From the highway, the hundreds of hikers climbing to the top of the Kaiwi Shoreline trail look like ants in search of crumbs, the metaphorical “crumb” being the historic Makapuu lighthouse. Luckily for them, these hiking ants never have to look very far. New signage not only tells them how to get there but how the area plays an important role in Hawaii’s history.

With one on each side of the trailhead, there’s no way of missing the two signs. The sign to the right is the largest and warns visitors against hazardous conditions they may encounter along the hike, as well as items or actions that are state park no-no’s. It also has a colorful map of this eastern part of the island, below which there’s additional info on native plants and animals.

The sign to the left of the hike is smaller but just as packed with info. One interesting fact listed here is how the author of From Here to Eternity actually wrote the novel while stationed at the Makapuu lighthouse decades ago. I love the vintage black-and-white photos also on display because while many often forget, they help bring a sense of reality to hikers. There’s history in every step.

Signs like these are a must for any hike but especially popular ones like this. They educate hikers and help prevent injury or harm to themselves and native plants and animals. And while most hikers won’t have the intention of stopping to read it, the photos and colorful graphics might encourage them to. Even if just a fraction of the hundreds stopped, that’d still help make for a safer and more enjoyable hike for everyone.

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