Friday, February 12, 2010

Pali Puka

Not wanting a furlough Friday to go to waste, I prayed that the rain would subside for just an hour so we could hike Pali Puka. Ever since I spotted the hole in the Koolau three weeks ago, I’ve been dying to get there. I can't believe in the 27 years I've lived in Kane`ohe I only noticed the puka this year! 
A popular hike, Pali Puka is short but steep and narrow throughout making it a fun trail that “should never be underestimated.” The entrance would have been easy to find, near the “No Trespassing” sign where the tour buses park at the Pali Lookout, but there was no sign in sight. Shasta, Beimes, and I walked back and forth when Kela finally spotted a post, hidden amongst the bamboo, which of course should have had a sign. (Also noticeable was the crumbling wall below the post probably due to the high traffic of hikers stepping on it.)
Entering through a bamboo grove, the trail split into two and we opted to go left since the path to the right seemed vertical and looked impossible to climb. We grabbed whatever we could pulling ourselves up the slippery slope to a grassy hill where the trail vanished. We hiked further upward hoping it would meet with the main trail, like at Crouching Lion, and sure enough it did. The trail continued under some pines and exited out near a utility pole. There we looked at the Pali tunnels below, and got our first glimpse of the dangerous ridge we were about to partake AND just how sheer the drop to our right would be.
You might have never guessed that I have a fear of heights as I led the way. Hiking steep inclines are usually fun but add a deadly drop, previous rain showers and some wind, and it becomes nerve racking! I was, however, able to find a little relief in the brief parts of the trail that veered left into the trees. I love trees.
Not before long we spotted the “puka” and eagerly climbed down to peek through it. It seemed almost strange to think that 1) there’s a hole in the Koolau and 2) we were peering through the same puka Kamehameha's warriors once used to scout oncoming enemies. The air wiped through the hole and I can just imagine that on a windier day it has the potential to be very dangerous.
We enjoyed the view and hiked out making good use of the trees to aid in our descent. The entire hike took only an hour and that included numerous stops to take pictures and a nice break at the puka. 
It was a hell of a fun hike. 
Not too long. Not too steep. Not too dangerous. Just right. 
Add in the nice view. What more could you want? 

Pali Tunnels



Me and Shasta


Chinaman's Hat

Home Sweet Home


Looking back at the ledge we went down when we should've gone right...

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