Island Trails' 2009 Video Summary

I know. It's been a while since I updated this blog, but I haven't updated it for good reason. It's a super long story, so I'll make it short by just saying that my head gash from Piliwale Ridge in October didn't heal at all and got infected with staph. The gash has gotten so much better since I was prescribed some antibiotics. It's actually all good now, and I could hike tomorrow if I wanted to, but I don't want to. I'd rather surf my brains out now that Fall Semester will be all done for me tomorrow. If any of you in Hawaii have been watching the news or have been taking a drive up to the North Shore to check the waves, well, this winter season has been the best it's been in a very long time. So I'm going to get back in the water and save the trail hunting for next year (2010). It's not that far away anyway, so I can wait. But I've been missing out on all the surf action up north, so that'll be my main focus for the remaining of the year. I also want to wait for the new HTMC trail itinerary for the first three months of 2010 so I can finally attempt to get my membership (I must've said that a billion times). So I'll leave you all with a 2009 Video Summary of all the hikes my friends and I did this past year. Some were amazing, and some were plain stupid. Anyway, enjoy the video. Merry Christmas, and have an amazing New Year! Aloha!


Pali Puka - November 1, 2009

It's been three weeks since I fell fifty feet, head first off of Piliwale Ridge, and the healing process has been hell. My staples were removed a week after the incident, and my stitches are the kind that dissolve when the wound heals. So far it's been decent, but I had excruciating pain sensations shooting from the left side of my torso to my back after I got out of the emergency room, as well as a badly bruised tailbone. My doctor told me the left side of my torso experienced major internal bruising; the fall folded my body when I hit. He put me on some great pain medications (I've never heard of 650mg Ibuprofens, but whatever), he told me to stay off of work for two weeks (two weeks of doing nothing is depressing), and he told me to get some rest. Rest I did, but with all the medications I was taking for the pain, I started to develop onset insomnia. I couldn't sleep off the bat. I would have my eyes closed for four to five hours, but I wouldn't fall asleep, and this was all due to the medications I was taking. It was so frustrating, so I had to stop taking my medications and deal with the pain naturally. This went on for about a week until I got a full night's rest about several days ago. Bathing has been a bitch, too: I always forget that I can't put my wound directly under a running shower head, but sometimes I do, and it ends up bleeding when I'm done showering, and it just really fucking sucks. Plus, I always have to clean it with hydrogen peroxide after I bathe, wait for it to dry, and then plaster a layer of Neosporin. Then when I sleep, I have to remember not to sleep on the side that harbors my wound; I did that last weekend, and there was so much blood on my pillow that I thought I had opened it up all over again. But some stitches have healed, and aside from the wound being soft on some areas, the part that was stapled has been looking pretty good this week, so I told myself, "I'm gonna do a short hike," and I did. I did a REALLY short hike.

I just found out about a trail that starts right off of the Pali Lookout in Nu'uanu. It's called Pali Puka, and it's actually a really popular trail. If you look it up on the internet, there are loads of pictures, videos, and write-ups about the hike. With that said, it's an easy trail to find, and one I'm not going to bother giving directions for. Just remember that the trail starts at the left side of the Pali Lookout parking lot near where the buses park.

Daniel decided to hike with me today, and he, too, was on pain medications and muscle relaxers for the past two weeks for a pinched nerve from falling off Piliwale Ridge as well. I'm glad he's feels a little better. After Piliwale, I don't think I'm ever going to hike a non-state trail by myself again.

Walking across the Pali Lookout parking lot, we could see the trail start behind some bushes. It initially climbs steeply through a bamboo grove and eventually meets up with a utility pole. Past the utility pole, the trail hugs the edge of the ridge. The drop to the Kaneohe side of the ridge is vertical, and falling here would definitely be fatal. We took our time, and made it to a point where it looked like it was the last section to the "puka." (*Note: There is a hole in the ridge that was used by the Hawaiian warriors to spot incoming enemies. Pretty cool.)

