Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bay Bum Ridge (Moanalua Valley north/left ridge)

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club christened this route as "Bay Bum Ridge" and I am unaware of the hows and whys of the naming but Steve Poor and I hiked this on a recent Saturday, the one where Hawaii was in an uproar due to a missile launch from North Korea that never was.

Actually, the text message that went awry came out a few minutes past eight, and at that time I was at home in Kaneohe getting ready for the hike, which was supposed to begin at 9 a.m. at the end of Ala Aolani Street. I'll admit that I was a bit alarmed upon seeing the text (see below) but when the expected civil defense warning sirens never came (at least not where I live), I figured it was a false alarm or a hoax. It turns out that if was the former.

In any case, the hike was on and I headed to Moanalua Valley where I met Steve, who was oblivious to all the chaos. We did see some hikers beating a hasty retreat out of the valley and upon questioning them, they said they were military types who were ordered back to base as a result of the missile-threat-that-never-was.

As for the hike of Bay Bum Ridge (Steve said it might be a play on Bay Rum Ridge, which if so, still would warrant a how and/or why explanation about the naming), we hiked up the valley road until reaching the fourth bridge. At that point, a trail heads up on the left thru a bamboo grove (trailhead pic below).

After ascending the bamboo section, we broke out in the open at a powerline tower at which point the trail veered rightward to pick up a spur ridge, which likely was the aforementioned Bay Bum. The club recently hiked the trail (in December 2017), so it was in good shape and well cleared (despite not appearing so in the pic below).

Bay Bum eventually intersects the north/left ridge of Moanalua Valley at a prominent Norfolk (or Cook Island?) pine grove. Starting at the end of Ala Aolani, speed hikers can likely reach this grove via Bay Bum in an hour, but Steve and I were not in speed-hiking mode on this day (plus we're old--me, 59, and Steve, 70). Thus we took a more pedestrian, botanical pace (Steve loves to talk about flora along the trail, including the healthy koa tree pictured below).

Once we arrived at the pine grove, we enjoyed some nice views, including one of upper Moanalua, a prominent feature of which is Moanalua middle ridge, the route of choice nowadays to reach the Haiku Stairs/Stairway to Heaven (see pic below).
Below: View down into Moanalua Valley from the pine grove
After completing our banquet of eye-kaukau, we sat down and had some opu-kaukau at a shaded spot amongst the pines. During lunch, Steve played his version of the Poor Family Anthem, which he recorded on his phone with friends to the melody of Auld Lang Syne. A memorable line: Poor but not in hope!

From the pine grove, we headed down (makai) the north ridge, following a well-cleared trail and enjoying ample views, including one of the Waianae range in the distance (below).

Eventually, in an hour or so, the trail transitioned to a jeep road which we followed until we reached a junction, heavily marked with ribbons, where we left the north ridge and descended a trail down to the basketball court at the park at the end of Ala Aolani. From the park, Steve eyed a large rockface on the side of north ridge and expressed an interest in hiking up to said face to check it out for rock climbing, an avocation Steve is fond of. But such a hike would not be on this day but another, perhaps on an upcoming weekend, so stay tuned.