Hawaii Loa Ridge - June 24, 2008

With the painful memory of Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe behind me, I decided to go for a relatively easy hike to the top of Hawaii Loa Ridge. Chase, Kaleo, and Kapono would agree that it was fun hike, but it would've been better if the top wasn't completely socked in. It was also raining on the way up and on the way down, making the going extremely slippery and muddy. The trail is easy in the beginning. I counted around five climbs, with the last being the steepest, and Kaleo said that he wished he had a slinky. The last steep section is eroded and rutted on some parts. There's ropes and stairs for the steepest sections. We reached the summit around 10:30am. It was freezing, like a natural air conditioner, and there was no view of the windward side at all because of the cloud cover. We ate our lunch and saw a peak to the left that wasn't so far away along the summit ridge. We decided to trek to it. The trail to the peak was extremely overgrown. We reached the unnamed peak's summit and immediately turned back because the wind started to pick up and it started to rain. I'll probably never do this hike again, unless I know for sure that it's going to be free of clouds at the top.

Big hill we had to descend. We had to come back up this hill on the way back.

Chase and Kaleo were leaving Kapono and I in the dust.

End of the trail. No view. Completely socked in.

Photo of Kapono, Kaleo, and Chase along the summit ridge to the unnamed peak.

Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe - June 22, 2008

"This hike is brutal," Matt said as Shanoah, Rio, and I descended the return ridge. Brutal it was. Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe is nuts! I had been waiting so long to do this hike. I thought that permission had to be granted by Moanalua Gardens first, but after calling them they told me that the trail is now owned by the state; therefore, the trail is now open to the public. The trail is an 11 mile loop that starts with a two-and-a-half mile walk on a dirt road to a right junction that climbs an extremely steep ridge that eventually reaches Tripler Ridge and immediately turns left. From this point is where the trail gets down to business with a slew of ups-and-downs and narrow spots. Long, steep climbs, accompanied by a slippery and muddy path made our progress slow. Shanoah and Rio wore shorts; Matt and I opted for pants, and for good reason. In some parts along the hike the trail was overgrown, and Shanoah and Rio's legs were getting scratched and poked by uluhe ferns and Clidemia shrubs. After a little over three miles of hiking, the trail reaches a flat, grassy knob, 2,760 feet above the H-3 freeway's Likelike off ramp, but the trail doesn't end here; a left turn on the narrow Ko'olau summit ridge resumes climbing to the peak of Maunakapu (2,820 feet), while passing two electrical towers, power lines, a radar tower, and a super nuts side trail to the right that Hawaiian Electric worker probably hike to get to a certain power line connector. Matt went a little ways down that trail and turned around; that trail looks super nuts! From the top of Maunakapu the trail splits left and right. The right junction leads to the Stairway To Heaven (Haiku Stairs); the left junction was the return leg of our hike down what is known as "the middle ridge" of Moanalua Valley. The ridge descent back was neverending. We couldn't believe how high and far we were from where we started. Matt's legs even buckled from exhaustion a few times. Once we got to the bottom "the middle ridge," the hike wasn't over. The dirt road we walked in the beginning had to be done in reverse. After nine-and-a-half hours of hiking -- yep, you heard me right: we started at 8am and ended at 5:30pm -- we finally reached my car. We would have finished earlier, but when we started on the dirt road in the morning we missed the first junction and hiked past the junction well over a mile, side-tracking us two hours and increasing the original mileage we had to hike. Rio estimated we did fifteen miles. My findings on Google Earth and internet topographic maps pointed around fourteen-and-a-half. What an adventure. Try it out, if you're willing, but start early; this hike will take you all day, and your leg muscles and feet will be in pain after you do it. It's been three days since I did the hike, and my legs still hurt.

7/19/08 EDIT: Removed pictures for undisclosed reason. The pictures I have from this hike are incredible. If you are planning to do this hike and you would like to see some photos, email me and I'll send a few photos for you.

Koko Crater - June 21, 2008

I completed the Koko Crater hike by myself today. Most people take the stairs to the top; I opted for the ridge. The main ridge hike starts off of the road near the Blowhole. The climb to the crater rim can be done from any ridge along the mountain. I found one ridge that was steeper than the one that hikers use all the time. That ridge got the best of me and I ate shit coming down when I knew I was on a less traveled path. I got a pretty nice gash on my left leg, but nothing major. It just sucked because I just started the hike and got injured. The hike is very dry, and the initial climb is pretty steep. It was a beautiful day, and luckily, the tradewinds were howling; if there was no wind, this hike would have been hell. When I reached the crater rim the remaining portion of the hike was surprisingly narrow and rugged. The views from the top were better than I had expected, considering the two mile round-trip. From the top you can see directly into the crater, with Makapu'u Point in the distance, and views of Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay, and Portlock to the south.

