This morning was an early one, folks! Not as early as the sunrise hike, but early enough that I hit the snooze button twice before dragging myself out of bed. Dev and I dropped Kelsey off at work around 6, then pointed the car in the direction of Waikiki and Honolulu. IMG_5321 Today’s hike was the most populated we’ve seen yet. In all the searches I’ve done for “best hikes on Oahu,” Diamond Head is usually on the list, which is probably why there were dozens of tour groups and family groups walking up the combination man-made and naturally worn path to the top of the crater. It was a gloomy morning (and is still overcast as I type this, which is unusual), so we were treated to nice cloud cover and frequent cooling mist. DSC_2748 The rain did at least provide a consolation prize. DSC_2750 Here’s a shot of Honolulu from the top. DSC_2755 And a view of a lighthouse on the other side, with water so clear you can see the coral cities that lie beneath the surface. DSC_2767 Oh, and this long staircase…


Was kind enough to tell us the elevation at the top of it.

DSC_2769 (Though Devlin was hoping it was telling us how far down the corridor the elevator was).

On the calendar for tomorrow is Hamama Falls. See you then!



Aloha, friends! Yesterday was an action-packed day for our little group. We headed out to one of several beaches around Bellows Air Force Base on the eastern side of the island. This beach was actually on base, so we shared the waters with several military families. Here, Kelsey introduced me to boogie boarding, which is a very popular activity on this beach on account of the waves being just right. DSC_2621 Now, growing up along the much calmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, I’d never really participated in water sports. But this was fun, and a fantastic workout! Also, as a bonus, it really clears out your sinuses when you get flipped over by a wave. Or…so I’ve heard…

Kelsey is much more athletic than I, and even showed off some of her skim-boarding skills, which is kind of like skateboarding, but across a thin layer of water. DSC_2623 We had kind of an exciting moment when the lifeguard called everyone out of the water because of a shark sighting a little further down the beach. We didn’t get to see it our own selves, but it was exhilarating nonetheless. We left the beach a short time later for our next planned stop, the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail. DSC_2684 DSC_2641 Our primary goal here? To settle in and watch the full moon rise over the eastern waters. Last night, the moon would be closer than it has been all year, which typically makes for some pretty spectacular views. Unfortunately, it was cloudy. DSC_2664 But I did manage to capture a few shots of the elusive satellite, including this one of the light reflecting off the water. DSC_2721 DSC_2709 It was not quite what we expected, but the walk up the trail was nice enough, and the lighthouse was certainly cool to look at. We even spotted a “friend” on the way up. DSC_2632

Definitely resting today. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for us?



Our hike got pushed back from yesterday to today. We got done early enough for me to blog about it anyway! This one was a 4.8 mile loop through Keaiwa Heiau State Park. It rained as we were driving there, which made us a little leery, but in the spirit of adventure, we were still determined to hike this thing. Three days without a proper hike was starting to wear on us both. Here I am at the beginning of the trail, with no clue as to how muddy I’m going to be by the end. IMG_5247

Yes, the rain may have made the trail muddy. DSC_2561 Very muddy. DSC_2587 But these are the things that make hiking fun. Well, that and beautiful surroundings. DSC_2592 DSC_2591 DSC_2608 DSC_2582 DSC_2560 Even the H3, one of Hawaii’s interstate highways (don’t ask me why they have interstate highways on an island), looks serene snaking through the mountains. DSC_2605

And here’s an “after” shot of my muddy adventure. IMG_5264

Until next time, Mahalo,


Well, my first two weeks on the island have been pretty packed with activities and hikes. The last few days have been pretty relaxed, though.

One of my goals this summer, besides spending as much time enjoying this beautiful island with my sister, is also reorganizing my business. I’ve let other obligations serve as excuses for not having enough time to build my client base and really work on my craft. But I don’t want that to be the case any longer. The days that I haven’t been exploring here have been spent studying, and researching, and interacting with other professionals so that I can make Jen Abert Photography a successful business. Among the studying I’ve been doing is a class on starting your own photography business. I know I started my business back in 2008, but I think getting back to basics can help one refocus. Among the feedback from the professor was on my website’s homepage. I want my specialty to be wedding photography, but since I’ve started blogging about landscapes, those are the photos that show up on my homepage! So, I’ll be attaching some of my previous wedding work as the featured images to make sure my branding reflects my business.

Now that’s done, here’s my mini adventure from yesterday.

Devlin and I thought we’d ease back into hiking by visiting the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens near Schofield Barracks, where my handy hiking app told me is an easy hike. I could count on one hand the number of people who were enjoying the gardens on this mild day. We’re past the season where everything is in bloom, but there were still a few colorful blooms. Here’s a pineapple ginger plant, all red and geometric. DSC_2533 The trees stole the show, though. Their roots and interesting bark patterns were mesmerizing. Here’s a eucalyptus tree with bark that looks like painted-on camouflage. DSC_2556

This tree’s two big roots sticking out of the ground reminded me of the Ents from The Lord of the Rings. DSC_2527 And the intricate roots on this tree in the lower ravine, along with the green color cast from the light shining through the leaves, was nothing short of magical. IMG_5243

Today, we’re heading out to Aiea Loop Trail in one of Hawaii’s state parks. I’ll check in tomorrow.




