OHE December 14, 1998 (Ohikilolo)

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 12:43:40 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: The Ohikilolo Triangular Peak

On September 19th of this year, Dayle Turner and I were detained briefly by Mr. Silva (the owner of Ohikilolo Makua Ranch) and an HPD officer after hiking the Ohikilolo Trail as described in Ball's "Hiker's Guide". We were guilty of trespassing and told to stay off the ridge. Embarrassment, humiliation and the stark reality of perhaps never again visiting the triangular peak at the terminus of the trail (my favorite leeward coast view spot) hit me like a ton of bricks. Later that day, on the way home, I was overcome with another emotion, a determination to find another route to the Ohikilolo peak. This past Saturday, December 12th, I did just that. Wing and Dayle have posted much info about Keaau Ridge during the past few months so I won't go into detail on some aspects of the area.

Following my usual Saturday morning committment, I proceeded west on H-1 to the leeward coast mainly because the Ko'olau mountain range was inundated with clouds and rain. H-1 became Farrington Hwy and I drove thru Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae Town, and Makaha.

Parked across from the entrance to the first Hawaiian bank rec center (elev. 140 ft), made final preps and started hiking along a dirt road at 10:27 a.m. Departed the road and headed south gradually gaining elevation thru keawi plants careful not to step on any cow patties. Very little breeze to speak of as I periodically noticed red ribbons tied to tree branches.

Ascended to the crest of a side ridge which separates Ohikilolo Valley from a smaller unnamed valley where a cooling breeze brought relief. Enjoyed the open ridge walking/steep rock climbing and scored a goat skull (the latest rage in hiking decor!) in route to Pu'u Keaau (elev. 2,650 ft). Reached Pu'u Keaau at 11:53 a.m.

Due to the late start, I did not stop to rest but continued methodically along a relatively level stretch of Keaau Ridge heading east. Contoured mainly on the right (Makaha) side of the crest enduring the chilly trades fifteen to thirty on this day.

Came to a dead stop when I observed a black goat lying in the middle of the path about twenty yards ahead. It didn't appear to be dead so I talked to the beast and threw a few stones below its location. The goat stood up, staggered due to its drowsiness and eventually sped off once it realized I wasn't another goat.

Pressing on, I tied ribbon around rocks every once in a while to make it easier on the return leg just in case I was in a race to get out before darkness. Spotted a group of atleast a dozen goats a hundred feet below on the Makaha side of the ridge. Carefully descended to a saddle as the ridge began curving north recalling how I suffered a deep cut while traversing the region with Dayle and Steve Poor on October 3rd, and scrambled up thru a forest arriving at the top of a badly eroded red hill shortly before 1 p.m.

Passed some plane wreckage and a few minutes later halted at a junction where one can either continue on the ridge crest or contour on the Makaha Valley side of an unnamed peak (elev. 2,952 ft) thru a Christmas berry forest. Removed my pack and took out a pair of loppers. Cut an opening to the forest and followed goat trails lopping off tree branches whenever they hindered progress. I never encountered any danger (i.e. steep dropoffs) thru the fairly broad area.

Emerged from the forest, regained the top of the ridge and walked along the crest. Contoured briefly on the Ohikilolo Valley side of a rock outcropping then traveled thru an eroded light brown segment of the ridge which featured five dirt mounds.

Further ahead, an extremely narrow dike made up of a spectacular arrangement of rock came into view. The sight of it was psychologically devastating. "I have to cross that?!" I thought to myself and then remembered flora expert and all around nice guy Ken Suzuki telling Dayle and I in a recent discussion of a narrow dike which must be negotiated to get to the triangular peak. With some time remaining before I would need to commence the return leg, I decided to have a closer look. Completed the stretch leading to the dike dropping down to its base and recognized an empty can of wieners, three old fence posts, and a coil of thick rope. The magnificent sheer cliffs below the Ohikilolo triangular peak were directly across only a stones throw away and I was now located at the very back of Ohikilolo Valley. Explored the other side of the dike (the side not visible from the main ridge) and much to my surprise and delight a goat trail existed which appeared plenty wide enough to tramp on.

Next, I bypassed the narrow dike but as I began ascending toward the Ohikilolo Trail a goat appeared on the cliffs above. I spoke to it saying "Hello! How are you?" but it refused to budge. I waited patiently then the creature made a loud grunt and moved away. A small adorable baby goat followed closely behind. How cute!

Ascended very steeply to the Ohikilolo Trail and sprinted up the triangular peak reaching the apex (elev. 3,052 ft) at 2:11 p.m. Enjoyed the excellent panorama of the north shore, Makua Valley, Kaena Point, upper, middle and lower Makaha Valley, Mount Kaala (socked in), Pu'u Kalena (socked in), Pu'u Kaua, Noname peak, Pu'u Kawiwi, and the entire Kamaileunu Ridge. Endured the chilly trades and occasional misty rain then reluctantly departed the pinnacle at 2:18 p.m.

Retraced my steps without incident to the start of the Christmas berry forest arriving there at 3:10 p.m. and about an hour later climbed to the apex of Pu'u Keaau taking pleasure from the late afternoon sun as it lit up the front of the ridge containing the Ohikilolo Trail very nicely. The blue sky, puffy white clouds, and deep blue Pacific Ocean also brought delight to my eyes.

As I descended the side ridge I spotted atleast twenty goats below, most of whom scattered when they became aware of my presence. Completed the return leg arriving at the pat-mobile at 5:25 p.m.

Notes: I cannot express how happy I am that another way exists to the Ohikilolo triangular peak. If proper access can be obtained perhaps a super hike along Keaau Ridge can be scheduled for the fourth quarter of '99.

== Paka

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