Oahu, is one of the eight islands that make up the State of Hawaii, and its home to 75% of Hawaii’s culturally dense population. In Hawaii, you can expect to encounter those with Polynesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Filipino, and Chinese backgrounds to name only a few. Culture though, is only one aspect of life’s diversity here.
Those living in or visiting Oahu enjoy city living, and then, with only a short-drive also enjoy the tranquil geographic highlights of a tropical island. In cities, like Honolulu, high-rise hotels, condominiums, and resorts line the shore with exquisite dining and shopping closeby. And then, in minutes, one has access to beaches, extinct volcanoes, rainforests and waterfalls.
Though there’s much to do in Oahu, popular during one’s visit is a hike through a rainforest. Whether seeking a view, or a little bit of exercise, it’s easy to overlook the ecological impact of the rainforests. Tropical rainforests, like those on Oahu, recovers roughly 80 inches of water every year. They’re known to be home to half the animal and plant species on earth. And, in Oahu’s Waimea Valley, 5,500 species of plants bloom, leaving it one of the most biologically diverse forests on the planet.
A simple jaunt along a small path leaves you moving past endemic plant and bird species – species only found here. You might see Hala which produces a pineapple-shaped flower, hau a sea hibiscus known to reach 33 feet, or a rainbow eucalyptus – a tree who sheds its bark in bright strips of colour. Overhead or on branches, you might encounter a nene goose – Hawaii’s state bird; or a red feathered apapane. Even along the ground, you’d move past snails, spiders, caterpillars, and dragonflies.
Visiting Oahu, I took this image from an outlook that overlooked the city below. I was in this spot for an hour, watching the fog roll in and out, hiding and revealing the mountaintop as it went. I love the mysterious nature of fog. The rock here, a subtle reminder of Hawaii’s volcanic creation, adds depth when contrasted with the lush green vegetation enveloping it.
Perhaps recognizing the importance of conservation, this peak acts like The Guardian as it sits knowingly above the rest of Oahu.