Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 15:01:32 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (email@example.com> Subject: Ohikilolo Pyramid Revisited
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is normally a day when many people kick back and relax at the beach with family (atleast in Hawaii - my sympathies go out to the OHE-L'ers on the mainland who are enduring cold temps and lots of snow). Arnold Fujioka and I got together to do something a little different. Actually, a lot different. It had been six years since Arnold had summitted the pyramidal peak at the terminus of the Ohikilolo Trail with HTM and he desired to return to the site. I explained to him that Ohikilolo Ridge was truely closed (the owner of the Ohikilolo Ranch busted Dayle and I on Sept. 19th of last year) and fenced but another way existed to the pyramidal peak. Arnold, a quiet unassuming guy, is nicknamed "Animal" because he is one of the strongest hikers in HTM and as an HTM coordinator, usually assigned the most difficult hike in each quarter.
We met on Lumiauau Street in Waikele at 8 a.m. and car pooled to Makaha Beach Park (elev. 15 ft) on the leeward coast of Oahu. At 8:49 a.m. the two of us crossed Farrington Hwy and began climbing steeply inside a pocket of Keaau Ridge over loose rock and dirt. With the exception of thorny Keawi plants, very little vegetation existed. Although a gorgeous day (an abundance of blue sky and sunshine) it seemed unusually hot for January (not temperature wise but as a result of an unobstructed sun and only a slight breeze). Arnold and I gradually ascended the steep ocean facing slope gaining the ridge crest at a peak named Kepuhi New (elev. 1,279 ft) where an old concrete bunker exists with a coiled steel cable/pully system nearby.
Following a short break, the two of us continued the trek enduring some mild roller coaster action reaching Burns Peak (elev. 1,719 ft) and then a short time later the Keaau 2 benchmark (elev. 2,266 ft) at approx. 10:20 a.m. (about an hour and a half from the beach to Keaau 2). We spotted three hunters (in reality, three military dudes with guns) and passed them in route to Pu'u Keaau (elev. 2,650 ft) where we stopping for another brief rest/water break at 10:38 a.m.
Pressing on, Arnold and I enjoyed a relatively level stretch with superb views all around (Mount Ka'ala dead ahead, Makaha Valley/Kamaileunu Ridge on the right and Ohikilolo Valley to the left) contouring mainly on the Makaha Valley side of the ridge and observed a group of seven goats moving rapidly toward a saddle. The two of us dropped down to the saddle (elev. 2,231 ft) then ascended steeply thru a forest to the base of a red, badly eroded, pu'u. At this point in the hike, Arnold and I began conserving water. Ball writes "If you have to ration or borrow water, you didn't bring enough."*
Carefully traversed the crumbly red hill and arrived at the start of a Christmas berry forest at 11:50 a.m. Removed cutting implements from our packs and proceeded to bash a path thru the group of trees looking for ribbons I had tied to limbs on December 12th. Stuggled but successfully contoured along the base on the Makaha side of an unnamed peak (elev. 2,952 ft) thru the Christmas berry emerging onto the ridge crest once again.
Descended to a spectacular dike, contoured to the right of it and scrambled precipitously to the Ohikilolo Ridge pausing briefly to look at a mother goat with two of her babies following closely behind her.
Accomplished the final climb to the top of the Ohikilolo pyramid (elev. 3,052 ft) at 12:54 p.m. and sat down to rest. Initially, I couldn't take pleasure from the awesome panorama due to fatique but upon consuming two apples and a 12 oz. Dr. Pepper I soon recovered.
A veteran hike coordinator of Keaau's sister ridge, Kamaileunu, Arnold proclaimed the Ohikilolo pyramid via Keaau hike the most difficult he'd ever experienced. Furthermore, he confessed that the view from the summit was better than that of the Kamaileunu terminus.
The two of us enjoyed the sites which included the north shore and northern Ko'olau Range visible above the Waianae Range, Makua Valley (a lovely green due to recent rains), Ka'ena Point, massive and aircraft carrier shaped Ka'ala, upper Makaha Valley, Kamaileunu Ridge featuring Noname Peak and Kawiwi with Pu'u Kalena and Kaua behind them.
Arnold discovered a shady spot on the Makua side of the pinnacle where we took refuge after lunch. Got a break from the heat when clouds moved in, occasionally blocking the unrelenting sun. Reluctantly, the two of us departed the summit of the Ohikilolo pyramid a few minutes before 2 p.m.
During the return leg I tied more ribbon around tree limbs in the Christmas berry forest to make it easier to negotiate (only time will tell if goat hunters remove them). At 4 p.m. Arnold and I took a break at Pu'u Keaau. I snapped a couple of photos of the leeward coast toward Ka'ena including rugged but beautiful Ohikilolo Ridge and gulped down what remained of my last liter of tang (I started the hike with slightly less than three liters).
Upon arriving at the Keaau 2 benchmark, the two of us decided to descend the watertank ridge into Makaha Valley. On the way down Arnold also ran out of water (he began the day with six liters in his day pack). I reached the watertank first at 5:07 p.m. and three minutes later Arnold joined me. We walked down the watertank road to Kili Drive and headed makai toward Farrington Hwy. Twenty five minutes later I reached the pat-mobile while Arnold obtained much needed H20 from the Makaha Beach Park showers.
I wish the story ended here but it doesn't. While at the 7-11 in Waianae, Arnold collapsed in the parking lot. I mention this not out of disrespect for Arnold but to communicate that even the strongest of hikers can suffer from dehydration/heat stroke. Thankfully, Arnold revived, I helped him into the car and drove him home.
* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.