I only have 6 weeks left and I still haven’t seen everything on this island. Since the days of WW2 the island has been returning itself to nature. The Albatross are making nests, the Petrels are making burrows, the sand is blowing over old roads and the Ironwood trees are taking open fields and turning them into forests.
Biking around I can sometimes find a break in the trees or bushes that could have been an old road and I try to follow it without falling into my island nemesis…the petrel holes. Last month I walked a total of 10 miles around this island that is only 2.4 square miles. I found an old road that went into an Ironwood forest on the other side of the old airport runway and followed it. The Albatross nesting in there so rarely see a human, some were curious, but most clumsily stepped away tripping over branches and the like.
There wasn’t much back there, rumor has it that area was the most classified as to what was going on back there but now any buildings are essentially torn down leaving only a cement foundation in some areas, some mostly covered with the forest floor. I did find one old bunker. These hidden bunkers come up on you by surprise sometimes and though often open, they are super dark inside as you walk up to them. I found this one deep in those woods that probably held some ammunition, who knows?!?!
I also walked down the south side of the island that day, on the other side of the “active” runway. Planes only land here every 2 weeks to bring people and take people off the island. It’s “active” because it also serves the FAA as a place for emergency landings from North America to Asia though only about 2 flights have had emergency landings here in the last decade (that I’ve heard of). The entire south beach is closed for the Monk Seals who are currently pupping and are an endangered species so we really don’t tread on these beaches to give them their space and security to know they can return year after year. I was able to peek out through the Naupaka Bushes to catch a glimpse of this “pill box” where soldiers were stationed with machine guns protecting that beach and the island from the Japanese during the Battle of Midway.
There was also another hidden bunker nearby, likely where more ammunition was stored. Hidden in the corner was an albatross.
There’s still another area in the woods that I haven’t yet explored but I read a lot about in a book about the island. Lots of top secret stuff. I’m for sure going to check it out in there before I leave. Surely all the buildings are torn down but maybe I’ll see a ghost! Maybe I’ll shut the lights out when its bedtime and I’ll be glowing from who-knows-what I got exposed to in those woods!
Stand-by for more “Scary Places.” I have a few more places I know of that I know are super spooky (that’s why I haven’t gone there yet!). Need to refill the batteries on my headlamp first. Eeeeek!!!!