Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mt. Ka'ala attempt - O'ahu, Hawaii


Mt. Ka'ala (4,025 ft)
Hike elevation: 3,000ft
Elevation Gain: 2,920 ft
Trail: Wai'anae-Ka'ala
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip (approximation)
Duration: 5.5 hrs (includes stops for breaks along the trail and at the 3 poles)
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Danger: Medium to High (steep sections with loose rock, rock scrambling along trail) 

Heart be still! There's a 4000+ footer on Oahu! Well then, it's only appropriate that I hike to this summit to add to my 4000+ feet list! Sure it's not part of the New Hampshire 48 list, but hey, I am a peakbagger! :) 

I did a lot of research on this hike, reading many blogs and reviews on this hike. And I went through many photos of this hike often comparing photos from different bloggers/reviewers and saw many of the same shots along the trail. This helped me to understand what to expect and encounter while on the trail. It was a way to familiarize myself with the trail even being 6000 miles and months away.

Initially I was going to solo hike to Mt. Ka'ala but my family in Hawaii was not too fond of my plans. So I ended up hiking with my cousin Darrell and his co-worker Neil.

6am came early and was it was still dark. But I had gone to bed early the night before so I was well rested when Darrell and Neil picked me up. We had no problems finding the trailhead using Stuart Ball's book "The Hiker's Guide To O'ahu". We arrived at the dirt trailhead just as it was starting to get light out.  We geared up and a truck pulled up with 6 hunting dogs and two boys in the back. My cousin spoke to the driver a bit….he told us to follow the paved road until we got to the covered picnic table. Then follow the dirt trail up, and up and up!

We started up the paved, one-lane road and there was a group of 3 coming down. They told us that they didn't quite make it to the covered picnic table. At the picnic table we took a break and then continued up the dirt trail. There were no hikers on the way up. 

 We followed the trail blazed with purple bottle caps
  
Our hike was without any incident but about half a mile to the "3 poles" it did start raining, just lightly. Then it dawned on me. I had honestly thought that it would not rain! And that I had left my feet traction and trekking poles in Darrell's truck! "Are you serious?!" I thought to myself! I traveled 6000 miles from the east coast and made sure to bring my trekking poles and Microspikes only to leave them in my cousins truck down at the trailhead! Gaaaaahhhhh! I sighed and it continued to rain.

At the top of the Kamaile'unu Ridge we took a brief break.  I had kept my big camera in my backpack as I usually take it out once I'm on a summit and use my iPhone to take photos while on the trail.
 

 
We continued just past the "3 poles" and it started to get slick right away. I've never had to turn back on any of my hikes so the decision to turn around and head back down without summiting was my first time. My cousin Darrell made his way up a bit while Neil and I started back down. 
Without my Microspikes I was nervous coming down the slick trail. Neil and I carefully hiked down to get under the treeline and waited for Darrell to return. It's a good thing we didn't continue. Darrell said that the trail became steeper and more slippery. The decision to turn back was a wise one for us. I would have to bag Mt. Ka'ala at another time!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Makua Valley Outlook - O'ahu, Hawaii

Makua Valley Outlook (2,060ft)
Trails/Roads: Kealia Trail, Kealia Access Rd, Kuaokala Access Rd, Kuaokala Trail
Elevation Gain: 2,000ft
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Hiking Permit: None required

Danger: Low to Medium (overlook at end of trail)

I did this hike with my aunt and we took our time to make sure we enjoyed the rewarding views from the Kealia trail! The trail has 19 switchbacks (yes 19!) and provides remarkable views of Dillingham Airfield and Haleiwa.


Kealia Trail is part of the Na Ala Hele Trail & Access System and is very well maintained.
 The trail ascends the pali gradually on 19 switchbacks. 
There are lots of loose rocks along the trail and after a 
couple of switchbacks, the trail opens up and there
are plenty of views while still ascending the pali.


Dillingham Airfield
Kawailoa Wind Project in the distance
The covered picnic table at the end of the ironwood grove marks the end of the Kealia Trail
We continued up the dirt road at the far end of the grove.

The Kuaokala Public Hunting Area is marked with a sign you can't miss! ;)
We continued hiking along the Kuaokala Access Road until we reached the Kuaokala Trail.
At the end of the road we reached the Makua Valley Outlook
From the outlook, a lone paraglider
The summit of Mount Ka’ala (on the left) covered in clouds

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lanikai Pillboxes - O'ahu, Hawaii

Lanikai Pillboxes - O’ahu, Hawaii
2nd Pillbox elevation: 595ft
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Trail: Ka’iwa Ridge Trail
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Hiking Permit: None required
Danger: Low to Medium (loose dirt, drop-offs)

Wow!! For a short hike, there are tremendous views of  the Windward from Kaneohe Marine Corp Base to Waimanalo!


My husband and I headed to the Windard area via H3. I wasn’t sure exactly where the trailhead was but from reading other Hawaii hiking blogs, I did find out that the trailhead was located just off the side of the Mid Pacific Golf Course in Lanikai. So I set our Garmin to the golf course address. It wasn’t hard to find at all and we got lucky and found a parking space right away on the already full residential street.


There were a lot of folks already coming down from this hike as we were making our way up. We were at the first pillbox within 20 minutes and continued onto the second pillbox. At second pillbox I snapped a few photos and checked our elevation.


The Ka’iwa Ridge trail is well-worn trail with short vegetative growth. This morning the trail was dry and dusty making it slippery in some spots. With so many folks on the ridge, there’s no way you could get lost!


We went a little ways past the second pillbox enjoying the trail along the ridge and taking in the beautiful views. 


 Trailhead Sign
Along the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail
View from the second pillbox
(Moku Nui on the left with Moku Iki on the right)
First pillbox from the second pillbox

Below the first pillbox is a crag that stands about 25 feet tall. I tried bouldering this
but I found it difficult finding a hold that wouldn’t crumble under my fingers and feet.
The rock here and in most parts of the islands is chossy. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Makapu’u Point Lighthouse - O'ahu, Hawaii

Makapu’u Point Lighthouse (640 ft)
Park Name: Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Trail: Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Hiking Permit: None required

Danger: Low

My husband and I took the stroll up the paved trailway to the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse. We arrived to the parking lot to find it full, even with folks leaving! So we parked in the “Scenic View” area parking lot and walked the paved trailway. The weather was gorgeous and there were many tourists as well as locals with baby strollers and dogs. This is considered a hike, but if you are a seasoned/experienced hiker, it’s a stroll! :)

I did meet a couple of folks from the “Soulmates” hiking group and spoke with them for a couple of minutes. Some were also planning to hike the HTMCLUB.org New Years Day hike to Koko Crater (Kohelepelepe, 1208ft).