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
Damn Ferns! (This doesn't look bad but it's chest high.)
Looking back at Diamond Head
Peak to the right
Left to Right: Chinaman's Hat
Enchanted Lakes and Olomana Golf Course