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At the top of the Aiea Loop trail at Pu'u Uau is a trail that continues 4.5 miles or so mauka to the Koolau summit. This is Aiea Ridge. Along with Mike Uslan, a hiking enthusiast I met on the 'net, in September '95 I made my way up the trail I had passed so many times before.
Good fortune was with us on that day. First, rain had been sporadic in the preceding weeks so the trail was relatively free of muddy sections that make for messy and slow hiking. Consequently, we cruised along quite quickly, covering the 6 miles from the trailhead to the summit in a leisurely 4 hours. Second, the weather was superb: clear, deep-blue skies and light winds made the hike--tough under any conditions--more enjoyable.
Having spent his youth exploring and hiking in the mountains above Aiea, Mike remarked how sickening it was to see weeds choking sections of the trail. He was right, for segments of the lower trail were enveloped by pesky, wheat-like weeds.
From the top, we were treated to a super view of Kaneohe Bay from Chinaman's Hat to Mokapu Point. Directly below our 2,800 foot perch on the Koolau summit was the Valley of Temples where my grandfather was laid to rest over 25 years before.
After a 45 minute lunch/rest break, we trudged stiff-leggedly back down the mountain to our vehicles and to L&L Drive-Inn to refuel our weary bodies with massive plate lunches.
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