Kaniakapupu Ruins, Nuuana, Oahu: hiking to the Hidden Palace

Exploring the Hidden Beauty of Kaniakapupu Ruins in Honolulu


The Kaniakapupu Ruins, Honolulu

 Some activities take time to plan and some are planned on the spot. The latter is what happened on our journey to the Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III. One of my friends got tired of us staying inside and just playing cards, so he told us of a hike that he had done before and was an easy one to do.  A little bargaining had to be done as we had a friend who despised the thought of hiking and using effort to see Mother Nature. After a few minutes of “please” and promises: “It’s easy you can do it.” we headed out to another adventure to the Hidden Palace.

Towering trees overlooked us as we drove into a narrower road past all the houses. Branches covered the road with light seeping through every crack it could find, and other massive trees were on the ground, rotting with age and going through the circle of life. Plants of different shapes and sizes seemingly followed the shape of the road and this drive was an adventure on its own. To see Mother Nature in her wonderful and beautiful state is always a treat..


Discovering the Ruins of King Kamehameha's Summer Palace

Entering the hike was like participating in a scene in a movie. All you could see was bamboo arching over the straight path, covering the hot rays of the sun. The sounds of the wind passing and flowing through the bamboo added to the feeling of someone watching, just over your shoulder. This eerie feeling ran down my spine and quickly evolved into an immediate rush of childhood energy; rushing from the crown of my head straight into the tips of my fingers. With bamboo in hand, my friends started to play as swordsmen from the past. As bamboo clashed with bamboo the urge to pick up a stick for myself was too powerful to resist.

We continued to trek through the hike, with the excitement of sword fighting, excitement running through us, and were stopped by a small river. “That wasn’t there before,” said our hike leader. With all the playing that we did, we got ourselves lost and made it to a little stream with freezing cold water. We spent a few minutes at the stream taking pictures. We also took the time to rest as we had to go back and find the right path to get to the palace.


The Kaniakapupu Ruins, Honolulu


Walking back and trying to figure out where the real path to the Palace was, I had time to look around and appreciate the serenity and peacefulness of the area. All you could hear was nature. No cars, no people, just you feeling the wind blowing through the forest while it passes by your skin and runs through your hair. I wondered if there were any wildlife and  I was wishing a cute, cuddly panda would appear.

It didn’t take long until the view of the Summer Palace came around a corner. Not knowing that this place was ruins of the once grand Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III my expectations were thrown right out of the window. But a sense of amazement still entered my heart as I looked at the half-standing buildings and the simplicity that they had, but also the grandness it would have been if I were to see them in their original form.

The building was right in the center of a huge field. As we made our way around we took pictures of the building itself and pretended to be the King of Hawaii letting our youthful energy continue to flow. And as we did this a pair of voices came around the corner. It was our friend talking with a lady who had a  bandana around her head, a real walking stick in her hand, and a bag made for hikes. We stopped to hear her talk about the ruins.

She told us how it was a place for the King to bring his foreign friends and they would have a huge feast. She said that the surrounding place could hold up to ten thousand people for one feast. The Imu (Hawaiian underground Oven) on the other side of the ruins was their way of cooking for so many people. After telling us of these facts she said her goodbyes and walked away into a different path.


Imu - Hawaiian Underground Oven

Appreciating the History and Natural Beauty

We took our time walking around the ruins and I came across a plaque that explained what the ruins were. In the plaque was the exact same information we got from the lady earlier. Being in the Palace of a once-great King brought a different sense of pride that came to my heart. This place wasn’t just for feast and fun but it was also a place where history was made.

Having friends with you to make memories that last a lifetime is one of the great things that I learned from this little adventure that we had. Had we stayed in the apartment and continued to play our card games we would have definitely lost seeing the beauty, of the magnificent island. We would never get lost or look at history. And, of course,  we would never have practiced our swordsmanship.

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