfectly classy main dish as well. Kind of like pizza. There is the kind you can eat with a bib and the kind you delight on while wearing a bow tie. Have fun!!!

The goods: (Basic recipe) 2 12” tortillas 4.5Oz Havarti cheese (With dill for some added zing) 4.5Oz Philly cream cheese (the real stuff) 2 minced garlic cloves. (Can be thin slices to taste) 1 package Nova Scotia smoked lox (Or whatever) A few dashes of an infused olive oil with basil, dill, oregano, garlic… (Not rocket science))

Additional baked toppings: (Yummy additions) This is the first part where you can play… 2 pineapple rings (Fresh is best, canned works fine) 1 hand full of super thin sliced red onion 1 handful of super thin sliced red and yellow pepper 1 handful of super thin sliced red tomato 2 paper thin sliced mushrooms 1 handful of ultra-thin sliced carrot 1 dram of creativity

Additional cold toppings: Stuff to pile on while plating… 1 thin sliced avocado 1 handful of thin sprouts Chives (Cute little ones) A bit of lime juice slice of lime on the side

In the kitchen:

Crank up the oven to about 350. (While this is going on, let your cheeses get to room temp.) Take out two tortillas and put them on a baking pan. Place them in the oven for only a few minutes. Like maybe 8. What you’re looking for is a consistent golden toast. After the first 4 minutes or so, I flip them over to get the other side. YOU DON’T WANT CRISPY!!!! Just a touch of firmness to the skin is all. They will be going back into the sauna later, so easy does it. Yank out to cool then.

Cube up the Havarti and Cream cheese in a bowl. Add minced garlic. (A few tiny chives can be good here)MIX IT UP!!!! If the cheese is too hard, a few seconds in the wave machine can soften it up. You want thick oatmeal like consistency. Chunky is good. Like cream cheese coated little chunks of Havarti goodness. Mmmmmm…. Spread this over the tortillas. Don’t overdo it. It’s nice to have some golden tortilla poking out here and there. Just spread it out to taste.

Next, start to build! I first place thin, thin, thin, slices of lox in a star fish or spoke pattern around the cheese. Throw on a few wisps of onion and mushroom. Sprinkle with the red and yellow peppers. Dabble with the tomato!  Place random slices of pineapple on top and drizzle a bit of that infused olive oil for fun.

Pop this in the oven to bake. Gestation times may vary depending on your altitude and decadence with the toppings. I find about 11-18 minutes just gets that slight crispy, yet golden creaminess to the cheese, and keeps the tortilla from getting too crisp. This is not a nacho mind you. You want it to be goldenly and bubbly and crispy!  Mmmmmm. Smells good…

Out of the oven and on to the chopping block. Cut each into fourths. Drizzle infused olive oil and lime juice on plate. Place two slices on plate. Top with sprouts, carrots, chives and garnish with avocado and lime slices. I also like to drizzle more oil and lime on top. (Shameless)

Yield: 4 small servings. (Unless there is a good alien movie on. Then it serves one!)

There you have it. Why the “Nibiru Anunnaki” name? I truly believe my brother channeled an Anunnaki chef from the planet Nibiru (planet X) on its last pass through our solar system. This recipe had to have been more than 3,600 years old as planet X has a wide orbit. The last time it made a pass; it devastated north East Asia and buried Atlantis under 80 meters of water nearly 3,600 years ago! Now, I know my brother is not 3,600 years old! HOW my brother was able to rescue this piece of stellar culinary history will puzzle me for a life time.  Enjoy! And thanks Jon! This one has been a hoot…

Keep your pans greased ya’ll!!!