Kaena Point State Recreation Area

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Kaena Point State Recreation Area

The name means "the heat" and, indeed, this windy barren coast lacks both shade and fresh water (or any man-made amenities). Pack water, wear sturdy closed-toed shoes, don sunscreen and a hat, and lock the car. The hike is along a rutted dirt road, mostly flat and 3 miles long, ending in a rocky, sandy headland. It is here that Hawaiians believed the souls of the dead met with their family gods, and, if judged worthy to enter the afterlife, leapt off into eternal darkness at Leinaakauane, just south of the point. In summer and at low tide, the small coves offer bountiful shelling; in winter, don't venture near the water. Rare native plants dot the landscape. November through March, watch for humpbacks, spouting and breaching. Binoculars and a camera are highly recommended. www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu.

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