Daniel led the way, and all of a sudden he was startled by a bunch of bees buzzing around a section on the ridge. "Not again," I thought. There was no way Daniel and I were going to get attacked by bees again with Piliwale fresh in our memory. And guess what we did? We turned around. Yep, I swear to god, Piliwale Ridge traumatized us, and I don't think we'll look at bees the same way we did before. And I know people do this trail all time, but there were a lot of bees around a certain section along the ridge. They weren't being aggressive, but we didn't want to risk triggering an attack. I mean, there wasn't as many bees on Piliwale, but there's gotta be a hive somewhere along the Pali Puka trail, and that made us turn around. I can't believe it. Just twenty minutes into the hike and we turned around. What a disappointing failure.

The Pali Puka trail is extremely short (not even half of a mile), and it is a bit dangerous. We didn't reach the super narrow section that I seen in the videos and pictures on the internet, but I will reach it once I gather up the balls to get over my fear of bees. I'M APIPHOBIC (for now)! WHAT THE HELL! It's okay, though. Next week is Kuolani-Waianu in Waiahole with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. Hopefully there's no bees on that trail.


Piliwale Ridge - October 10th, 2009

It’s been a year and a half since I did my first hike, and I never knew it would become an addiction. Internet research has taken me on trails around the island that I never knew existed: some trails bad, some good, some boring, and some trails just plain stupid to attempt. Oahu has its wide variety of valley trails, gulch trails, stream trails, and ridge trails, but for some reason, it’s the ridge trails that intrigue me the most. When I’m on the edge of a two-foot wide ridge, with massive drops on both sides, and the wind howling through my sweat-soaked T-shirt, there is no other feeling like it in the world. The feeling was in full-force while attempting Piliwale Ridge yesterday, and it’s by far the gnarliest ridge I’ve ever done.

I’ll start off with a little history of Piliwale Ridge. Piliwale Ridge was pioneered by a man of 100% Hawaiian blood. His name was Silver Piliwale. He was a member of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club, and was known for his spectacular trek from the Pupukea Boy Scout Camp to Moanalua Valley. That trek, if I’m not mistaken, was done on his 70th birthday, and he did it alone. I think it took him five days to complete the long journey. The guy is truly an inspiration. Anyway, Piliwale Ridge is his ridge. It can be accessed off of the Pali Highway side of the Maunawili Demonstration Trail. Let me start off by saying that this ridge is ridiculously dangerous, and it should not be attempted without proper gear. It’s dangerous because it encompasses everything that you do not want on a trail: it’s razor-thin narrow, it’s mind-boggling steep, it’s overgrown to the max, there are no previously installed ropes (except for one – we broke it), there’s a massive beehive along an exposed portion of the ridge, the trail requires that you walk (we crawled) on crumbly, rotten rock, and there are death drops to the right and left. Include the fact that Piliwale Ridge climbs to the highest peak in the Ko’olau Range, Konahuanui, and that you gain about 2,510 feet in about a mile and a half, then you’ve got yourself one of the most dangerous trails on the island of Oahu.

I’ve had my sights set on Piliwale for a while. I scouted it back in May this year (2009), and my intent was to come back and try to summit with a couple friends. Lots of things didn’t go as I wanted it to when I did Piliwale yesterday. The weather was really shitty for the whole week prior to our Piliwale attempt: the humidity was unreal, the winds were light, and rains had drenched the eastern side of the island pretty bad the night before we tackled Piliwale. The ridge was moist, the ground was soft, and the odds of heavy rains were high. But it was my birthday, so I wanted to remember it, just like my memorable birthday last year. Check out that hike here.

It took us a while to reach what is known as “The Notch.” The Notch is a sharp drop in the ridge that gives a frightful vantage point of what lies ahead. Beyond the notch is where Piliwale Ridge gets down to business. Daniel, Matt, and I stood at a grassing clearing, debating our next move: to go or not to go? We decided to go, but first, we made some phone calls to our mothers, informing them of what we were going to do and that if anything happened … well, you get the idea.

