Max Visits Kualoa Ranch

Our destination: Kualoa Ranch.

Our destination: Kualoa Ranch.

“Let’s go for a drive today,” said the Alpha Japanese Female, “It’s such a pretty day.”

We talked for a bit and decided to go up the windward side, make a stop at Kualoa Ranch, and then maybe continue around the island.

So we crossed the Koolau, the mountain range that runs down the center of Oahu. Through the tunnel, a quick left and soon we were passing by the Byodo-In Temple which was established in 1968, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

Surrounded by verdant forest and koi ponds, the Byodo-In Temple is easy on the eyes and easy on the mind.

Surrounded by verdant forest and koi ponds, the Byodo-In Temple is easy on the eyes and easy on the mind.

The Byodo-In Temple on O’ahu is a small-scale replica of the over 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site, in Uji, Japan.

Heading north on Kahekili Highway. The trinagle mountain in the back is Ohulehule which is on a boundary of Kualoa Ranch.

Heading north on Kahekili Highway. The triangle mountain in the back is Ohulehule which is a boundary of Kualoa Ranch. It’s the mountain seen in the top photo of this post.

After leaving the Temple we continued north enroute to the Ranch. It’s a nice two lane road, just right for a slow cruise.

Beer, basics and bugs the size of a small cat. That's the Hygienic Store

Beer, basics and bugs the size of a small cat. That’s the Hygienic Store

Traffic was light and we had the Hawaiian music station playing as we cruised past the historic Hygienic Store, a local landmark, that is famous for being the antithesis of its name. The Hygienic Store got its strange name because it was the “company store” of the Hygienic Dairy which was founded in 1907 and was once the largest dairy in the state.

A place of exceptional beauty. It is what people come here to see.

A place of exceptional beauty. It is what people come here to see.

Kualoa Ranch is one of Oahu’s crown jewels, a place of extraordinary beauty and deep cultural significance. It’s an important part of Hawaii’s paniolo tradition; that’s what we call our cowboys.

Ancient Hawaiians considered Kualoa one of the most sacred places on the island of Oʻahu. It was the residence of kings, a place of refuge and sanctuary – a puʻuhonua – and a training ground for royalty who were instructed at Kualoa in the arts of war, history and social traditions.

The small island is Mokoli'i, often called "Chinaman's Hat."

The small island is Mokoli’i, often called “Chinaman’s Hat.”

Established in 1850, Kualoa Ranch is a 4,000-acre privately held working cattle ranch that is also one of the top visitor destinations in Hawaii. Kualoa has been the site of many Hollywood films and television shows. You’ve seen them: Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Windtalkers, 50 First Dates, LOST, Hawaii 5-0 and many more. It is also a world class wedding destination.

The best way to get around the Ranch - on horseback! Or, as Max calls them, really big long legged dogs.

The best way to get around the Ranch – on horseback! Or, as Max calls them, really big long legged dogs.

I know the ranch well because for about two years I was a consultant to the ranch owners and then later, a ranch employee. I was the Director of Business Development which sounds high falutin’ but was not. Basically I was tasked with the development of the Visitor Center, restaurant, retail and other non-agriculture / non-livestock stuff.

We inscribed these ten years ago in a secret location of the Visitor Center.

We inscribed our initials ten years ago in a secret location of the Visitor Center. They were still there. The “MC” are the AJF’s initials for her Japanese name and the “TM” is moi.

The Ranch offers a lot to do for visitors. There are horseback rides, ATV rides, movie set tours, history tours, trips to a “secret beach” and an ancient Hawaiian fish pond where oysters are now grown.

Max gets his military on with one of the Ranch's deuce-and-a-half trucks.

Max gets his military on with one of the Ranch’s deuce-and-a-half trucks.

For folks like Kerbey, wandering out in the wilds of Texas, a 4,000 acre property is a modest back yard but on a tiny Hawaiian island 4,000 acres is a big chunk of real estate and, in fact, the Ranch is the largest private estate property on Oahu.

Hakipu'u Valley on the south side of Kualoa Ranch

Hakipu’u Valley on the south side of Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch offers many diversions but somehow these activities do not sully the Ranch. It is a tourist attraction but not a tourist trap and most visitors come away from a visit impressed by the ineffable spirituality that seems to imbue the property.

Max and the AJF relax on the lanai of the Kualoa Ranch Visitor Center.

Max and the AJF relax on the lanai of the Kualoa Ranch Visitor Center.

As I mentioned, there is a restaurant and gift shop on the ranch. That is where the AJF, Max and I took a break to gobble some french fries and  enjoy a cold drink. Then it was off to walk some favorite spots on the Ranch.

The llama is named PIkachu. It was not love at first sight for the Malt.

The llama is named PIkachu. It was not love at first sight for the Malt. Look at his face.