Well, yesterday was a very early day for us. I woke up at 3:45, and we were out the door by 4:20 to head out to Kaiwa Ridge in Kailua, on the eastern side of the island. Our destination was the popular “Pillbox” trail, which has apparently been enjoyed by President Obama and his family. I don’t have photos from the beginning of the trail in the dark, because, well, it was dark. Sunrise wasn’t until 5:50. The first ridge was the toughest. Not a lot to hold onto, and a very steep incline. But we made it past that into the first open area, where the day’s first light before the sun helped illuminate our path the rest of the way. You can see the pillbox (World War II bunker) just at the top of the ridge. IMG_5190 We got to the top and climbed onto the pillbox, where we settled in to enjoy the view. I even set up my tripod for some long-ish exposure shots. DSC_2420 IMG_5207

And, because the light was so beautiful (and because I’m putting together a photo book for my dad of our adventures this summer), I even stood in front of the camera for a photo. DSC_2469

And what kind of photographer would I be if I didn’t look all around to see how the light looked on the rest of the island? See how it caresses the mountains behind us? IMG_5209

So that was our first sunrise hike. There’s a second pillbox on a higher ridge that we’ll do some other day. We’ll have to leave even earlier for it, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

Until next time, mahalo!

Jen IMG_5213

Yesterday’s hike was the most challenging—and most fun—so far! Our first challenge was to actually find where to park to get to the trailhead. But after that little bit of frustration, we made it to the start of the trail. IMG_5127 IMG_5126


The beginning of the hike wasn’t too bad. The slope was similar to my first hike on Kealia Trail, with ever-increasing pitch. DSC_2302 DSC_2307 DSC_2338

Eventually, we weren’t walking anymore, but climbing. IMG_5147  (Didn’t think you’d see a picture of me, did you?)

It was tough, but fun. And the view was so worth it! IMG_5140 DSC_2342 This is a view of the third peak from the first peak.  DSC_2344 We got too late a start to try and tackle peaks 2 and 3 this time, but I am absolutely planning on returning to this hike to conquer all of them.

Today is another rest day (I think I’ve earned it, n’est-ce pas?), but the plan for tomorrow is a sunrise hike at Kaiwa Ridge (Pillbox) Trail. Stay tuned, friends.




Well, I’ve been relaxing the past few days (yesterday excluded), and let it translate into my posting. So, I apologize to the few of you who are following my adventures on this site. I will reward your patience with two posts today chronicling what I’ve been up to since Tuesday.

Wednesday, we decided, would be a relaxing day. Since Kelsey was working, Devlin and I decided to go back to one of my favorite spots from our first day out. DSC_1476

But this time we brought masks, snorkels, and my underwater camera case! DSC_2168

Devlin enjoyed snorkeling so much that we decided to go out on Thursday as well, to another beach we’d already seen on our treks. DSC_2238 DSC_2257 DSC_2262 DSC_2271

Stay tuned for my photo recap of yesterday’s hike!



I hiked to my first waterfall in Hawaii yesterday!

DSC_1999 The trail leading up to the falls is well shaded (which my healing sunburn appreciated very much), and very lush.

DSC_2023 Look at how green the canopy is! It was wet, as it is a rainforest, and that made the trail slippery and very muddy at some points. It also makes the perfect conditions for mosquitos. There were swarms of them, and I took home plenty of welts as a souvenir of this trek. But we managed to slip and slide our way up to the falls without donating too much blood.

DSC_2041 DSC_2043

The way back down was even more challenging, so I grabbed a piece of bamboo lying along the side of the trail and used it as a walking stick. I left it at the beginning of the trail for the next hiker to use.

I would definitely do this hike again, but with bug repellant!




Aloha, friends!

So, yesterday I went on my first hike in Hawaii, and it was a challenge! The trail zig-zagged up a mountainside.

IMG_4993 It felt like walking up a very long flight of stairs. Now, I can take a movie theatre size flight of stairs like a gazelle (am I right, Grant?), but Holy Hannah, this one had my calves screaming and my lungs kicking my ribcage for air!

Note the warning signs at the beginning of the trail. DSC_1649 Nothing here warning about jelly legs.

This is a gently sloping part of the trail, designed to lull you into a false sense of security.

In all seriousness, though, the hike was a fun challenge, and the reward at the top was worth it. Check out the view! DSC_1671 DSC_1684


Today is another, much flatter hike. I’ll see you on the other side.