Descending the notch was tricky. It was steep, and no discernable trail seemed to exist. Beyond the notch, we had to contour the ridge to the left to try and climb up to the ridge crest. This part was difficult because we encountered a vertical rock face with a tree growing on top of it. It was high to reach, but I found some hand and footholds to reach the base of the tree. This tree would be our primary hand hold to gain the ridge crest. I grabbed the base of the tree with my right hand and pulled myself up. Daniel and Matt followed suit. Now on top of the ridge, I knew how narrow it was. It was seriously about a foot wide, with tree branches in our way. I busted out my machete and hacked away. I did a pretty good job, but walking here on the moss-laden ridge would have been super sketchy. We all crawled instead, and I have never crawled on a ridge before, but on this ridge, crawling is the only way to feel safe.

We then reached a 12-foot cable which was attached to a really weak tree. The tree was good enough to withstand the weight of one person, but no way could it hold two people. This cable section was super tricky. There weren’t a lot of footholds along the ridge because this part seemed to be the steepest. I somehow found my way to the top of the cable (don’t ask me how) stood up, and belted out a scream of excitement and relief. I looked at the ridge beyond, and it looked so damn fun. Past the cable, the ridge was exposed, still steep, but rocky with lots of places to position your feet and hands. Daniel was below me and asking how the hell I got up there. He was now at the bottom of the cable and was negotiating his proper footing. I guided him the best I could while Matt waited far below the cable.

All of a sudden I hear a bee buzzing in my ear. It was being extremely aggressive, and I thought, “It’s just one bee. It’ll leave me alone once I shoo it away.” I was wrong. What started as one bee attack came an attack from five bees stinging me from all angles. Daniel was almost to the top of the cable, and then I started panicking as I knew that at the top of this cable section, there was a massive beehive harboring thousands of angry bees. The bees kept dive-bombing to my face, neck, chest, and legs. I started to panic, franticly waving my towel around to get the bees off of me. But the bees were some of the most aggressive I’ve ever encountered. Sting after sting, Daniel and I tried to get off the narrow ridge as fast as we could. There was no way to bail out left or right: the drops on both sides were huge: the only way was to go down on top of the steep one-foot wide ridge. I somehow made it past Daniel, and I soon found myself at the end of the cable. With both our weight on the cable, the cable all of a sudden gave way. I began to fall. As I fell, I hit a tree, which repositioned my body to fall head first. I had some good hang time during the fall. Halfway into the fall, the thought of dying came into my mind.

“This is it,” I thought to myself during the freefall.

For those who don’t know, falling upside down for 50 feet is a long time, and a lot went through my head at that moment. I then hit the bottom hard with my head on either a root or a rock; I suspect it was a root; if it was a rock, my head injury would have been way worse or even fatal. I got up as fast as I could, well aware that I hit my head, but thinking it wasn’t that severe. I heard Daniel and Matt call out my name and ask if I was okay. Blood started to literally pour out from the top left corner of my forehead. I staggered on unstable dirt and fell again down slope as I headed back towards the notch. My adrenaline was pumping so hard at this point. I regained my footing and headed up to the top of the notch. Matt and Daniel soon joined me. I took out my Leatherman tool and Matt cut his shirt to use as a temporary bandage to stop the bleeding. We then debated on whether or not we should call rescue because of my condition.

“Do you hear that,” Matt asked.

“Sounds like a helicopter,” Daniel said.

We paused for a moment to make sense of what the sound was. The sound grew louder. We looked above us and saw a huge cloud of thousands of bees ambushing us. Again, I panicked, and quickly headed down the steep boulders from the notch downridge. I slid on my butt as far as I could downridge until I felt safe. Daniel and Matt were still far up the ridge. I waited on a level clearing under some trees, examining my injuries. My ribs felt as if they were broken. Sharp pains began to shoot from the front left of my ribs to my back. I took off the temporary gauze that Matt made from his shirt; it was very dirty and soaked with sweat. Daniel and Matt soon met me.

