OHE December 11, 1999 (Kea'au super hike)

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 21:26:20 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Kea'au

The club hike today took us out to the west side of Oahu, specifically to Kea'au Valley, out past Makaha. We met at 7:30 along Farrington Hwy by the entrance to the rec center formerly owned by First Hawaiian Bank. The access road to the rec center also leads to the start of a public hunting area, namely Makua-Kea'au, which occupies a sizable chunk of land in the mauka reaches of the valley. Access to the hunting area is gained via a dirt road that serves as a corridor through Ohikilolo Ranch, run by Albert Silva.

Three of us--Wing Ng, Steve Poor, and I--hiked up the road into the valley and then after some searching and debate, ended up ascending a ridge that extended to Pu'u 2952 on Kea'au Ridge. This pu'u is the final significant one before Kea'au joins Ohikilolo Ridge, and thanks to the good work of Steve and Wing, the other hikers on hand were able to use this ridge as the exit route. And this ridge is pretty spectacular, with a narrow, deep gulch between it and Ohikilolo Ridge and a couple of semi-razor dikes to negotiate (not too bad, though). Bullet casings and some rusted cans on the ground indicated that someone comes up this ridge to do their thing, probably with goats as the quarry. Plenty of scat and small trails on top and along the ridge reveal that goats are the main users of the ridge

While Wing, Steve, and I worked our way up the middle ridge toward Pu'u 2952, the rest of the group hiked around the rim of Kea'au (see a map of the route). In the main group were Pat Rorie, Dave Waller, Dick Beaton, Rich Jacobson, Robb Geer, Arnold Fujioka, Steve Haus, Ed Gilman, Peter Kempf, Naomi Nasu, and Cheryl Batangan. These folks went up a spur to gain the crest of the south ridge of Kea'au, which eventually led them to Pu'u Kea'au (elev. 2,650), then to a significant saddle (elev. 2231 on the map), then to a significant pu'u (elev. 2754), then to Pu'u 2952, then to another saddle with a spectacular dike, then the final climb to Ohikilolo Ridge.

The weather wasn't ideal, but compared to the stuff faced by folks in other areas of Oahu, we had it pretty good, with overcast skies and only a slight drizzle now and then. The winds were virtually nil, making for thick humidity.

Not everyone reached Ohikilolo ridge and not everyone reached Pu'u 2952 to descend the ridge down to Kea'au Valley, but in the end, everyone made it back to the cars okay, and, as and added bonus, our cars were okay as well.

I hope that the club will continue to conduct hikes in the Kea'au area, a unique and beautiful place to explore and enjoy.

Special thanks to Guy Sugahara for providing info about the Makua-Kea'au Hunting Area and to Pat for leading the main group up and around Kea'au.



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