The Paumalu Bunker Hiking Trail on Oahu’s North Shore

Most mainlanders with even limited knowledge of the surf scene on Hawaii’s North Shore have heard of the Banzai Pipeline on Sunset Beach. The Banzai Pipeline is a famous surf reef break off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea. The pipeline hosts some off the most gnarly surfing competitions in all of North America. With waves reaching as high as 20 feet in the winter months, it is no wonder that surfers and non-surfers alike flock to this sandy shore to see surfing professionals risk life and limb for the glory of the sport.

Since I am by no means a serious surfer, and I did not wish to go to my watery grave on any Pacific Island, I chose to participate in a much-lesser known excursion in the area involving dry land – the Paumalu Bunker Hiking Trail.

The island of Oahu is littered with numerous bunkers and pillboxes which defended her coastlines during WWII. Most of these defensive positions, if not all, have become popular hiking spots on the island.

Big John always brings along at least one trust-worthy companion when going off the well-beaten path.

If you look closely, you can see my calves burning.

I think the greatest hazard on this hike had to be the entangled labyrinth of tree roots protruding though the earth.

If you want to see your share of banyan trees, the Paumalu Bunker Trail will not disappoint.

“Wait up, babe!” Rebecca is a nursing mother and she still hasn’t learned how to slow down!

After catching my breath, I was hot on her trail!

There were a few magnificent lookout points along the way offering breathtaking views of the shoreline on Sunset Beach. The original name of the beach, “Paumalu” means “taken by surprise” in the Hawaiian language.

An old Hawaiian legend speaks of a woman who became greedy while octopus hunting. After catching more than her limit, she was reprimanded by a nearby shark and bitten in the leg. In reality, there have been very few shark attacks on Paumalu Beach. The daunting surf poses much more of a hazard.

Some view it as graffiti and others art. For all its historical significance, I wish people would leave these structures alone and let time and nature to do the handiwork.

Inside the Paumalu Bunker

Is there is a more beautiful spot for a picnic than here on the Paumalu Bunker Hike? I believe not.

We made it to the top and baby Selah isn’t even sweating. Good job, girl!

We end our hike as the sun begins to set on the infamous Banzai Pipeline. There were no violent breakers crashing onto the shore this day; only a soft tropical breeze to cool our skin and a feeling of aloha (love) in the air.

Happy travels,

Big John

Posted in Adventure Fitness, Adventurous Places, North America and tagged , , , , by with comments disabled.