With my adrenaline waning, the pain was more excruciating. Matt offered to carry my pack to ease the weight off of my back. We got back down to the Maunawili Demo Trail in about 40 minutes – record time if you ask me. I didn’t know how severe my head wound was until I got to Matt’s car. There was a hole in my head, and I could see my hair folded into the gash. Daniel was complaining about pains in his lower right back. I found out after that he also fell off the same section as I did, but he didn’t fall as far. Fortunately, Castle Medical Center was right down the street, so we headed to its emergency room.

I got two MRI scans: one for my abdomen to check for internal bleeding and one for my head to see if blood was in my brain. I also got a chest X-ray to see if I fractured or broke a rib bone and/or punctured my lung. All results came out negative; although, I did get about 10 stitches and 5 staples to my head. I think Daniel also got an MRI to check the pain in his right lower back: that too, came out negative. Matt, aside from being stung multiple times and having minor scrapes, was just fine.

We got very lucky this day. If it wasn’t for the bees, we definitely would have made it to the summit of Konahuanui. If anyone tries to attempt it now (and I highly recommend you don't -- this trail is nuts!!!), you will need ropes or cables; this trail requires it. The reason why I fell was because the cable gave way on the weak tree it was attached to. Amongst all the panic and chaos, Daniel and I were both putting our weight on the cable, and that’s why it broke. Another good thing to have is pants and a sharp machete. We did some minor clearing well before and just before the notch; we also bushwhacked some vegetation on the first hundred feet or so past the notch, but the trail is still overgrown. And it’s going to sound ridiculous, but the top half of a bee suit would be worth bringing. There is a beehive right above where the cable was connected, and man, are they aggressive. I don’t know what triggered them to attack us, but they seriously did not want us there. I’m guessing they were protecting their queen or something. I’m going to take it easy for a while. My injuries have to heal, but when my wounds do heal, I’ll be back on the trails, guaranteed, and this time, I’m seriously going to go with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club to finally work on getting my membership. With five staples in my head and Piliwale Ridge being my seventieth hike in a year and half, I think I’ve paid my dues. And holy shit, what a way to celebrate my 26th birthday! Now where’s my damn percocets?

photo: D. Napoleon

photo: D. Napoleon

photo: D. Napoleon


photo: D. Napoleon


photo: M. Gambol

photo: M. Gambol

photo: M. Gambol



Kamanaiki Ridge - September 28, 2009

Yesterday I squeezed in a solo hike in between my EMT and Chemistry classes. With around four hours to spare, I chose to hike Kamanaiki Ridge in Kalhi. I did the hike back in May 2008. You can see that write-up by visiting the following link: Kamanaiki Ridge - May 28th, 2008.

Although Kamanaiki isn't the greatest trail on the island, it definitely delivers a good workout. The trail is a total of about five miles, but I didn't go to the end point; I acutally stopped about 4/5 of the way to the end. One thing I did notice that i didn't notice the last time I did the trail was that there are several other ways to gain the crest of Kamanaiki Ridge. Along with the prominent side ridge that juts out on the northwest, there are a couple steep side ridges from the southeast that allow one to gain the crest of the ridge as well. All look steep, and I'm assuming the start of those trails begin at certain cul-de-sacs in certain neighborhoods.

I'm planning to do this trail every Monday if I don't get a hike in on the weekend like I did this past weekend. My primary goal next month is to obtain membership in the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. I've been meaning to do it for a while now. Check out the HTMC website at HTMClub.org to see what hikes are coming up. I'm going to do three of them. Aloha!


