Wailupe Middle Ridge

Wailupe Middle Ridge

by Dayle Turner, Pat Rorie, and Wing Ng

To do this hike, drive to the end of Hao Street and walk on a buffalo grass-covered jeep road for 10-15 minutes, at which time the vegetation turns to Christmas berries and hau. Look for a ribbon and a boulder on the right that marks a trail that heads off to the right. Follow that trail.

The path doubles back and heads mauka for a couple minutes, crosses a gully and contours across the slope (to the east). Then it crosses a dry streambed and then the main streambed. Thereafter one ascends the middle ridge of Wailupe Valley.

The trail goes thru an open area and features very pleasant ridge walking. Below to the left is a nice Norfolk pine grove. Looming above to the left on the summit is the radio tower building that marks the apex of the Wiliwilinui trail.

A somewhat steep ascent thru a guava forest follows with many of the branches cut to make the way easier. That must have taken a lot of work. Whoever was responsible--mahalo!!

After the trail levels off again there's another somewhat steep ascent thru a mixed forest of mostly guava trees. The trail progresses thru forest with occasional open spots until just after the beginning of a long uluhe section.

Further along, the ridge narrows, then levels off with very short, spongey grass underfoot. A long stretch through uluhe follows. Eventually, there is a steep, somewhat slippery climb that marks the final assault leading to the Koolau summit. This section could use a rope or cable since segments are devoid of trees and sturdy foliage to assist in one's upward scramble. Fortunately, the ridge isn't narrow or perilous here but be prepared to huff, puff, and sweat.

Depending on your fitness level, plan on anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to reach the summit from Hao Street.

Once the crest is reached, one can return the same way or turn left along the spine bound for Wiliwilinui. The trail along the top is fairly well hacked open with one steep slope to negotiate. A rope has been tied there but this aid isn't really needed. The summit of Wiliwilinui can be reached in 20-30 minutes.

Thereafter, one follows the distinct Wiliwilinui trail downslope. This eventually turns into a 4WD road. The trail back down to Wailupe Valley is on the left and marked with double pink ribbons. In case these are removed, remember that as one is coming down the mountain, this junction is along the road section of Wiliwilinui at the bottom of a fairly steep hill where the road starts to curve like an S. A couple of tall pine trees are on the left just before the junction.

Ribbons were placed on the trail to guide one back to Hao Street.

The HTMC will begin using the loop route for club outings in 1998.


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