I always put off doing this trail because it is dauntingly long to do it round trip and it is a hassle to have to take two cars and leave one at the finish point. Finally, I had a chance to carpool with others and loved the trail. It is well-groomed and relatively flat. We followed the hike with a great potluck in Waimanalo and a performance by amazing roller pigeons.
Archive for the ‘Oahu Hikes’ Category
It was perfect weather for this 6 mile figure-8 hike in Kahana Valley, just a little overcast and so not too hot. The lower half of the “8” is the Nakoa Trail. I don’t know what the other half is called, but it joins up at the middle of the loop of the Nakoa trail right by some old bunkers.
It was very muddy and slippery and there were many stream crossings, including one over a dam. There were more mountain apples along the trail than I’ve ever seen before. They were tiny, but perfectly ripe and juicy, and reminded me of the first time I ever tasted mountain apples on the Hanakapiai Falls trail on Kauai.
Having been awakened at the crack of dawn on Saturday by several annoying wrong-number phone calls, we got a very early start up the Koko Head stairs. Not early enough, apparently, as it was already quite crowded. A very nice extended multi-generational family of about 10 was making the climb, all wearing identical bright purple zinc oxide on their lips.
This was a pleasant loop hike, leaving from Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe, following the Likeke Trail to the falls just below the Pali Highway and returning along the edge of the golf course to the back gate of the botanical garden. The trail was literally covered with mango, guava, and mountain apple, fermenting and sickly sweet. Flowers were in equal abundance, especially haleconia and shampoo ginger. Mosquitos were fairly plentiful too.
In case you thought the era of the WPA and great public works was over, Hoomaluhia is a fine example of our tax dollars at work. It was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1982 to provide flood protection to Kaneohe. Not only is it gorgeous, but you can camp there for free and there are toilets and showers.
The trail to Pupukea Summit is 9 miles round trip from the Boy Scout camp, but it feels like less. The first part follows a wide dirt road. After a few miles the trail takes off to the right. It had been recently groomed, which was great, and there’s very little elevation gain, so before we knew it we were at the summit clearing. A nice hike, but not a great hike. It was good to get up to the North Shore. The curry at Haleiwa Eats was as yummy as I remember it. The curry and blood orange witbier were the highlights of the day. And, oh, the ancient Polynesian cash register, too.
Theme song – Hawaii Five Oh
“Where am I?” I thought, as we drove through the quaint cottages of an old Kunia plantation blasting the theme from Hawaii FIve Oh. Earlier that day, Chris, Jennifer and I convened at the old Volcano Joe’s near UH with the intention of heading for Laie Falls. As clouds rolled in, we decided we would be better off heading west, so with Jennifer navigating and only a very vague idea of where we were going, we hit the road.
We eventually found our chosen route blocked by huge dirt piles. Long story short, we stealthily parked the car at the slightly shabby golf course down the street and set off to see what we could find. Just when we had concluded that we were hopelessly lost, we encountered the Honouliuli Preserve. The moss-covered huge rocks and trees felt like Oregon. Some time later, and with some adventures, we reached the crest of a ridge with a spectacular view. I don’t think we were anywhere near where we intended to be and we probably weren’t supposed to be there, so I’ll leave it at that. But it was an excellent hike. We congratulated ourselves on our accomplishment with burritos from Taco del Mar.
We planned to conquer “Hawaii’s Matterhorn,” Olomana, today, but woke to pouring rain. Acknowledging that discretion is the better part of valor, we convened at the Manoa Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf over Stuart Ball’s Hiker’s Guide to Oahu. We dismissed all Windward options because of the weather, considered the North Shore and Waianae, and wound up at good old Koko Head stairs.
Alex and Jennifer admire Conrad’s new camera atop a bunker covered with interesting graffiti.
Heading to Kona Brewing Company. Which, BTW, must have gotten a new chef or something. They have new menu items and the old ones are way better. Try the “Puna Pie,” a pizza with two kinds of mozzarella, gorgonzola and chevre and whole cloves of garlic.
Theme song for hike – “You Better Hope You’re Not Alone”
Wiliwili Nui is a Koolau ridge hike that parallels the other ridge trails, including Waahila Ridge (Mt. Olympus), Lanipo, Hawaii Loa, and Kuliouou. From the top of the trail you could hang a left to Lanipo or a right to Hawaii Loa. Overall, this is the easiest of the ridge hikes, but the last small portion to the summit is eroded and kind of scrambly. There are some old ropes for assistance. It’s a good hike for the novice with a little challenge at the end to make them feel proud of themselves.
Just before the peak is a large antennae installation. Just when you start thinking you are out in nature… The great thing about it (that I discovered over the days after the hike) is that the tallest antenna visually marks where you stood from far away – like from a kayak off Kahala. Everytime I look up now I see that antenna.
We met a solitary old man on the lower dirt road portion with a really big back pack. He said he only went as far as the steps. So why did he need that big bag?? We were glad we weren’t alone… The wind howled in the trees and the bamboo creaked…. And then we rounded a corner and suddenly there was a dark mysterious figure in a billowing black and blue track suit with dark hair covering his/her face, doing something in the trees at the edge of the path. Better hope you’re not alone…
We made it back safely and chowed down at California Pizza Kitchen.
Theme for hike – “Right on righteous.”
The drive up Palolo Valley to the Ka’au Crater trailhead feels like a trip off of Oahu. You could easily be on Kauai or Big Island. Probably a good idea to park a block or two below the trailhead. We left my little red car, Bindi, to meditate at the Zen Center while we hiked.
There are two ways to get up to the rim of the crater and two ways to traverse the crater rim to the highest point overlooking the windward side. As with many things in life, each has an easy way and a hard way. We took the more difficult way up to the crater rim, the waterfall climb. (Follow the excellent directions at backyardoahu.com.) The first and second waterfalls are beautiful, as promised, but what they don’t tell you is that the entire rest of the climb is along waterfall! It just keeps going and going! As cool as that is, it isn’t even the best part of the hike – the best part is that for long portions of the climb you can see almost no signs of civilization, no houses, no cars. It was absolutely quiet except for the water and the birds.
At the top of the crater rim, you can follow the ridge to either the right or left. We took the shorter and steeper right path. The trail is mostly very narrow here, but there’s a great place to stop and rest in a shady clearing under a random tuft of ironwood trees. Near the peak, the trail is significantly eroded and a bit treacherous. We returned to the crater rim the same way, but took the easier path down the valley to avoid repeating the waterfall climb in reverse on slippery ropes (of questionable age and strength). To reach the easier path, do not descend at all along the water. As soon as you return to the water, cross straight over and ascend steeply again on the opposite bank. As soon as you start thinking you must have missed the path, you’ll see a trail on your left that descends the valley at a gentle slope.
I have no idea how long this hike is, but we were out there for almost 6 hours… earning our later carbo-loading at Romano’s Macaroni Grill.