OHE February 9, 1998 (b)

Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 12:59:24 -1000 From: Dave Webb (dwebb@hekili.k12.hi.us> Subject: Kamaileunu w/HTMC

Did Kamaileunu with the HTMC on Sunday. I had heard the rumors about this hike (and Ohikilolo) being super hot and difficult, so I went to check to check it out. The weather for the hike was good - sunny with a nice breeze that blew for most of the day. A few clouds would have been nice, but the breeze helped to make things bearable. It was still HOT! This hike is truly quite difficult. I ended up hiking with ohe-l member Nathan for the better part of the day, and I think we reached the top of the ridge in about 3hr 20 min. The views were incredible from the lunch spot with not a cloud in sight. We could see down to Kawiwi and a possible way to connect that to Kaala (?) that went past the 3 poles that I heard someone mention once. I don't know if that's possible or not - I would imagine that you would need some rope to climb Kawiwi and it looked awfully steep past the poles approaching Kaala. Anyway, I was plenty worn out just reaching the top of Kamaileunu, so all that other stuff was just a pipedream.

We enjoyed a nice lunch in the shade of some rocks and trees and headed out about 1:00pm. Coming out I could really feel it on my feet, which are still quite sore today! Make sure to wear good boots on this one, and maybe take an extra pair of socks! The dike sections on the lower part of the ridge are really cool (and photogenic) and there is a neat little cave on the right of the first rock dike (on your way up). We also saw the big cave on the right of the beginning ridge section from the road. I wonder what (or who) is up there?

Overall, and outstanding hike. Take plenty of water!! I drank 5 liters and probably should have drank more, since I never went to the bathroom all day! If you want a challenge - mighty Kamaileunu awaits!


Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 22:06:09 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@LAVA.NET>
Subject: Kamaile'unu Ridge 

(a version of this has been posted to the newsgroup "soc.culture.hawaii")

Went on an incredibly neat hike with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club yesterday to Kamaile'unu, the ridge in the Waianae Mountains that descends from Mount Ka'ala and separates the valleys of Makaha and Waianae. Descending to sea level at a point close to the leeward coastline, Kamaile'unu is so hot and dry that its loose dark volcanic rocks are almost entirely exposed. Except for a few notable exceptions, the ridge is only sparse planted with low-lying tuffs of dry grass, haole koa, cacti, and other drought-tolerant scrub. As a result, the full brunt of the sun beats down unmercifully for almost the entire length of the trail.

Shortly after we began the steep initial climb, we reached the ruins of Kamaile Heiau which is strategically located on a promontory overlooking Makaha and Waianae. As we approached the heiau, I could not help but recall that a cave, by the name of Kuka'au'au, is reported to exist nearby. Given its close proximity, it is speculated that this cave is inextricably linked to the rites that took place at this heiau. Despite my efforts to find the cave on our way up, I was alas... unable to find the entrance.

As we continued the initial steep climb over the dark barren rocks, we were surprised to see Wing Ng, who started a bit earlier than the rest of us, already on his way down. As he passed us on the trail, Wing related a tale of great woe--his shoes had experienced catastrophic failure! So damaging were the sharp rocks on his shoes that the soles of the shoes were history. Fortunately, I was able to take a couple of snapshots to preserve this this incredible incident for all posterity.

Anyway, after the first difficult initial climb, we found ourselves on a level section some 1,300 feet high. Reveling in glee from climbing the initial incline, we picked up the pace and pushed forward until we came to a series of incredible dike formations which projected themselves high into the air. Climbing on top some of the more the unusual formations, we snapped a series of really neat pictures.

After our pause at the dikes, we soon found ourselves confronted by an even steeper incline than the first. Climbing up the dark rocks amongst the prickly cacti, we pushed ourselves forward under the hot sun. As we reached the next somewhat level section, we were treated to fantastic views of the Waianae Coast. Perched some 2,600 feet above sea level, we had a beautiful view over the shallow azure waters of Pokai Bay and the deep blue waters off Lahilahi Point. Off in the distance we could see the twin domes of Pu'u o Hulu and Puu Heleakala.

Pushing ourselves forward under the hot sun, the trail contoured-off around a steep section of the ridge. As we followed the trail, we were pleased to reach a section with significantly more vegetation. Shaded by ironwood and christmasberry trees, we noted that the temperature was considerably cooler under the trees--about 5 degrees cooler.

After resting a bit in the shade and drinking lots of water, we left the comfort of the shade and found ourselves on the hot barren rocks again. Almost immediately, we were confronted by another major climb. Climbing up the rocks once again the climb was relentless in its cruelty. Not only did the sun beat down unmercifully, but we were fooled time and time again that the summit lay just ahead, only to have our hopes dashed to realized that another big climb lay ahead. Pushing ourselves to overcome the climb, we were suddenly re-energized when we reached the top and saw that the peak lay off in the near distance after a short insignificant climb! Blazing up the trail to the top, we were overjoyed to reach the highest point on Kamaile'unu! Perched some 3,200 feet above sea level, Kamaile'unu is in close proximity to O'ahu's highest peaks--Mount Kaala at 4,000 feet high and Puu Kalena at 3,500 feet high. With few clouds in the sky, conditions were near perfect for some great shots of these massive peaks.

Continuing down a bit further beyond the summit of Kamaile'unu, we dangled ourselves over the huge precipitous saddle that separates Kamaile'unu from Kawiwi. Finding a shady spot behind the rocks, we ate our lunches while working out a plan of attack to conquer Kawiwi. After resting for a bit we began the long and arduous trek back down the spine of Kamaile'unu. Stopping every so often along the descent to take pictures, we could not wait to reach the bottom to rest our weary feet for good.

When we finally reached the bottom and headed back to our cars I finally glimpsed off in the distance the entrance to Kuka'au'au Cave! Located close to Kamaile Heiau, the cave is not difficult to reach. Although I wanted to explore the cave, my toes were too sore from being shoved against the insides of my shoes on the return trek. Postphoning my explorations for another day, I made up my mind to return to explore this mysterious cave which is reported to be ten feet high and twenty feet wide at the entrance and forty feet deep.

Anyway... as we returned to our cars, I was just elated that I had experienced the punishing climb to the top of Kamaile'unu, took some great pictures of the incredible dike formations, and found the entrance to Kuka'au'au Cave. What an incredible thrill!

P.S. And... one of the neatest things about yesterday's hike was that I got to meet ohe-lers Dave Webb and Dick Beaton for the very first time! Was great to finally to meet these great guys after only reading their posts on-line. Their snapshots, along with pics of Wing's catastrophic shoe failure, are forthcoming. ;-)

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