Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kualoa Ranch - Hiking

Kualoa Ranch - Hiking
Solemates Hawaii Hikers
Distance: 7 miles loop roundtrip
Duration: 4 hrs (includes stops along the trail as well a lunch break at the top of the saddle)
Difficulty: Moderate

Danger: Low

I finally got a chance to hike with the Solemates Hawaii Hikers! I had been in email contact with Tom Mendes and the only hike I would be able to join while on O'ahu would be to Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa Ranch is a working ranch with cattle and other livestock so dogs aren't allowed on the hike.  Kualoa Ranch is also in the business of providing outdoor activities for a fee.  So everyone paid their fee ($6 for seniors, age 60 and above and $10 for all others) and was also required to sign in with our names and ages. At the end of the hike we were also required to sign out as well. This hike is not accessible to the public.

Our hike took us through the ranch, over a 600 foot saddle in the summit and into the beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley which has been the setting for many productions such as Jurrasik Park, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, Karate Kid, Hawaii 5-0, Fantasy Island, Magnum PI, LOST. 

We started at the Keiki Pavilion and proceeded  up through pasture land around the makai side of Pu'u Kanehoalani (the sharp peak above the ranch) getting views of Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman's Hat and Moli'i Ponds before making our way uphill to the saddle. The ridgeline at the saddle is a lunch spot, nicknamed "Lunchbox".  The descent into Ka’a’awa valley was muddy in a lot of spots, but there were several spots that were roped to make the descent easier. By this time I had my spikes on and it helped immensely. 

The last mile through the valley seemed long but it didn't matter, I was surrounded by beautiful mountains! And although there were 65 hikers signed up for this hike, there were times when I was alone on the trail, particularly through the Ka'a'awa Valley. This portion of the hike was peaceful and reminded me of my many solo hikes through the New Hampshire White Mountains. 

Sorry for the dirty lens. I do clean it but a lot of times I leave the lens cover off while I hike and then forget to wipe off the lens before I snap away!

























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