Kawailoa trail to Laie Trail and Ohulehule saddle (1997)

Kawailoa trail to Laie Trail and Ohulehule saddle (1997)

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Did some fun things this past weekend. Here's the scoops--

Friday 4/25--I toyed with the idea of heading to Kauai to do some dayhiking on the Na Pali coast since I have a couple of Mahalo Air coupons that will expire on 4/29. Unfortunately, the workload from school was mountainous (still is), so the Garden Isle idea was snipped from mind and the coupons--poho.

I end up getting a short workout on the Kokokahi Ridge trail (Kaneohe) that starts at the top of Kokokahi Place, climbs atop the ridge, and eventually comes down by Kawaewae Heiau on Lipalu Street. The trail is getting overgrown and as time permits I'll head up there to do some work on it. BTW, HTMC guy Doug Klein initially cleared most of the route on the heiau end of the trail. Mahalo to him.

Saturday 4-26--In the works for this day is an ascent of the rugged Kipapa Trail, called "the wildest hike on Oahu" by hiking guru Stuart Ball. If we reach topside in a reasonable amount of time, our group--composed of Pat Rorie, his buddy Laredo, Wing Ng, Pete Caldwell, and Pete's friends/work colleagues Don, Torrey, and Lori--plan to battle our way along the Koolau Summit Trail and descend to the windward side on the Waikane Trail. An ambitious undertaking, no doubt.

Alas, the weather doesn't cooperate and we decide to go with Plan B--up Kawailoa and down Laie.

After six miles of driving on cane field roads above Haleiwa, we reach the Kawailoa trailhead and shove off on our journey at just past 8 a.m. Rain is our constant friend all day long.

The route initially proceeds for about a mile on a rollercoaster series of hills on a dirt road. To be precise, Wing says he recalls 12 of these less-than-pleasant hills from a previous trek up Kawailoa. The actual trail portion of Kawailoa is in reasonably decent shape even though I'd guess human traffic on the route is minimal. It's a graded contour trail and "Psycho" Rorie leads the ramrod effort through the uluhe for the first 1.5 hours, I the second 1.5, and Pete Caldwell and his good buddy Don the final stretch. Along the way, we look down on some remote ravines and valleys along the ridgeline, a few which are the abode of awesome flowering ohia trees. Wow!

We reach the top of Kawailoa at 1:30 after 5.5 hours. In his book, Stuart Ball calls Kawailoa "a bear of a hike." Well, gang, the man is correct on that count. He also says "to be prepared to fall down and get wet." Can personally vouch for that statement, too. :-)

Finding the Koolau summit trail and then the Laie trail is a mini adventure but after some initial scrambling about and backtracking we locate the former and after 45 minutes more of hiking along the fabled (and overgrown) summit trail, the latter.

After ascending Kawailoa and making our way along the summit trail, the six miles down Laie is a relative walk in the park. We reach Kam Highway in about 3.5 hours. My brother, Kale, and his wife, Bev, are there to pick up our tired and sopping wet crew in a big pickup truck and ferry us back to our vehicles at the start of Kawailoa. Mahalo to them.

Sunday 4/27--As is our Sunday tradition, Pat Rorie and I join the HTMC gang for some trail clearing. Our assigned task for the day is the trail through Kahana Valley to the saddle just below Ohulehule.

We cross Kahana Stream by the dam. The river proves its might by embracing a couple members for unwanted splash baths. :-)

Soon after the dam crossing we veer left at a junction. The well-marked trail continues toward Ohulehule, crossing Kawa Stream three times in the process. Then there's a scramble up a muddy and sometimes steep ridge to the saddle. There is some narrowness to contend with on the ascent but hiker-friendly vegetation is always near at hand.

Twelve of us reach the saddle (elev. aprox. 1,600) where we plop down to eat lunch. Misty weather and clouds ruin Patrick's goal of climbing up to Ohulehule (2,265') itself and then trying to descend its ocean-facing ridge, called by Ball as the most dangerous route on Oahu. If conditions had been better we would have pushed to the summit. Some other time.

If any of you are interested in trying Ohulehule, the time is right because the trail leading to it is now wide open. The final approach from the saddle to the top is a bit dicey but do-able. Patrick has gone up twice in recent months, the first alone and the second with his buddy Laredo.

Postscript--I also want to encourage everyone to send in hike and trail reports. Remember, no hike is insignificant. If you did it, tell us about it. If you have news about trail conditions, send 'em in.

Am thinking about going up Poamoho, camping at the top on Saturday, and coming down Schofield-Waikane on Sunday. Anyone interested?

Until next time, gang, hike safe.

--Dayle Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle