Koko Crater Rim - May 22, 2010

One of the windiest hikes I've been on. Read more about the trail by checking out the following links (copy and paste the links into the address bar in your browser).


Island Trails - Koko Crater Rim (GoPro POV) from Island Trails on Vimeo.


Olomana - May 18, 2010

My third hike to Olomana's three peaks and back was a success. The weather was breezy and sunny, the ridge was dry, and the trail itself was still dangerous as ever. As dangerous as it is, Olomana reigns as being one of the most trodden trails on the island of Oahu. Weather permitting, I'll bet that not a day passes where there are at least ten people that set foot on the trail.

Situated in Kailua at the Luana Hills Country Club and Golf Course, Olomana is easily accessible. If you are planning to hike instead of golf, parking is not allowed on the country club's grounds, but parking just outside of the sentry station is permitted. A third-of-a-mile walk on a paved road past the sentry is the Olomana trailhead on the left marked by a white rectangular sign.

The initial portion of the trail offers a great warm-up of what lies ahead. The elevation gain is gradual under shady forest and on a somtimes rutted trail. After a passing a breezy grove of ironwood trees, the path begins to steepen, becoming less rutted. The majority of the ascent to the first peak is very shady. Near the top there are several rocky and rooty rope sections that have to be negotiated. If you've made it past these rope sections, the view at the top of the first peak -- the highest of all the three peaks -- is well-worth it after the 45-minutes of sweat dripping off of your chin. The 360-degree view is awesome. Looking to the ocean horizon is Kailua town, Lanikai, and the Mokulua Islands. To the right is Waimanalo town and Rabbit Island far in the distance. To the left is Kaneohe Bay; looking further are the towns of Kahalu'u and Waiahole; beyond is Kualoa and Chinaman's Hat. Behind is the towering Ko'olau cliffs and ridges with Maunawili Valley at its base. It is here where some hikers decide to turn around and head home, but if you're willing to add a few more hours of excitement to the hike, the second and third peak is your destination.

From the lookout the trail heads to a saddle between the first and second peaks. The trail then climbs steeply to the top of the second peak. A rope is conveniently anchored here to provide confidence. The top of the second peak is shady and cramped, and the view, unlike the first peak, is somewhat obscured by the vegetation. Getting to the saddle between the second and third peak involves an extremely steep descent along loose and crumbly rock. There are multiple ropes along this portion of the trail; however, it is advisable not to put all your weight on these ropes. Find your footing, and go slow. Be aware of other hikers below you. Rocks in this section of the trail are easily loosened and can hit someone below. Once you've reached the saddle between the second and third peak, take a look back at the second peak. It is jaw-dropping and hard to believe you have descended such a section. Now it's on to the third peak.

Pass a few rope sections until you reach a tall, odd looking rock formation with a hole in it. Here the trail jogs to the left around the rock formation. A rope is in place here for added security. After making it around this rock formation climb steeply with the aid of many ropes on what I consider to be the most dangerous part of the hike. The ridge here narrows to mind-boggling proportions with sheer drops on both sides. The scrambling along this steep and narrow ridge can be a nightmare to some, but as with all perilous trail sections, take it slow, fixate your eyes to the trail, and find ample footholds and handholds. You'll eventually find yourself on Olomana's third peak. A cache with a log book littered with stories and signatures of past hikers who made it to the third peak sits at the lunch spot. At this spot, an awesome view of Maunawili Valley offers a perfect opportunity to take pictures. Now rested, are you ready to do everything in reverse?

It is possible to descend the backside of the third peak, but it is extremely dangerous. It eventually bottoms out at a trail that leads back to the initial portion of the main trail going up to the first peak. I haven't done it yet, but I plan to some time in the future. Take a look at the video I shot as well. It was taken with my GoPro High-Definition Hero video camera

Island Trails - Olomana (GoPro POV) from Island Trails on Vimeo.


Pu'u Hapapa - May 9, 2010

Pu'u Hapapa is turning out to be one of my favorite hikes on the island. The route is short and rewarding, with a bit of danger thrown in to spice it up. I completed this similar loop on my 25th birthday in October 2008. Hikers usually reach the peak of Hapapa and come back down the same way they came up, but there are multiple routes that can be taken to reach the 2,883 foot peak.

In 2008, my friends and I ascended a short, steep ridge that eventually meets up with the main ridge to be followed to Hapapa. This time around Mark, Alison, and I accidentally found the ridge that the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club use, so we ascended that instead; this ridge also meets up with the main ridge. The club route is well marked and very easy to follow. From what I remember, the ridge I did in '08 was a bit more taxing and vegatated; I highly recommend taking the club route.

The exposure along parts of the main ridge is nothing to fret about. With considerable drops on the southeast side of the ridge, the trail stays true to the ridge crest, making for a safe trek to the mountain peak. To make the trail a loop we headed down a spur ridge descending north, eventually bottoming out at the Hono'uli'uli Contour Trail.

The spur ridge has two sizeable notches, the second being the largest. There are no trees or ropes to hold onto for security on these massive drops, but there are a lot of spots to place your hands and feet on the way down. For some reason, the last time I encountered the ridge and its notches I thought it to be the most gnarliest of ridges. I now admit that this spur ridge is not at all dangerous unless you take your time. A slip could prove deadly, but this ridge is nothing to bark about. Nonetheless, ropes would be very handy at the notches, and we actually had some, but we decided not to install any, for there was nothing to anchor the ropes to: not one single tree. If we had had metal stakes or pegs, we could have hammered those into each notch and anchored the rope. For those willing to ascend the spur ridge, ropes would be doubly useful if it were in place.

Breezy tradewinds and clear skies on our recent outing made our recent trek to Hapapa a memorable one. I will definitely be back to do the loop again. I spotted another ridge that shoots directly toward the summit of Hapapa. It looks steep, but very doable. I'll have to explore that in another outing. The total distance of the loop hike can't be more than five miles. I'm pretty sure the trail can be done in three hours; this outing took us a little over four hours because of the long break we took at the top eating our MRE's. (Quick side note: the MRE containing refried beans with a side packet of picante sauce is the best tasting MRE on the planet.) I'm debating on where next weekend's hike will be. It will either be Bowman Shortcut or Malaekahana. We'll see. Summer is upon us; let the hiking begin.

The view of Pu'u Hapapa from the ridge.  (photo: A. Hayami)

On the main ridge.

Ohi'a.  (photo: A. Hayami)

Mark on an exposed section along the ridge.

Beautiful macro shot Alison took with my camera.  (photo: A. Hayami)

Ready to eat our MRE's at the top of Hapapa.

Alison's moneyshot looking toward Waianae Valley.  (photo: A. Hayami)

Looking towards the peaks of Pu'u Kalena and Mount Ka'ala.  Notice the small rock quarry near the bottom of the image.  I hope the Kalena trail doesn't fall victim to the rock work.  (photo: A. Hayami)

Coming back down the main ridge.  (photo: A. Hayami)

One of the more narrower sections along the main ridge.

 Here I am at the edge of a section along the spur ridge.  (photo: A. Hayami)

There's Mark at the top of the 2nd notch.

Me and Mark on a ledge just after descending the 2nd notch.  (photo: A. Hayami)

Awesome views.

Back at the meadow.