Pu'u Kaua - September 20, 2009

Access to this trail always intrigued me; it also intimidated me. I heard through the grapevine about gates opening and closing at odds times, field workers giving hikers a hard time for driving or walking on the dirt roads to the trailhead, and the trail itself being in need of a bushwhack. Me, Kevin, and Daniel found all of this to be the total opposite. Aside from getting lost more than three times, the trail turned out to be an adventure: an adventure that Daniel claimed to the "longest short hike" we ever did.

If you drive on the dirt roads to the trailhead, Kaua is a total of only three miles; if you walk the dirt roads, it's a little over six miles total. For us, getting to the trailhead took some patience. Instead of driving, we walked. If you don't know the complex maze of roads that make up Kunia fields, chances are you'll get lost like we did. I'm pretty good at following directions, but in Stuart Ball's "Hiking Guide to Oahu," a lot of the landmarks he mentioned are now gone. By some miracle, we found our way to the trailhead, or what we thought was the correct trailhead. And it was, and from there is where our journey to the top of Pu'u Kaua began.

I really don't want to elaborate on how we got lost on the trail in Ekahanui Gulch, so I'm going to leave that to your imagination. I'll just tell you that getting lost backtracked us TWO HOURS! That's how lost we were. We even sat down to think about if we were actually going to go on with completing the hike or if we were going to walk back to our cars and call it a day. We headed into the gulch one more time and -- viola! -- we found the correct route hiding across a dry streambed with a well-defined trail hiding behind thick California grass. (Think "The Legend of Zelda" and you'll catch my drift.)

The trail we were now on was suprisingly well-trodden and looked as though it gets a lot of hiker traffic. In fact, it initially resembled a state trail: wide, rooty, and very easy to follow. The going began to get tough, though. The hill we were walking on began to steepen as we passed a long stretch of guavas. After a long hull up the steep and shady hill, the trail continued on, narrowing and becoming more exposed. The trail didn't narrow to death-defying proportions, it was just steep, and it got even steeper just before we reached the top of Kaua.

Just before the top, we encountered four rope sections to aid in the last steep climb to gain the summit. The rope sections were short, and before we knew it, we were at the top. The view was amazing. At a grassy clearing, we had 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape. To the west we could see straight down into Lualualei Valley and the coasts of Nanakuli and Waianae. To the northwest was the towering ridges of Kamaileunu and Keaau. Looking toward Kolekole Pass were the peaks of Kanehoa, Hapapa, Kalena, and Ka'ala. To the northeast was the North Shore. To the east was a lofty view of the Ko'olaus and the entire Central Oahu. From there, we could even see Waikiki and Diamond Head in the distance.

Looking back at the dirt road maze from the top, we mapped our route back by eyeballing certain roads back to our car -- easier said than done. When we got back to the dirt roads, we got lost again after 45 minutes of following a road that was choked with head high California grass. This was not a predicament we wanted to get ourselves into, especially with the midday sun beaming on us in what used to pineapple fields. For those who don't know, Kunia gets burning hot, and this day was no exception. Our flush red faces said it all. We eventually found the correct dirt road and got back to our car, six-and-a-half hours from when we started.

I'm going to leave the trailhead details hush-hush. The trail is very beautiful, and there are tons of native plants along the way. I assume The Nature Conservancy would truly appreciate that I keep the trailhead directions on the down-low; they own the area for Pete's sake! The only way to do this hike legally would be to do it with a legit hiking club like the HTMC or The Sierra Club. Doing the trail illegally requires trespassing (of course), but like all private property trails on the island, that's what has to be done. And I assume a weekend is the best time to do this trail because we didn't see anyone in the area.


Lower Lulumahu Falls - September 7, 2009

Labor Day went smoothly for me and Daniel yesterday. Because it was a holiday, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try out a little known trail that is usually monitored for trespassers on regular work days. And yes, we trespassed, but not one person was in the area to bust us. It was a perfect day to hike what few people know as the Lower Lulumahu Falls trail.

