First, to gain the ridgeline a couple of short switchbacks must be climbed. Once I gained the ridge crest it was obvious that the trail harbored little protection from the blazing sun. Today was no exception. The morning clouds cleared with the incoming tradewinds, and the sun showed no mercy. The beginning of the ridge is choked with grass. With the abundance of grass it was easy to steer away from the trail, but ribbons -- new and very old -- kept me on track.
There weren't many steep climbs, and the ridge wasn't all that dangerous; however, I counted only three hairy sections, but you'd have to be an idiot to fall off. The majority of Kamiloiki Ridge is very wide. One section hugs around a rock face with a nice drop off to the right. One slip off this section would definitely send one to the hospital or even the morgue.
The lack of shade is another drawback. Only until before the summit is there shade. A nice little ironwood grove offers a nice resting spot. I even spotted a fire pit in the ironwood grove, which is crazy because ironwoods are the perfect fuel for fire. From the resting spot the summit is only about ten minutes away. The trail, still in shade, switchbacks a few times up the mountain until it tops out at the Ko'olau Summit at a little over 1,200 feet. Views of Waimanalo, Olomana, Lanikai, and Kailua sit dead ahead. The summit offers a nice place to hang out and eat lunch, but watch out for the dangerous drop right in front. One slip, and bye-bye.
The apex of Kamiloiki Ridge is one that I've been at before. Back in August 2008, Basil and I hiked up Makapu'u Ridge. We failed in finding the steep ridge descent into Waimanalo via the Tom-Tom trail, but I do remember passing the Kamiloiki Ridge junction. Only until today did I know that it was the Kamiloiki junction.
In a nutshell, the Kamiloiki Ridge hike is dry, grassy, hot, and rocky. It took me an hour-and-a-half to get to the top and forty-five minutes to get back to my car. Getting to the top would've taken me about an hour, but I made a bunch of stops along the way to take pictures. In addition, the trail is not very taxing, but it does offer a good workout. Most internet hiking websites would rate the trail for intermediate hikers. Maybe, but I would rate it in between novice and intermediate, weather permitting. A hot day: intermediate. A cloudy day: novice.
This part is pretty nuts. The trail hugs the side of the ridge with a vegetated drop on the right side. A fall here would send one to the hospital or the morgue.