OHE March 24, 1998

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 10:16:41 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Konahuanui... Pau Hana

Konahuanui is "the name given to the twin summits above Nu'uanu Pali. At 3,150 ft the taller of the two is the highest peak in the Ko'olau Range."* Roughly translated, Konahuanui means Kona's gonads thrown into the wind by an evil female deity. I made the top of the mountain my goal as I departed work and drove up the Tantalus Drive switchbacks.

Arrived at the Manoa Cliff Trailhead, changed clothes inside my car and began the hike at 4:31 p.m. The Manoa Cliff Trail, a wide graded footpath, was in excellent shape with lots of ginger and other pleasant foliage above and below it. At a junction I turned right and ascended via switchbacks. Eventually I reached a sign indicating the location of many of the trails in the region. I discovered that I should have gone straight at the junction (along the shortcut trail to Pahoa Flats).

Pressing on and picking up the pace to make up for lost time, I descended briefly toward the massive twin peaks. Passed thru the Pahoa Flats area, a heavily canopied rooty trail. Noticed the Nuuanu Trail junction on the left and later observed the Aihualama Trail junction to the right but continued straight in a bamboo grove.

Arrived at the Nu'uanu Valley overlook (elev. 1,600 ft) at 5:11 p.m. Visible from this point were massive Lanihuli, the Nu'uanu Reservoir, and the back of Nu'uanu Valley.

Next I methodically climbed two large humps in the ridge pausing briefly to gaze into Manoa Valley and at Diamond Head which was in the distance. Ropes were provided for assistance (a big mahalo to Ralph Valentino for installing them).

Traveled over a relatively level section on my way to the base of the mountain. Huffed and puffed as I endured three strenuous climbs to the first peak. Just before reaching it I stopped and enjoyed the astounding view of the nearby valleys. The prominent Waianae Range peaks of Kaua, Kalena, and Kaala stood out in the distance.

Konahuanui was completely clear of clouds as I pulled into the low grass area at the top of the first summit near a benchmark at 6:09 p.m. The windward vista was breathtaking of the three Ko'olau "shoulders" toward Makapuu - Mount Olympus, Pu'u Lanipo and Pu'u O'Kona.

At 6:13 p.m., after a brief rest, I headed for the second summit, the highest point on the Ko'olau Range. On the way I recognized many lapalapa trees with their uniquely shaped leaves, the sound of them "paking" each other was very soothing. Many other native plants were present as I negotiated a few muddy spots on the trail. Rabbit Island, triple peaked Olomana, Kaiwa Ridge and the Mokulua Islands came into view. Saw parts of the Maunawili Demo Trail directly below.

As I made the final ascent to the top of peak number two frustration set in as the pinnacle became "fogged" in. Arrived at the summit at 6:29 p.m. Periodically the sun became visible thru the mist and it looked like a giant eye staring at me in disbelief. With no view to speak of and a major time constraint I did not linger for very long. Departed the second peak of Konahuanui at 6:34 p.m. Retraced the route to the first summit gaining it at 6:50 p.m. By now the first peak was also engulfed in clouds so I continued the return leg without delay.

Eventually emerged from the white haze after descending a few hundred feet. Halted for a minute to look at the peaks of Mount Ohulehule, Pu'u Piei, the true Manamana, Turnover, and Kanehoalani as well as Chinaman's Hat which were visible in the distance above the saddle between Lanihuli and Konahuanui to the north. As I made my way thru the relatively level stretch of the ridge the trail could still be seen because of the twilight. A beautiful golden hue existed on the horizon above and behind Kaala, Kalena, and Kaua. As darkness set in the Honolulu city lights in front and the stars above made their presence known.

At 7:42 p.m. I arrived at the Nu'uanu Valley lookout and sat down to rest. I removed my flashlight from my daypack and three minutes later began tramping over the Pahoa Flats Trail.

It was very dark and the rustling of the bamboo made it kind of spooky. The section between the Aihualama and Nu'uanu junctions was so wide that I was afraid I'd end up lost in the woods. However, this did not occur and it wasn't long until I was on the Manoa Cliff Trail via the shortcut trail.

In and out of a seemingly endless number of small gulches, I finally reached the trailhead at 8:17 p.m. Got into my car and drove off a few minutes later.


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Patrick

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