Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moanalua Valley (Kamananui/Kulanaahane)

Knowing we were planning a bunch of hikes, my mom recommended Kulanaahane after reading about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Reopening after many years, Kulanaahane stretches from Monalua Valley to the Koolau summit offering views of Kaneohe, Kailua and the H3. Nine miles roundtrip sounded pretty fun so Shasta and I headed out.
After taking the Moanalua Exit we turned right onto Ala Aolani, and drove all the back to Moanalua Valley Park. From there we walked through the chain link gate and along Damon Estate Road to the trailhead 2.5 miles away. With over an hour under our belt we still hadn’t seen the trail marker. I was just about ready to turn around when after what felt like eternity, one hour and fifteen minutes, we saw the Kulanaahane Trail state sign.
We immediately crossed a dry riverbed, the first of many to come, and were soon in some crazy hau trees. I thought of the men who cleared the hike and could just imagine what a b* it must of been! The noticeable ribbons marking the path made the trail easy to follow. It was also relatively flat, and luckily it hadn’t rained recently so the riverbeds were completely dry. Soon we were among ohia, ginger, and uluhe, a good sign that the Koolau summit was near. In less than an hour we were ascending a pretty steep, muddy, and deep trail. Fortunately, it was short so in no time we were looking at the beautiful windward side. Being close to the Koolau, Kbay, and H3 was stunning. It is definitely the reason why we hike. To the right was the Haiku Stair’s satellite. We could even see the makeshift guard station at the bottom.
As we ate lunch we wondered if it was possible to continue to Stairway. Knowing that was out of our league anyway, we carefully began our descent. The trail was slippery but we made it without falling. On the way out we passed some biologist still conducting research, one of whom happened to be a friend of a friend. We chatted for a bit discovering they were hoping to reintroduce the larvae of a native dragon fly but unfortunately discovered they would be eaten by the fish already living there. Pretty cool job!
After some running we were once again on that dreaded dirt road! I wasn’t about to waste another hour walking two and a half miles so we continued our run out. The hike took a total of 4 hours. 

The actual Kulanaahane hike was pretty fun, but...that road! I despise hikes that include roads of any sort, let alone roads that take over an hour just to get to the trailhead so IF I ever do this trail again, it's going to take a lot of convincing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hauula Loop

Shasta, Leesa and I decided to check out Hauula Loop. Rated a "novice" hike we figured the loop would be a nice stroll...
Immediately we crossed Waipilopilo Gulch, and walked through some hau forcing us to bend our heads to miss the over hanging branches. The trail continued up numerous switchbacks which made for a pretty good cardio workout. Along the way the thick layer of fallen needles from the norfolk pines made the ground “spongy” and prevented any view until we reached the top. There we got to see the beautiful Kaipapa`u Gulch, but nothing else. We descended expecting to see a view of Hauula. Further and further we hiked, but still no sight. Knowing we had probably missed a side trail or bypassed a “lookout” area, we decided to backtrack and sure enough came across a gorgeous view of La'ie point. We ran out and in 90 minutes completed the 2.5 mile hike. 

Directions: Turn onto Hauula Homestead Rd. When the road curves drive straight onto Maakua Homestead Road, and park near the gate. The trailhead is just past it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mariner's Ridge

It was a pretty nice day so Shasta and I headed out to Mariner's Ridge.

Initially starting with a series of switchbacks Mariner's open trail was hot and dry. However, a short while later it became forested with strawberry guava and then ironwood and pine. The tree coverage and breeze definitely helped keep us cool and made the hike very pleasurable. The trail continued up a pretty steep rocky and rooty section that for sure got us working up a sweat but as elevation was reached beautiful views of Koko Crater and Hawaii Kai came into full view. The incline snaked through more pine finally ending with an open panoramic view of the windward side. Shasta and I could see all the way from Chinaman’s Hat to Waimanalo. The Olomana peaks which we've heard so much about protruded sharply. We definitely enjoyed the gorgeous view while we rested. Knowing the descent was pretty much all downhill we ran our way out and finished in under an hour. 

I was surprised by the beautiful sights Mariner's Ridge provided especially since it is short and relatively easy. It is a pretty fun hike that I highly recommend.

Directions: From Hawaii Kai Drive turn left onto Kaluanui Road (the left immediately after the Post Office) and continue driving up to the end of the road. At the dead end you will see the trailhead.

Koko Crater


Chinaman's Hat

Since our first hike to Mariner's we have done it many times to get a good workout. If you run in and out, you can complete it in about 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Manoa Falls

Shasta and I had lunch at Bale today. While there a police officer took it upon himself to strike up a conversation. I guess by the way we were dressed he knew we were going hiking so of course he asked where and made some small talk. He told us about Manoa Falls and advised us to jump off the second ledge. We smiled and left with our lunch.

