Daryn and I went on the Pu'u Kalena hike this past saturday. What an awesome hike. I think the views were the best that I've seen so far out of all the hikes i've been on. Excellent views of Mt. Kaala that day. Posted pictures and commentary here:
Here's an excerpt from the hike.
The hike took 8 hours to complete. There are areas with steep climbs so be ready for that. And then there are those narrow ridge walking sections, so be ready for that too. I chose the crawling approach on those areas while Daryn chose the hop, skip and jump approach.
This hike was quite an adventure for me. On our return trip, I was leading the way when I went off the trail for a bit. When we realized we was not on the trail, I decided it was a good spot to use the bathroom. I tried to take a leak, but you have to relax both front and back to do it. So something was trying to leak out the back at the same time. I thought it might be a fart, but I soon realized it was not :). Decided to squat after a minute of trying to release from the front end without releasing from the rear end. Good thing I had my toilet paper. Lesson 1: always carry toilet paper. That was also the second time that I had do #2 that day, and it got softer every time. Lesson 2: don't eat a dairy product before a hike if you are lactose intolerent. After I was done with my business, I realized that I didn't remove my canteen belt when I squated, and the belt wasn't on my waist either. Lesson 3: Don't forget anything at the summit. After cussing for a little while about what I did, I decided to go back and retreive it. My canteen belt takes care of me every time I go on a hike, its like a son to me. I couldn't just leave it behind. That search and rescue mission took me 40 minutes. I'm sure glad I went back to get it.
Funny story. I guess that's one detour to avoid in the future...
How were the brambles at the top? These are mentioned in Stuart Ball's book, but they are also noted on a trail map from about 1969. Why are they there? Did someone have blackberries for lunch in ca. 1955?
I recall the view of Ka'ala as being just great on my one hike up Kalena a couple of years ago. The light kept changing, so that Ka'ala was alternately a dark green silhouette, then bathed in a golden glow of late afternoon sunlight. I guess that is one advantage of a slow start to a day of hiking.
There was a very rough path of sorts leading on from the summit of Kalena along the ridge towards Ka'ala. I'm wondering if anyone has used this to reach the Ka'ala summit plateau? With binoculars I could see an interesting grassy section to this ridge further on, and a very daunting cliff of basalt that would have to be ascended in the final climb. This is no ordinary flow of basalt lava, for it is unusually thick (20 meters?) for Hawaiian shield lavas, and is clearly very resistant to erosion. It may be the single reason Ka'ala maintains itself as a "little dissected remnant" of Wai'anae volcano's upper surface. The origin of this lava (hmm, may not even be a lava...) would be an interesting geology story. Maybe some grad student has traversed its entire top and base looking for the answer.
If one could pass that lava rampart, I suppose it would be difficult going through the bog (?), either left to the trail or right to the tracking station (what is its purpose anyway?). No doubt a hiker would be welcomed on the Base with a hearty hello, coffee, and cakes....
I'm a little confused, actually. Stuart Ball's book says this is an FAA installation. I thought it was military... maybe it changed hands in the many years since I was up there (1974?).