Friday, May 7, 2010


Today we explored our “home” further...
Ulupaina is a 4 mile loop that begins to the left of Valley of the Temples. Vance, Beimes, Sean and I met at Hui Iwa Street and walked across to the trailhead. Although not visible from the road once there the path is quite obvious. We opted for the left trail since numerous sites recommended hiking clockwise. 
The hike began with a brief incline and soon leveled off weaving along the bottom of the ridge. It snaked inward across a ravine then back out, in across another ravine, then out, AND back in and back out several more times. We joked as we passed each new ravine that we swore we crossed it before. Upon the “out” of each curve we could see Kaneohe Bay, Kaneohe Marine Core Base, and Olomana. A beautiful view in deed, but nothing new to any of us born and raised on the windward side.
I should mention that along the ins and outs we came across two junctions. The first one is near the beginning of the hike. The left trail headed straight, and the right trail headed up. Both trails were marked with ribbons which didn’t help but since Beimes knew that the turning point would be near Haiku Plantation we took the left one. The second junction is the turning point. The left path headed straight further towards Haiku Plantation, and the right trail headed up. Once again both paths were marked with ribbons. This time we took the right path and trekked upwards since we could see the beautiful plantation homes and knew we should be headed towards the ridge. I’m not sure if the ribbons were placed recently because none of the hike reviews we read mentioned them. For someone unfamiliar with the windward side and its landmarks following the correct ribbons is a must.
The rather easy trail now began to climb. The steep ascents quickly brought us to a much higher elevation. Some parts were slippery so I made good use of the trees. The trail eventually curved right but our climbing was not done. Like all other ridges, the path continued to ascend and descend. Midway through we came across a third junction. We knew that taking the right one would lead us out, but we opted left which headed towards the Koolau Mountain Range and to the power-lines. No more than ten minutes later we were there and to much of our surprise were at an elevation of about 1000 feet. (According to Trailguru 1094 feet.) It was also the first time on the hike we could see from Kualoa to Kahaluu, including Chinaman’s Hat. The short detour was well worth the time. In fact it was the only part, in my opinion, that made the hike worth it.
The remainder of the hike had a few more ups and downs, and concluded with a steep descent along a well cushioned ground of pine needles making the trek slippery. Thinking about it, if we hiked counterclockwise up this portion it would have been--for lack of a better word--a bitch. Near the bottom at a fourth junction we took the left trail curious to see where it exited, and came out at one of the cemetery’s cul-de-sacs.
The entire hike took us a little under three hours. I'm glad we ventured around our neighborhood more, but I probably won't be doing this hike again any time soon. Summer is near and I can't wait to take on more challenging ones.


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