Day Four brought us to Kualoa ranch for the Premier Movie Tour. The ranch, which was owned by Hawaiian kings and queens, was eventually purchased by a man named Dr. Gerritt Judd, a Bostonian who fell in love with the islands and renounced his citizen to stay in the 1850s. Since then, it has passed down generation to generation in his family, who have continued to cultivate and protect the land. You can learn more about the history here.
Our purposes at the ranch were a bit different than raising cattle or farming. In the mid-1900s, the ranch started to be used as movie and television sets. For James and I, this was home to Jurassic Park, Jurassic World and LOST (among many more). The nearly three hour tour took us winding through three different districts of the ranch, pointing out areas and some sets that are still in existence. We saw Hurley’s golf course, the log that the kids hid under in Jurassic Park from the T-Rex, the Gyrosphere pavilion from Jurassic World, as well as the cage that held the mutant dinosaur. There were props from movies in post production, barracks from World World II and plenty of wildlife.
We also learned about some Hawiian folklore. Chinaman’s hat, one of the island/rock formations off the coast earned that name recently. But before, it was thought that a goddess’ sister defeated a giant lizard monster and the mountains were his dead body, and the single spike in the water (or the hat) was part of his tail.
The island also still marks their ahupua`a divisions – areas of sacred land – with brown signs that look like they have a pile of poop on them. The drawing on the signs is in fact, a pile of rocks with a pig on top (pua is pig in Hawaiian). Speaking of pigs… we also had the chance to see a little fleet of wild baby piglets run through the woods. They’re technically destructive to the plants on the ranch, but so cute!
After the tour, we headed to Kualoa point to have a picnic on the beach. At this point, we had anticipated it to start raining, but it had yet, so we took the opportunity to hike the ‘Aiea Loop Trail, a nearly 5 mile trail around the ridge of Halawa Valley. The trail itself is protected from the sun by the woods (it reminded me a lot of the hikes we have at home – just different plants). At certain points you can see out to Pearl Harbor, and even the highway that cuts through the mountain. The amount of energy used to hike the trail is not anything near the amount to do Koko Head, but this is not an easy trail. There are extremely narrow parts of the path with a massive drop if you slip, logs you have to duck under and climb over, and a lot of exposed roots and slippery sand and mud. Regardless, we enjoyed the trail and took full advantage of the surprisingly sunny afternoon.
Because the next two days are supposed to be a bit dreary, we decided that it was our final opportunity to see the sunset on Waikiki. So we made our way to the Maitai bar at the Royal Hawaiian hotel. Here we secured seats on the beach, overlooking Diamond Head and the beautiful Pacific ocean. James ordered a shirley temple in a pineapple (because when else is it going to be accepted to do this?!) and I tried their maitai recipe from the 1940s. I don’t know how people can drink multiple maitais, because that just about did me in! The sunset was absolutely stunning, complete with a rainbow, and the rain started to fall just as we paid our check.
For dinner we had Bubbie’s ice cream because vacation. I had macadamia nut and chocolate almond. James had macadamia nut and strawberry cheesecake.