Friday, July 2, 2021

Wahiawa to Lualualei via Kolekole Pass

Today (4 Aug 2001), accompanied by several hundred folks, including the J&J girls (Jackie and Jamie), I completed a 13.1-mile "hike" that began in Wahiawa and ended in Lualualei Valley on the Waianae side. I had never explored the back reaches of Lualualei, and today was a good opportunity to view the lay of the land. Beautiful! During the hours I was out and about, I ran into several acquaintances, including Mike Fujita & Jean Tsukamoto (HTMC), Bart Mathias (Solemates), and Lt. Colonel Lew Naumchek (a high school buddy). Good to see them all.

Some of us started early--6:00 a.m. to be precise--and doing that helped us avoid the worst of the heat, which can soar on Oahu's west side. Others looking for a shorter (6-mile) "hike" began at 7:30 at the top of Kolekole Pass. Actually, I was in favor of the shorter outing but was overruled by the J&J girls, resolute about tackling the long way even though they had done minimal physical prep in the preceding months/weeks. A despiser of whining, I insisted I hear none of that during the day. The solution: I proceed at my pace and they at theirs. Yup, that worked out just fine.

The route we 6:00 a.m.-ers followed took us on a tour of a large section of the Schofield Barracks base housing, some structures being quite new (and perhaps built by Ralph Valentino and colleagues?) and some not-so-new (circa WWII?). Military personnel manned key junctions along the way to help us through the labyrinth of roads on post. Additionally, volunteers from Hope Chapel handed out water at several points on our route. Much appreciation to all the volunteers for not only the H20 but also the positive greetings served up to weary, sweaty folks.

With the 4-mile tour of Schofield housing complete, we next faced a steady 3-mile climb to Kolekole Pass, which was something I'd never experienced on foot before. Though I was sweating heavily and huffing and puffing, I enjoyed the ascent. Hope Chapel volunteers greeted us at the Pass and handed out water, sports drinks, and good words. One wahine volunteer cheered, "It's all downhill from here!"


"Yup," I thought, " and this is where my pain begins." I say this because, at 6'4, 250 pounds, I'm not an agile nor efficient descender, especially compared to shorter, lighter folks. As confirmation, I found myself being blitzed by several dozen "hikers" on the way down to the floor of Lualualei Valley. In contrast, only a handful strode by me on the climb to Kolekole. So, while I can hold my own on climbs, I'm lacking on downward legs. Gotta work on that.

The descent, however, wasn't all that terrible. One highlight was being serenaded by a pair of bagpipe players at the first lookout just past the sentry post atop the pass (a nice touch). Their tunes rang out over the valley below, especially the long switchback below where they played. Also, the views of the rock sections along the makai-facing mass of Pu'u Kumakalii and Pu'u Kalena were impressive and awe inspiring. Ditto for the sight of the mountainside from Hapapa to Kanehoa to Kaua. I'd seen these before but never as close as today. Excellent.

The winding, hot descent to the Lualualei lowlands spanned about three miles. During this segment, I could feel the excruciating sensation of my body being wracked by the pounding. While many seemed to relish the downhill, I looked forward to its end and the subsequent low rolling sections leading to the finish. Speaking of the finish, there is a long straightaway leading to it that seemingly stretches to the horizon, with this stage framed by the mass of Pu'u Heleakala (an inspirational sight). With plenty of time to ruminate as I methodically made my way along, I wondered if anyone was climbing Heleakala today. Or do only fools (like Spinner, Rich, and Ching) and intrepid HTMers climb this mountain during the hot summer months? Dunno.

Our outing ended at the Lualualei military post, which seemed largely unoccupied by personnel. The post included a row of nice older homes (complete with chimneys), a ball field (almost devoid of grass), a (drained) swimming pool, and a vacant mini mart. J&J finished a bit after me, and while I waited for them, I partook of post-outing refreshments (fruits, bagels, and ice water) and talked story with some of the acquaintances I mentioned. Jackie and Jamie arrived at the end in good form (good job!). Bothered by sore feet, Jamie completed the last couple miles in just her socks. Wow. While that was worthy of note, an undertaking at least equal to it was accomplished by the dude who completed the long route barefooted and wearing just a malo (loincloth). Damn, that's hard core!

