On tuesday, August 6, 1997 I headed for the top of the Wai'alae Nui subdivision after work. Left the parking structure and headed toward Hawaii Kai. Turned left off of Kalanianaole onto Ainakoa Ave. Turned left again onto Halekoa and drove to the top of the neighborhood. Nice views on the way up esp. of Diamond Head and Koko Head. Passed by Aha Aina Pl. so I had to turn around. Entered Aha Aina and parked near the end of the cul-de-sac just past the entrance (gated driveway) to the Kamasugi mansion and on the opposite side of the road.
After final preparations walked across the street toward the end of a fence just outside the property that is at the very end of Aha Aina Pl. It was 4:34 p.m. Hoped to go around the fence but saw no way of accomplishing this so I climbed over. Some of the wire at the top of the fence was bent and a tree limb was available which made it easier.
After landing on the other side I started hunting for the trail. Found it directly in front of me and started following it up the ridge. Went thru a forested area which contained ukaliptis type trees. Began tying ribbon to trees at key spots along the route. Next came a slight descent. After the trail leveled off it was lined with guava trees for a short distance then went thru an open grassy area followed by more guava. After another open grassy area I went thru an ironwood grove and then past more guava. I couldn't help but have flashbacks of the nightmare on the KST which Dayle Turner and I experienced on our way to Pupukea only two days before !
Pressing on the trail broke out into the open and became somewhat narrow with drop offs on both sides. Not steep drop offs and there were trees down below to catch you if you fell but drop offs nevertheless. This section featured nice views and enjoyable ridge walking.
Next came a guava forest with a canopy. There were some of the tallest, thickest guava trees I've ever seen ! Just after 5 p.m. the area in which the trail passed thru opened up. The trail became slightly overgrown at this point with uluhe fern. Long pants are definately required. I got scratched pretty good because of my lack of preparation. The stretch of open uluhe fern area went on for quite a while interupted only by a couple of small forested areas. These forested areas featured a few guava trees but were predominantly made up of other types of trees. As I began to approach the Ko'olau Mountain Range the open uluhe area featured some gradual ascents but nothing very steep.
At 5:36 I stopped at a location just before the trail began to ascend more steeply toward the Ko'olau Summit. I just didn't have the energy, will or time to finish the hike. Bummers. Drank one of the liters of grape juice that I brought along and looked around. The summit was clear with dark clouds flowing above it toward Diamond Head. To the right I could see the building at the top of the Wiliwilinui (Wai'alae Iki) Trail very clearly. Turned around and Diamond Head was almost straight back. The ewa plain and the reef runway were also visible.
At 5:49 started back toward the subdivision. Took my time as I passed thru the uluhe again (owe !). When I reached the narrow section of the trail I stopped and enjoyed the vistas. The beginning of the Lanipo Trail was visible and Palolo Valley as well. Two undeveloped valleys could be seen. One was between the ridges where Lanipo Trail and Wai'alae Nui Trail exist and the other between Wai'alae Nui and Wai'alae Iki. There is a wealth of vegetation throughout the valleys as they go way back to the very base of the Ko'olau Mountain Range. The summits of Mount Olympus and Ka'au Crater were to the left as I looked in the mauka direction. The sun was sinking slowly down toward the top of the Wai'anae Range. With sunset fast approaching I decided to continue moving toward the trailhead. After having some difficulty climbing over the fence I reached my car at 7:13 p.m.
Notes: Wai'alae Nui is a good trail. Its not as easy as Wai'alae Iki but its not nearly the rollercoaster that Lanipo is. Pants are a must for the sections beyond the guava forest. Up Wai'alae Nui and down either Lanipo or Wai'alae Iki make for an interesting loop. Mahalo to Art Neilson for directions to the trailhead.
Yo, Paka-lolo -
What? Not enough energy? I don't believe it - our man may be human after all!
Hey, you also discovered a new species of Hawaiian native tree - ukaliptis! There's also one called ukuliptis that has you-know-what!
Actually you don't have to climb the fence at the start. You just go to the end of the road on the right, park in front of the last house more or less, and just scramble up the small bank on the opposite side. Then you'll find a trail that goes up to meet the trail that starts next to the water tank enclosure.
WN has always been one of my favorite ridge hikes with a nice upper section altho I have to admit I sure never started up the trail after work! It's not as long or up-and-down as Lanipo with better views and a chair at the top. Yep, a great moss and fern covered old tree where you can sit in style and admire the view awaits at the summit.
If you go along the crest to Waialae Iki, there's a narrow steeper section above the power line poles that would probably get your adrenalin going a little. Going the other direction to hook up with Lanipo is a pretty routine Koolau crest route that doesn't take very long. So loops in either direction are always options.
Stay in one piece for Saturday's hike, OK? We're counting on you for ramrod duty!
I think Patrick may be a bit gun-shy about leading after being ripped to ribbons by strawberry guava and uluhe last Sunday. Anyone who has hiked with Psycho knows of his distinct laugh. Well, there was little laughter during the last couple of hours of our KST jaunt to Pupukea--one of the few times I've seen him quiet and solemn.
But since speedsters Laredo and Gene "Pua'a Chaser" Robinson will be along, Pat's gas pedal will likely be to the floor on the trail.
Me? I'll be in the middle of the pack marking trail with my ribbon. 8-)
By the way, for those on the OHE list who may be wondering what hike we're talking about, we'll be ascending the middle ridge in the back of Waimalu Valley, crossing over on the summit, and descending via the Waimano Trail. Meeting time is 6:30am at the end of Onikiniki Street. Bring a flashlight. :-)