Initially, the trail starts in a thick bamboo forest. The trail is somewhat difficult to find thereafter, for Daniel and I got lost multiple of times. If you happen to come across finding this trail, you’ll know you’re on the right track when you pass and smell ginger plants to the left and right. Immediately after passing the ginger, the stream comes into view. There are not much ribbons, and there are several stream crossings; however, all you have to do is follow trails upstream and you should reach the waterfall in no time.

The waterfall is not very hard to get to. In fact, it’s the easiest waterfall trail I’ve done so far. The trail is supposedly three miles, but it seemed to be a lot shorter. There was also one thing missing: we didn’t pass King Kamehameha III’s summer palace. According to the sources I visited on the web, the trail to Lower Lulumahu Falls passes Kaniakapupu, a summer palace that once held a party of 10,000 people in 1847. To our dismay, we didn’t find it. I’m assuming we took another trail.

I would highly recommend doing this trail on a holiday like we did. Because the trail is on private property, I’m going to keep the trailhead a secret. Judging from the pictures, some of you will know where it is. If not, I’ll give you a hint: Nu’uanu Valley.



Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven)-Moanalua Valley - August 30, 2009

Writing a long, drawn out description of the hike I did on Sunday will do no justice; you have to do the hike yourself to appreciate the lofty views and treacherous sections that is the Haiku Stairs -- or most commonly known as "The Stairway to Heaven." Think of it as a massive roller coaster track: the only thing is that the track is lain out on a narrow and extremely steep ridge that you're walking on. The Haiku Stairs has a lot of history surrounding it's 66 years of existence. Check out the following link for an in depth look at the stairs: http://davewjessup.smugmug.com/.

Seven of us accomplished the hike on Sunday: Daniel Napoleon, Anthony Czumalowski, Allan Soliven, Chris Prado, Ian Diaz, Shadow-Kamaka'u'ole Koko, and myself. Ian and Chris had done the stairs before, but I had proposed a variation of the hike. I had never done the stairs before, so I was very excited to say the least. My plan was to hike up the stairs and descend into Moanalua Valley via Moanalua's Middle Ridge. The middle ridge is famous for its narrow sections and towering views overlooking the ridges to the north; the ridge is also one of the routes for the Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe loop, a loop that I completed in June 2008.

Because there are guards that patrol the Haiku Stairs trailhead from 6am to the afternoon, we got off to a 5am start. It was so early in fact that we hiked in the dark with flashlights. There are multiple ways to get to the stairs, and the one Chris showed us seemed to be the safest way without getting caught. The street that we parked on was Kuneki Place. There is a concrete canal that we had to follow in order to get to a discernible trail. Google directions to Kuneki Place. It's easy to find.

It took us about an hour-and-a-half to reach the top of the stairs. From there, we pushed off in misty clouds and shin deep mud along the narrow Ko'olau summit toward Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe (elev. ~2,800 ft.). The view going down the middle ridge was spectacular. It is definitely one of the most beautiful southern Ko'olau ridges. The initial part of the ridge is so high that it dwarfs all the ridges to the north.

We completed the hike in exactly five-and-a-half hours. Daniel had the idea of doing the trail again with a different route: we would climb down (turn right at the stairs top out) to Kulana'ahane and head out on that route. I've acutally done research of that route, and from what I've found, no one has any evidence of doing it. Probably because the ridge looks mental, and Daniel is...well...mental. With that said, though, I'd definitely do this hike again. The views are one of the best in the island. I'm not posting much pictures, but there is video of the hike that should suffice.



Waimalu Ditch Loop Trail - August 21, 2009

Daniel said it best before the hike we did on Friday: “The name of that trail sounds shitty.” Kevin and I thought about the name, too, but if the trail is listed on the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club’s website, there must be something cool about it.

The trail in question was the Waimalu Ditch Trail. When I thought of the word “ditch,” I imagined a concrete canal nestled in some valley filled with starving mosquitoes and the foul stench of stagnant water. But I always envision a trail to be the way I think it turns out, and I’m always way off. The Waimalu Ditch Trail actually turned out to be a fun little loop hike; it was so fun, in fact, that I want to go back and explore the valley a little more.