From Lualualei, we were bussed back to Wahiawa. I was bummed that we didn't drive back via Kolekole Pass Road, which I had expected. Instead, we returned via Farrington Hwy, H-1, and Kunia Road.

In all, it was an interesting day and a big-time calorie burn. From what I understand, this same "hike" will take place next August. Go try 'em. Good fun. Promise. --dkt

Monday, November 2, 2020

Olomana Circumnavigation

Many have hiked the three peaks of Olomana but few have hiked around the peaks.  I did this hike on 2 November 2020 with Bob Tyson.   We started at 9 a.m. at the head of the Ohana Bike Trail (OBT) on Old Kalanianaole (pictured below and as green star on the map above).


We hiked the OBT only for a couple minutes, if that, and then headed left on an obscure trail that led us to a dry gulch that sits between the OBT and the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility. We hiked a ribbon-marked "trail" in the gulch and then left the gulch to ascend briefly to a water tank (see map below).


We passed to the left of the tank and then commenced a climb of a ridge we named after fellow hiker Ed Mersino (hence Mersino Ridge).  We then came upon a point on the ridge that intersected with the Olomana Alo trail (created by Joe Bussen).  Courtesy of Joe, there is even a sign there.

Not long past the sign, the high point of the ridge is acquired and then we veered right to descend Mersino in the general direction of the Olomana ridge trail (ORT).  Hiking to the ORT was our next objective.  Thanks to the recent work of Ed Mersino, Bob Tyson, Dave Johnson, and others, we reached the ORT at a significant junction (map point B) in maybe fifteen minutes.

At that point, instead of beginning the climb of ORT to Peak 1, we instead hiked down ORT toward its start point.

Well before reaching the golf course road where the ORT commences, we veered left at an obscure junction to begin hiking a route called Olomana Express (tbh, we got off track while searching for O Express, as evidenced by forked lines on the map).  

We eventually found Point C and commenced the hike of Olomana Express, which was in hikeable condition thanks to recent work by HTMC trail clearers.  Note that OE is not often hiked and could have become overgrown in the time after our hike.

Olomana Express eventually connected to Old Government Road (map point D), which we veered left on to begin ascending to the crest of Anianinui Ridge (if we had veered right on OGC, we would have come out on the Royal Hawaiian Golf Course).

The way was clear and open thanks to the work and riding of mountain bikers.  About halfway up the grinding climb, we left the mountain bike trail and followed a much less used trail that crested atop Anianinui.  This route is called Olomana Hope (pronounced Ho-Pay).

Bob (pictured below) and I took a lengthy rest break once we had topped out on Anianinui.  We were glad that most of the climbing for the day was almost complete.

After our rest, we continued up Anianinui toward the backside of Olomana's 3rd peak.  

Before reaching the peak (see above), we veered right on a trail used most recently by mountain bikers that descended to the Ohana Bike Trail at junction they call Renegade (Map point E).

The rest of the hike went quickly at that point and Bob and I completed the 6.75 mile circumnavigation before 2 p.m. (so 4:48:50 according to GAIA GPS which I used to track our route).

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ahuimanu Ridge via Woodridge Park (Kahaluu)


I hiked this windward Oahu ridge with some friends the past three weekends. It's not very long nor perilous but it is something few folks have hiked. Along for our most recent trek were my brother Alika Turner, Steve Poor, and Scott Villiger. We met at Woodridge park (adjacent to the intersection of Hui Io Street and Alawiki Street) in Ahuimanu (or, more familiarly, Kahaluu) and followed a not-oft-used trail at the end of Hui Io.