Wandering the property we met a number of the friendly animals that live there. Max was not at all thrilled to be sniffing strange scents, dodging horse apples and then being introduced to unusual animals up close and personal. The llama, in particular, was scary for the Malt although Pikachu is as gentle as can be and just wanted to make friends.

Sweet Pea. She's a doll. And a donkey.

Sweet Pea. She’s a doll. And a donkey.

I asked the AJF to take a photo of Max and Sweet Pea the donkey. It did not go well. I heard her say, “Max, get closer to the jackass. No, not the nice donkey, I meant the two legged one.”

It took some time before I realized I was the target of that barb. That, of course , led to a series of giggles and really bad “ass” jokes as though we were a pair of 11 year-olds.

Welcome to my world. My juvenile world. I’ll spare you the recital of jokes.

Okay, just one. What do you take when your butt hurts? Assprin. I told you they were bad. Snorf, snorf. But I digress.

More terror for the Maltese. The feral chickens and the egrets could kick his fluffy little tail.

More terror for the Maltese. These feral chickens and the egrets could kick his fluffy little tail.

We wandered across the pasture areas enjoying the views of the ocean and mountains. Unlike the old days when we actually lived on the ranch we stayed close to the visitor center. Lots of memories returned of the AJF and I (pre-Malt) hiking the surrounding mountains and exploring the jungle of this special place.

The AJF hiking KUaloa Ranch in the pre-Malt days.

The AJF hiking Kualoa Ranch in the pre-Malt days.

It was rewarding,too, to see that many of the things I put in place at the Ranch during my short tenure  remain today. Good times. Someday I’ll write a series of blogs about our days at Kualoa Ranch – the ghost stories, the animal stories, the tourist stories and all the other tales of our adventure there including the AJF’s favorite story of how to rebuff aggressive cows with an empty Walmart bag. But that’s for later…

As for the little white guy, he was happy to leave Kualoa Ranch. I’m pretty sure what really bugged him was having his butt sniffed by a llama.

"Smells like dog butt to me." --Pikachu

“Smells like dog butt to me.” –Pikachu

After our Ranch visit we did continue on around the island and even made a stop at Maxie’s Park before returning home. It was a very full and delightful day.

 

 

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28 Responses to Max Visits Kualoa Ranch

  1. Aw! Is that a little bandage on Max’s foot?

    That looks like a lovely day out… I love that you two carved your initials… We’ve don’t that too!

    Belly rub for max… X

    ps I ADORE donkeys!

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  2. loisajay says:

    Oh, the look on poor little Max’s face! What a cool place, though!

    Like

  3. Max was happiest in command of that military vehicle….somehow I get the impression that llamas and egrets don’t do much for him…

    Tales of your time on that ranch would be great….

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  4. Kyla says:

    Max, were the bugs at the store good eating?

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  5. kerbey says:

    This once again proves that it is impossible to like donkeys. Especially if they don’t sniff bums like vulgar llamas. I imagine my in-law’s 5000 acre West Texas ranch would fetch about the cost of two acres of Hawaii real estate, and their views are not nearly as entrancing. Does seeing all the pretty water make you want to swim each day, or do you quickly get over it?

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  6. What IS it about llamas and dogs? My two OESs (now since passed) used to freak out every time we saw them at my daughter’s next door neighbor. Must me that nasally humming sound they do–used to drive my herders crazy. They were never sure whether to attack them or move them away from me. Love your beautiful photos of the island. Makes me long for another trip to Kona and the Big Island to see my son and his family again. 🙂

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  7. roweeee says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post. It shows such a different side to my perceptions of going to Hawaii and it seems so much more appealing. I’m not into the usual tourist traps and love the outdoors and I do recall the Hawaiian scenery in Jurassic Park and it is breathtakingly beautiful. You are certainly living the dream!

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    • There is much to Hawaii that remains off the beaten path but many of the best known venues are worth visiting – that’s why they became famous in the first place, isn’t it? I’d put Kualoa Ranch in that group. While it runs as a tourism machine, you can simply walk away for a bit and immerse yourself in bits and pieces of Hawaii much more real. For example, you sometimes find a hula halau (school or academy) practicing in one of the out buildings or a net fisherman on the shore or folks working horses and singing Hawaiian tunes.

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  8. zebrakat says:

    A fantastic blog, Max has a great life 😄

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    • Aloha and thanks for visiting our silly dog blog! In turn we enjoyed your most recent story of visiting Banff, one of our favorite spots in the world! Your post brought smiles and memories. Max has never been to Canada (probably would be stopped as a suspicious Malt at the border) but has heard our many stories of times spent in Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise and points north. I won’t mention how long it took me to realize your Thanksgiving tale was based on Canada’s Thanksgiving Day….

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Max Visits The End Of The Road | WITHIN THE K STREETS

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ok

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