Here's the ridge. It eventually swings right and continues with a stiff climb to the crater rim.

It would be so cool if this picture was of a real mountain. It looks big, but it's actually a rock formation that's about one foot high.

Cool rock formation. The trail is on top of this arch.

The crater ridgeline to the top.

Another cool rock formation.

This hike was suprisingly narrow on some sections.

Old-school winch at the apex of the crater.

The stairs. Kind of boring if you ask me, but a lot of people were on it.


Koko Crater.

Hanauma Bay.

Hawaii Kai.


Wiliwilinui - June 14, 2008

I had planned to hike to Mount Ka'ala this day, but no one was up for it. I decided to go solo up Wiliwilinui Ridge: a much easier hike than Ka'ala. I arrived at the trailhead around 8:00am and proceeded up the dirt road at the end of the culdesac. The rain turned off and on, making the road muddy at some parts. Initially, the summit looked socked in with clouds, but as the hike went on the weather cleared. The majority of the trail follows a dirt road used by 4x4 trucks and eventually ends at a vehicle turnaround. At this turnaround is where the ridge hike begins. From here the trail narrows, and the hike to the summit is less than a mile. The start of the ridge reminds me of the level section at Kuli'ou'ou Ridge. The last section to the summit is steep, muddy, and rutted, and there are some long ropes to help the ascent. A television transmission tower sits atop the summit. Just past the tower is a view that overlooks most of the windward side. The trail continues on to the left or the right; to the left is Pu'u Lanipo, and to the right is Hawaii Loa Ridge. I saw a higher peak to the right and proceeded on the summit ridge. The summit ridge trail was narrow and heavily overgrown, but it was there. Once I reached the top of the unnamed peak, I looked for a spot to eat my lunch, but there was no where to sit because of the heavy vegetation. I continued along the trail a little more and saw that the summit connector continued past Hawaii Loa Ridge, Kuli'ou'ou Ridge, and ended at Makapu'u. I could even see where Shanoah and I hiked up to Pu'u O Kona. The cliffs looked mental from where I was. It would be awesome to connect some peaks from the summit ridge; maybe next time. I ended back at the culdesac four hours later. It would've been shorter, but I took my time taking pictures and listening to music on my phone's MP3 player. It's a really easy hike, and it's great for beginners. For novices, the last steep section with ropes makes it feel like an accomplishment once the top is reached. The total distance of the hike is about five miles round trip.

Start of the ridge at the vehicle turnaround.

There's the steep section to the tower.

Less than a mile away.

Walking to the lookout. The tower is behind me.

The end of the state trail, but not for me. Just behind this sign is the summit trail.

I continued on the next peak over (top right).

I like drops.

Almost there.

Looking back at the ridge I just hiked, with the Wiliwilinui tower in the left portion of the picture.

And this is where I stopped. The trail continued on following the ridge, but doing it by myself didn't sound like a good idea that day.

Here's the unnamed peak I hike to from turning right at the lookout. To take this picture I turned left at the lookout.


Wailupe Valley.

Wailupe Valley with my fish eye lens.

From left to right: Portlock, Hawaii Kai, and Aina Haina.

There's the tower, and there's Waikiki.

From the top of Wailupe Valley.

Solid view. The mountain in the clouds is Konahuanui: the highest mountain in the Ko'olau Range. That steep ridge on its side is called the Piliwale Ridge: considered to be THE most dangerous hike on Oahu. It goes up 3,100 feet in less than four miles. I'll have it up on the blog by the end of summer.

Olomana. Shanoah, Rio, and I did it about three weeks ago. You can check it out by clicking the following link. http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2008/05/its-end-of-may-and-ive-done-lot-of.html

Rabbit Island. In the top right of the picture you can see Kuli'ou'ou Ridge turn left to Pu'u O Kona. That ridge to O Kona is no joke. Super narrow and super dangerous. Check out that hike here. http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2008/06/puu-o-kona-via-kuliouou-ridge-june-11.html


I've read up on this flower, and it's an alien species of plant. It's not native at all. It's kind of like a weed, but it's a nice flower. Is that a grasshopper? Doesn't look like one.

*I've got so much hikes I've been itching to do. Look for Mount Ka'ala from Waianae, Lanihuli via Kamanaiki, and hopefully, Pu'u Kalena in the coming weeks.