There is a narrow hole in a fence to get thru and then the trail becomes more pronounced, at least for a short distance. It seems to me that this more-pronounced trail, because of its width and beaten down demeanor, was made by and for dirt bikes and/or quads but we saw nor heard no sign of these while we hiked. Eventually, the dirtbike/quad trail veered off the ridge and down into Ahuimanu Valley (to the right of the ridge we were on) and we did not follow it and instead opted to stick to the ridge, the trail along which became more of a non-trail at times.

This meant trail work for us, so out came our cutting tools, my being a jumbo pair of Fiskars loppers, which are well able to sever some decent-sized strawberry guava limbs that were in abundance on our route of the day.

Along the way as we hiked and worked on opening the trail, we had some good views of Ahuimanu Valley to our right and of the teeth of Kalahaku, a couple of which I had visited with Dr. Gene Robinson some eons ago (circa 1998) and which have been visited up close by Kenji Saito and friends in 2014 and previous to that by another group, which included a hiker who called the negotiation of the teeth and the ridge beyond it as "the most dangerous hike I have ever done to date."

And while I would not characterize the hike we did as "the most dangerous" I've ever done, there was one part of it that requires more focus and care, that being the last several yards prior to a large near-vertical rockface which we designated as our we-will-go-no-further point.

As far as I know, no one has climbed this ridge beyond the point where we stopped, but I do know that Pete Clines, in 2010, ascended an adjacent spur that intersected with our ridge higher up. He eventually pushed his way through to the Koolau summit ridge and exited via the Aiea Ridge trail.

We were nowhere near ambitious on this day and instead we turned our attention to a trail we had carved out and marked out down into the valley to the left. This is the same valley where the Ahuimanu Trail is. I led a Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club hike of the Ahuimanu Trail in November 2017.

The plan is to use part of the ridge route we hiked today along with the new valley section as an addition to the club's Ahuimanu trail route. I have already made that proposal to the club and am awaiting its thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Completed--The Poamoho Southern Preserve fence

Patrick Rorie (prorieandmnt@GMAIL.COM) says:

The fence crew hired by the State NARS has finished installing a fence along the entire section of the Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST) between Pu'u Pauao and the pu'us near the Schofied-Waikane terminus, considered by some to be the Kalalau/Na Pali Coast Trail of Oahu. The fence is a terrible eyesore, and panels have been placed where the natural cliff of the contour could have been utilized to keep pigs out. Using the natural cliffs would have saved tax payers money and lessened the visual blight of the fence. Instead, in typical State government fashion, the State NARS used panels along every inch of the trail so that they will receive the same funding amount for the next exclosure. The unnecessary panels should be removed to lesson the visual blight of the fence along this magnificent stretch of the KST. On a positive note, this stretch of the KST has been cleared and regraded, making it easier to hike. Please take a look at the 5 attached photos.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A question about a plant

Keith Palmer ( queried:

Can someone please tell me what shrub / tree this is? Found on Puu O Hulu Kai. I SHOULD be able to find it easily online but not having any luck. Thank you
If anyone knows, please contact Keith. Mahalo.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The fencing of upper Schofield trail

It's been some years since I last hiked the Schofield trail. In fact, I'm uncertain if I've hiked it in the current century.

I know I hiked it in the previous century, including one time I, along with others from the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club, hiked up the Poamoho trail, crossed along the crest on the Koolau Summit Trail, and descended Schofield. That was in 1999..

A couple decades later, the upper part of the trail is now fenced, as evidenced by the pics below, which were provided courtesy of Patrick Rorie in 2017 via OHE-L mailing list

Regarding the fencing of the Schofield Trail. I'm not sure if I like it or not. As such, I suppose I'm sitting on the proverbial fence regarding the fence. The fencing, by the way, is an initiative of the Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, one objective of which is to "protect the watershed against incipient invasive weeds and feral animals" [source].

Wahiawa to Lualualei via Kolekole Pass

Today (4 Aug 2001), accompanied by several hundred folks, including the J&J girls (Jackie and Jamie), I completed a 13.1-mile "hike...