On our drive to the end of Manoa Road it started drizzling which made the trail even more muddy and slippery than it already was. The parking lot was muddy for goodness sake! Luckily the trail was flat because if there were any inclines I have no idea how we would have made it up. On the contrary, it was completely aggravating having to walk slowly as to not splat mud all over ourselves or slip and fall. In addition there were numerous people on their return trek and even a guided tourist group with walking sticks. Not really my idea of a hike, but...
The stroll through the bamboo forest and lush greenary was lovely. Of course at the end the 150 ft waterfall cascaded beautifully into a shallow and small pool. 

On a side note, we wondered what the heck the police officer was talking about because 1) there was no second ledge and 2) even if there was a ledge the pool was way too shallow to jump into! Maybe he meant Maunawili Falls?

We took a few pictures but weren't really impressed. I guess the 20 minute walk to and fro is worth it if you've never seen the falls but if you're looking for a hike I do not recommend it. If you are looking for a walk, the half mile "novice" trail won't disappoint. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Aiea Loop

I really have nothing to say about Aiea Loop Trail except that it is rather muddy (especially if it has rained recently), there are a lot of trees, and at one point there is an okay view of the H3. If your definition of hiking is walking on a path in the woods with minimal exertion, Aie`a Loop Trail is the hike for you. 
Don’t believe me?! Go see for yourself.

There is also the Aiea Loop Falls, Aiea Ridge, and Aiea Loop Bisectional Trail. Hopefully, probably, those hikes are better than the loop itself.

The highlight of our hike...a Jackson crossing the street

Shasta carried "him" all the way out and took Kevin home.
*Named Kevin after the prehistoric bird in "Up."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lanipo (Mauumae)

Eleven years later, going back to Lanipo was a must. Recalling all the white and only white I had seen in 1998, Shasta and I started the hike on what we thought was a clear day. 
Lanipo’s continuous up and down trail is said to make the trek out just as strenuous as the hike in. Immediately, we knew this was true. The ridge began with a boulder decline and then resumed climbing. After many more ups and downs the terrain turned from dirt to mud and hot to humid. Ferns replaced trees which is usually a good sign that the Ko`olau summit is near. BUT there were a lot of ferns, and by a lot I mean uluhe chest high and so thick we couldn’t see the path at some points. We regretted wearing shorts as every part of our legs, from our thighs to our ankles, were scratched.
About 2 hours and 3.7 miles later, the partially cloud covered summit finally came into view. As we trudged up the last incline, we got our first glimpse of Kaneohe. The thought of seeing the entire windward side gave me the boost of energy I needed to run to the final peak. Unfortunately, the clouds were in full effect and once again all we could see was white! We agreed that we’d wait 1 hour for a miracle. After having hiked all the way in, we wanted to see something, anything! About a half hour later God blessed us with smokey views of Kualoa, Chinaman’s Hat, Kaneohe, Maunawili, Lanikai, Olomana, and Waimanalo. I was never so grateful and thrilled to finally close the 11 year long chapter on Lanipo.
Another two hours later and we were back at the top of Sierra Drive. Exhausted, I just about wanted to collapse. Fulfilled, I can't wait to see what else the Koolau Summit entails. 

The Starting Line


Dirt ---> Mud

Damn Ferns! (This doesn't look bad but it's chest high.)

Looking back at Diamond Head

Kaau Crater

Final Summit


Peak to the right

Left to Right: Chinaman's Hat



Enchanted Lakes and Olomana Golf Course


Monday, June 15, 2009

Haiku Stairs

We planned to climb those dreaded stairs, then ones I swore I would never hike again. Nervous about the memories that lingered in my head from some nine years ago, Shasta and I headed to Haiku Stairs around 9:00. However, we didn’t actually start hiking until noon and lucky us, we got to hike when the sun was at its hottest. 
Immediately noticeable was the great condition of the stairs. No rust, no missing steps and no rope section! 
the hike to the first platform was brutal! I don’t recall the hike being so strenuous probably because all I could think about at the time was the height. We definitely took a long break and enjoyed the view. Ascending to the second and third platform was easier than the first, but not easy by far. With the satellite in view and knowing that the end was near, we climbed higher. Relieved to finally be at the summit, we sat in awe of the beauty and snapped away.
Being some 2,800 ft in the air, it soon got cold and we made our way down. To my surprise I was able to descend forward and the height did not bother me. I actually had a fun time using my arms to “glide” down the stairs and was able to make it down in half the time it took to go up.
Two hours and fifteen minutes and 3,922 steps later the hike was over. It was not my first time up the stairs and it definitely won’t be my last.

Is that the same rope from 9 years ago?

Notice the trail all the way up...

Photo: Shasta Chung

On the way up is a beautiful pocket view of Pearl Harbor.

Chinaman's Hat

Home Sweet Home

Kailua and Waimanalo

The descent

Photo: Shasta Chung
Photo: Shasta Chung

The satellite from Kaneohe