Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 01:03:37 -1000 From: DaKine900@aol.com (Tom Cress) Subject: Waimano Trail
08 Dec, 1999. My friend and I headed out around 8 am to go check out the Waimano ridge trail. We only planned to go for an hour or two, just to see what the first leg was like. The Waimano ridge trail is a 16 mile round trip hike that ends at a small clearing atop the Ko'olau Range spine. We had originally planned to complete only the first section of the hike, spending an hour or two maybe. We drove to the trailhead and signed in around quarter to nine. The trail begins as a somewhat narrow path that follows a fence for almost a mile. There isn't much scenery along the first stretch, but it soon comes to a fork where you can take either the Waimano Ridge or Valley trails. We were a little discouraged because most of our time was spent walking along the fence. We decided to go a little further and see if the trail got any better, and it did.
Shortly afterwards, we passed an irrigation ditch (spillway), made of stone, which has a missing section that you must jump over. The ditch, which was on the right side, culminates into several tunnels along the path. We began to descend the ridge to a stream, which we had to cross. The trail became wider here. We ascended the adjacent ridge which followed the stream. We climbed a few switchbacks, but nothing too steep. The trail went back down to the stream, which we crossed again. We began another ascent up the ridge climbing several steep sections. There is one narrow section, less than one foot, with a dropoff on the left side. The is a cable provided for assistance. We then had to climb down a vertical rock face with the assistance of another cable. Shortly afterward the terrain became overgrown. We blazed through four more switchbacks going up the ridge.
At this point, the trail is following the ridge along the side, just below the top. Up another switchback. The trail circles around several lesser peaks. We had to jump over what looked like one or two waterfall tops, but they were dry. The path bears right, reaching the apex of the trail along the Ko'olau spine. The Ko'olau summit trail is present but not clearly distinguishable. It is very overgrown and narrow. There were excellent views of Waih'e Valley, Kaneohe, Chinamans Hat and Waimano Valley and ridge. The left side of the valley was near vertical, barren and windswept. The middle was near vertical for almost 2000 feet with vegetation.
The right side had views of far vertical wall of Ko'olau spine tributary forming wall of Waih'e Valley. The clouds were sparse, but the wind was strong and came straight up from the valley. Elevation was 2160 feet. The hike was 16+ miles round trip. There was a lot of mud along the way, and a few slippery rocks. Despite the few narrow sections, the path was wide and graded. A plentiful variety of native and transplanted vegetation was spotted along the way as well. We also passed a few interesting rock formations just past the mid point. They looked like human faces or skulls. Very strange. All in all, Waimano is an excellent hike! We found surprises around ever corner! A true adventure for anyone.