The Waimalu Ditch trailhead is easy to find. From Moanalua Road (the same road that heads to Pearlridge Shopping Center), turn mauka (mountain) on Kaonohi Street, and follow the street all the way to the top until you reach Onikiniki Place. Just before the gated community, park somewhere along Onikiniki. The trail begins on the left side of the gate.

At the very start of the trail, a small plaque can be seen fixated on a tree. The plaque is posted for lost Australian hiker named John Parsons; he was lost on the trail in September 2008. His body/remains have yet to found.

Past the plaque is a very well-defined trail. The trail immediately splits. Stay to the left. A descent will resume on what veteran HTMC hikers call The Dogshit Trail. What a brilliant name! There was dogshit everywhere! Our eyes were keen to hop and skip where ever it was needed.

After a short ways the trail will split again. Going left will take you down to the stream; going straight will take you to a junction that climbs ridiculous steep to Waimalu Middle Ridge, which his actually the return route of the loop. Doing the loop in a counterclockwise direction is not recommended. Take the clockwise direction like we did; it is a lot easier.

The trail contours comfortably for almost an hour. It even heads makai (seaward) for a few minutes to edge around Waimalu Middle Ridge. (*A critical junction to remember is where the first sight of uluhe ferns starts. Walk a ways, passing a wall of uluhe on your right, until it tapers to a grassy area. Up ahead the trail makes an obvious and gradual descent. While looking toward the Ko’olau summit, turn in the direction of four-o’clock. A faint, grassy trail will manifest itself, and ribbons will soon come into view. Remember this junction to make the hike a loop; the aforementioned trail climbs steeply to Waimalu Middle Ridge and heads back to the start of the hike.)

We proceeded straight to our first sight of the stream. It was flowing quite nicely, and the water was extremely clear. We crossed the stream a number of times, passing some nice swimming holes along the way. We also encountered a group of hunters that caught a nice size boar.

At a certain point we reached a tree marked with three ribbons indicating the end of the trail. Further progress was possible, but after asking the hunters how far the trail went on, they told us that it goes on for another ten minutes and just closes up. So we turned around and headed back toward the junction that heads up to Waimalu Middle Ridge.

The climb up to gain the crest of the middle ridge reminded me of the hike up to “Three Poles” in Waianae Valley: steep, tiring, and not suited for a novice hiker. After twenty minutes of ascending, we finally reached the crest of Waimalu Middle Ridge. Turning left can bring one all the way to the Ko’olau summit; turning right, which is what we did, brings one back to the trailhead.

The trail along the ridge was choked with uluhe. Scraping and bleeding on our legs followed suit, and we soon reached a junction that took us extremely steep down the left side of the ridge. As far as I’m concerned, there was virtually no trail. All we could follow were ribbons. After falling and getting dirty, we finally reach the bottom and followed an obvious path back to The Dogshit Trail.

The populous area of Waimalu, Pearl City, and Aiea is a little discouraging. I never thought that above these cities was a lush area full of valleys and streams. From the trail looking toward the Ko’olau summit, there are three ridges: one to the left, one in the middle, and one to the right; all of which I’m pretty sure can be hiked all the way to the summit. I’ll have to check out these ridge options sometime in the future. The trail took me, Kevin, and Daniel a little over five hours to complete, and it was a hell of a workout. We descended a ridge, contoured a ridge, climbed over it, and then climbed back up a ridge. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful trail, and it is definitely one I wouldn’t mind doing again.

The lush Waimalu Valley.

Anyone know what kind of bird this is? (photo: D. Napoleon)

Ie'ie. (photo: D. Napoleon)

Peaking through the uluhe on Waimalu Middle Ridge.

Lots of uluhe to push through on top of the ridge.

Daniel climb, Kevin laugh.

Anyone know what kind of flower this is?

Pools along the stream:

photo: D. Napoleon

photo: D. Napoleon