Pictures and words by Michael Uslan & Peter Parks

All the pics are here for you to see!

In the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, lie the most beautiful islands on Earth, the 50th State of Hawai’i. Most people visit or live near the large cosmopolitan city of Honolulu, located on Oahu. Hardly any visitors or locals actually get out of that concrete jungle and explore the real Hawaii enough. This is a story about visiting someplace else in Hawaii. Please hele mai, come along.

While many 4x4 trucks on Oahu are pavement and beach cruisers there is a small, growing, underground, yet loosely knit community of hard core wheelers that were traditionally only made up of local hunters and racers. Some have now been exposed to real rock crawling one way or the other and the idea is finally catching on in Hawaii.

Rick is the president of the TTORA Hawaii chapter and owns the Tacoma. Mike is the owner of the Red Toyota 4-runner. Both drivers live on Oahu. The place these two drivers were invited to wheel is located far away off the beaten path. This place is far enough away that hardly anybody even knows it's there. Our host guide is an avid wheeler and has one of the only rock buggy's in the State. The places he showed us are verifiably just as extreme as any of the most extreme trails in the USA.

On Saturday morning I flew into Honolulu International Airport and was promptly picked up by Mike in his 4-Runner. We headed out to meet a group of Toyota owners for a run at Peacock Flats.   


We picked up the group at the Kaena Point Missile Tracking Station gate. To get to the trails, you must cross the station’s property.

You’ll need to get a permit and check in when you arrive.

Everyone got checked through the gate and we headed up the hill through the station and onto the dirt trails.
There were trails going off in all directions, you could spend quite some time exploring the area! On a few of the higher ridge trails you could see down the coast and the view was spectacular.

Once on the other side of the ridge you could see a long valley that is used as a bomb and target practice range.

We proceeded down a series of trails that were quite rutted and steep in some places.

While it was dry the day we were there, I can only imagine what it would be like when it was muddy!

In a particularly tippy rutted section, one truck experienced a broken tie rod end. While this would not normally be a bid deal, it was not the tie rod end that broke, but rather the tab where it attaches to the knuckle. Because nobody there had a welder, the piece was removed from the truck and taken into town to get welded.

While the piece was getting welded, part of the group continued to the Peacock Flats camping area. There were nice open meadows with picnic tables and restrooms. A really nice place to camp! After having lunch at the campground, we headed back to see how the repair was going.

We arrived back at the disabled vehicle just before the part returned. The part was reinstalled and it was decided to head down to the beach to play for a bit as it was starting to get dark.

The beach was made up of sand over a coral reef and was a great way to end the day.  
Sunday we met with our host “Pyro” for a trip out to a secluded beach, over about a mile of lava.
This "trail" was a lot harder than anything we had seen up until now. The "trail" was simply a set of spray paint marks along the lava, indicating where others had driven before you, presumably without "falling through". I say falling through as sometimes you are driving over thinly roofed lava tubes that can cave in under your weight.
We got aired down for the first time on the whole trip, and headed out into no-mans land.
The trail would probably rate in around a hard two or a three. I switched in & out of 4 wheel drive as the lava binds up my locked up front end on turns. The Marlin Crawler was very handy as I could keep my front disengaged, yet still run in 4-low.
There were massively sprawled fields of a'a lava to our right and left. The Pahoe'hoe we were driving on was smoother but don’t be deceived into thinking it isn’t anything else besides the roughest terrain on Earth.
Rick jumped right into it like a natural born killa. He showed little regard for tire damage, he had brand new 33" BFG M/T's which were doing good. He trusted Pyro’s line through the lava flow and down we went to the ocean below.
The trail wasn’t that hard, but really fun!
Pyro stopped at this huge exposed lava tube right alongside the trail.
He mentioned he had never noticed it before. We all wondered if he had just driven past it before without noticing it or if it had broken through just recently. This is a good example of why you just might want a guide when venturing out into the lava on your own.
I saw Pyro take a harder line through a nice ledge section so I got behind him and followed through.
This view is right out my driver’s window, I love ledges. Sure hope its not hollow underneath!
Now this is a perfect example of exactly what I was talking about earlier, regarding the mega resorts taking over these beaches. After traveling through more than 90% of the way through the lava flow we found a brand new cut road leading to the beach. We were now driving on a future golf course that will front multi-million dollar homes in a new private, exclusive, gated community. Dr. Obvious says this is not a DHHL project.
This beach is a prime fishing spot, soon to be gated and privatized forever. We found coral rocks deep in the lava flow. This place gets hammered with large winter surf and I can only imagine what a Tsunami would do to their landscaping plans.
We drove the lava flow back out, found more lava tubes and ledges along the way. I would have taken more pictures but I was like a kid in a candy store with all the lava. Here's another mini trailside lava tube.
Monday we went down into Pyro’s pit. The pit is a sunken depression on the lava flow with extreme obstacles in every direction. This is the sickest 4x4 playground I have ever visited.

I don’t have many pictures of my own truck because I was having too much fun driving. I hope to see Pyro or Cory's pics soon too. Here's a few I got from Ripper and Pyros...

Ripper dropping in...
Ripper, not backing off yet.
Pyro picking a line...
This is the kind of extreme rock obstacle I am talking about.
Passenger side, axle snapping obstacle.
Ripper following Pyro’s line, trying to avoid above axle snapper.
Ripper on same obstacle Pyro just went up.
Pyro taking us to the next level. He was a great host, he went from easy stuff to progressively harder stuff.
I followed Pyro around just about everything he went on.
I backed off some of the sharper lava and picked slightly different lines because keeping up with Pyro in his own playground isn't the easiest thing to do.
What did you say I was driving over? A big #*!@?* lava tube???
Pyro finally lost me when he decided to drive up this collapsed lava tube trench. You have got to see this insane collapsed lava tube. I called it "Pyro's Revenge" because none of us were even thinking about following him through.
Here he goes...
Just thinking "OK he is driving up a collapsed lava tube" makes words like extreme just not quite adequate.
A nice turn and flex spot about 1/3rd of the way in.
I have a feeling I would have popped a tire by now. I can't imagine changing anything out in the bottom of that hole.
The lava explodes under your hiking boot, and you should see what it does under large tires! You almost need eye protection as shards of lava fly about in all different directions. It must be like driving on the surface of a comet.
Well Pyro made it out of the lava sluice unscathed. I would love to follow him but my tires took a major beating by this time and are effectively now on their last legs. I don't have the $$$ to buy a new set right now so I wimped out on the cave run.

Woo Hoo! That's about it. We were done by about 1PM on Monday and everybody went their own ways for the afternoon.

The spots we hit are still pristine; there is no graffiti, trash or broken glass littering the area. As other places across the USA and Hawaii get shut down and have gates thrown up blocking access, this place remains a secret, known to only a few locals and privileged guests. It is nice to know that some places are still protected the old fashioned way. Without the unwanted "help" of book learned enviro wackos who like to think they know better

We passed some riders on horses, a few other trucks, couple dogs, a couple half naked tourist chicks in some local boys pickup truck, (sorry no pics of the girls) and finally another waterfall. It was a great wheeling trip!

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