war in the pacific national park

Exploring at the War in the Pacific Historical Park

DSC_0058p

The park is one of Guam’s well known attractions. Lined with palm trees along Asan beach and wide open spaces that are great for kite flying, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. To think that some of the bloodiest battles on Guam happened here; it is now a peaceful, breezy park where I enjoy watching the sunset. When the sun and temperature go down, locals begin walking around the large grassy space for exercise and fisherman end their day by packing up their fishing equipment and heading home.

One afternoon I decided to explore the park beyond the usual area where the picnic tables are. We ended up finding this whole other area of wartime history and gorgeous views. It was a little hard to see through the overgrown shrubs, but up a steep hill near the park entrance we found Asan Cave. It was a small and VERY dark space.

DSC_0061DSC_0064

Further down the paved road to the park, there is another small sign on the left that indicates a trail. From the road you might not be able to see it, but if you walk toward the restroom then you will see it better. This is where the good stuff is!

The path is dark and intimidating because of all the trees and bushes that enclose it, but this makes for a nice shield from the sun. The trail splits into three directions, on my first trip we chose to go left which led to the area that is above the cave.

DSC_0103

On the way, we spotted a pillbox! The small windows look out toward the Piti Bomb Holes. We stopped here for a little picnic and imagined what is was like during the war. The pillbox was built into the cliff and looks out over the ocean. The space inside the pillbox is narrow and dark.

At the end of this trail, the views were incredible! In one direction the view looked out toward the road and hills, another toward the Fish Eye Marine Park, and another over the park, bay and the Governor’s Office.

DSC_0099DSCN5138

On another trip to the park, we took the path that goes down the stairs.

DSC_0068

Here we found another WWII remnant and a very secluded beach. I was amazed and surprised to find this shelter on the other side of the park. Does anyone else know that it’s here? It still amazes me that these historical structures are all over the island without any sort of protection. We should feel lucky that we get to learn about our history AND see it.

DSC_0073

From here you can either go left, to a beach with some really cool rock structures, or to the right where the water has carved out a shelf that allows you to cross to an even more secluded beach. (another great area to watch the sunset)

DSC_0079

Finally, back to the path that leads three different directions. Taking the path to the right took us down a grassy path that had colorful hibiscus, butterflies everywhere, trees, and breadfruit. This trail leads to the main area of the park and Asan beach.

DSCN5176

This was a great, easy walk for me to get out and enjoy Guam’s nature. I love exploring and finding new, to me, places. I feel like Guam is full of secrets and whenever I do something like this, it’s like I’m slowly learning what those secrets are.

Advertisements

Fonte Plateau

Guam is full of history, probably more than you know. Guam is also full of mysteries! Latte stone in the middle of the jungle near Lost Pond, hiking trails that you know lead to something amazing but just can’t find, signs that tell you there is some cool WWII remnant just ahead, but no trail or direction. When I read in the newspaper that the War in the Pacific Historical Park was going to have a park ranger at Fonte Plateau in Nimitz Hill to explain what those locked caves were, I was THERE! Peter and I had stopped a few times to look in, but they were locked and we couldn’t figure out what they were for. We arrived in the parking lot with a group of other people to learn a little bit about Guam’s history during WWII. He explained that those caves were actually Japanese communication bunkers that Japanese soldiers used to communicate with one another. It was very well hidden in a hill surrounded by trees and grass blending in with the surroundings, which I’m sure was the objective. We were all interested in the history and story, but let’s face it, we were really there so we could get a chance to go inside.

As we walked up the hill to the first locked cave door, I saw nothing but darkness and was very excited to see more! We walked in, one-by-one, where the bunker opened from the narrow hallway into a huge and empty space. It was pitch black, with only the sunlight shining in through the barred gates.  Someone had a light and shone it in the darkness where there was graffiti on the walls and communication wires hanging from the ceiling of the bunker. To think that Japanese soldiers might have lived in there for many weeks or months is unbelievable. I would feel claustrophobic and stir crazy after a few days!

After exploring the bunker for awhile, the park ranger led us out and around the back where we walked on top of the bunker and to a cave behind. Usually it’s just Peter and me, but it was very nice learning and exploring with the other people. The park ranger was very knowledgeable about WWII and Guam and I enjoyed it a lot. I look forward to attending more of these and would suggest visiting the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center, which is near the Navy base.

DSCN0733pDSCN0724

Throughout middle and high school, WWII history just didn’t interest me one bit. Now that I live in a country where I can walk down to the beach and see huge cement blocks that stabilized Japanese WWII guns, I find it intriguing and  want to learn more!

blog12