The trail was steep and the Oahu sun beat down on us like oven heat as we approached the first Pillbox. Wasn’t much to it. A mass of World War II concrete on a high hill overlooking the Pacific on the south end of Kialua. The bunker with its long and narrow peep-hole of a lookout is disgraced by neglect and colorful graffiti which adorns every available pore of surface, inside and out.
It was up to this long-abandoned pillbox that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, hiked two years ago to the date, December 27. I saw the photo. There was Obama, the cool dude, decked out in tan shorts and a stylish forest-green button-down shirt, hiking along on a flat spot in the trail. Michelle, the First Lady, is just in front, her head down in black leotards and a blue shirt with eldest daughter, Sasha, in the lead. Behind this trio is a man in dark sunglasses. Secret Service, obviously.
As Nebra and I trudged uphill, taking in large gasps of ocean air, you had to wonder: What is so special about this place?
Apparently the answer for Obama lays in nostalgia. This trail, officially the Lanakai Pillboxes, was a favorite of Obama’s as a kid growing up in Honolulu.
So we, like many others, hiked this trail, wanting to trace Obama’s footsteps. History of a faint sort. The faintest sort, you might say.
Once we reached the first pillbox we found another. This one even higher up on the trail. The trail and the pillboxes are inhabited largely by young kids, mostly in their teens. They lounge around on the pillboxes, boys showing off to their not so easily impressed girlfriends. Just having a good time.
I can’t imagine Michelle or Sasha enjoying this trail for juveniles. I’m no snob, but this trek seemed two or three levels below a First Family hike. Views are nice, yet you can find nicer ones elsewhere. Honestly, it’s not worth the cardio needed to get up there.
The Pillbox Trail was another thing you do in life because you feel you have to do it at least once.
The Obamas are staying on the island again for Christmas. Right up the road. Big upscale house overlooking Kane’ohe Bay, I read. We also read yesterday the President did another hike on the 27th this year, to Manoa Falls. It’s just north of Kialua and its sister city Kane’ohe. The Falls trail apparently crosses through the film locations of “Jurassic Park” and “Lost.” Crap.
Suppose well just have to do that one the next time we visit the island.