No ultra-marathon hikes this week, but I managed to log some trail time nonetheless. Here's the scoops--
==Tuesday, 7/16: Headed to Kailua to hike Kaiwa Ridge. I started on Kaelepulu Drive by the Mid-Pacific Golf Course, climbed to the pillboxes, and continued on the koa haole infested ridge trail to Pu'u o Lanikai. I then descended a trail to Poopoo Place on the Waimanalo end of Lanikai and walked back on Aalapapa Drive to my car. This trail/road loop took about 80 minutes to complete.
==Friday, 7/19: Drove to Makiki to hike a 6.5-mile loop on the Tantalus system of trails. I started at the Hawaii Nature Center on that unnamed road off of Makiki Heights Drive. I basically did the loop that Stuart Ball describes in his book but backwards and without the Pauoa Flats section to the Nuuanu Reservoir lookout. To recap, the hike begins behind the Nature Center on the Maunalaha Trail. A fairly taxing ascent to the Moleka Trail follows. Moleka leads to one head of the Manoa Cliffs Trail which contours around Tantalus. I descended back to the Nature Center on via the Nahuina and Kanealole Trails. Time: 2.5 hours. Saw about two dozen folks hiking during the outing.
==Saturday, 7/20: No hiking but I spent time with good buddies and hiking companions Chris Thomas and Bill Melemai talking story about Mauna Loa and other treks while BBQing at Chris' place out Makakilo way. Pu'u Makakilo loomed nearby and in the distance Lanihuli and Konahuanui stood proud, tall, and cloudfree.
==Sunday, 7/21: Joined the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club trail maintenance crew for work on the trail to Konahuanui, the highest point in the Koolau range. Present and accounted for were Mabel Kekina, Carole K. Moon, Naomi Nasu, June Miyasato, Lita Komura, Charlotte Yamane, Stuart Ball, his wife Lynn, Grant Oka, Ken Suzuki, Jason Sunada, Bill Gorst, John Hall, Ralph Valentino, Jay Feldman, Will Kawano, Pat Rorie, and Jarrod Kinoshita. All began at the Manoa Cliffs trailhead, except for Jason, Stuart and Lynn, who started from Manoa Valley at the Manoa Falls trailhead. Stuart will lead the HTMC members-only hike to Konahuanui on 8/3.
We reached the Koolau summit and the first (and lower) of the two peaks of Konahuanui in 2.5 hours. The muddy and exhilirating crossover to the higher peak took 25 to 30 minutes. We had clear views for the entire day, except when clouds rolled in during the 45 minutes we spent at the summit of Konahuanui (higher) for lunch. After chowing down, Pat and Ralph descended the legendary Piliwale Ridge for 10 minutes before backtracking. Later, while Paka-lolo bowed in reverence, Jason told us about his ascent and descent of this dangerous trail, using the phrase "death dropoffs" to describe its gnarliness. A future HTMC super hike? We'll see.
On the way back, at Konahuanui (lower), we met two 20-ish hikers who were stoked to meet the famous Mr. Ball in the flesh. Also during the descent, Patrick exclaimed in ecstasy when he caught sight of his sweetheart Ohulehule through a pass in the Koolau spine. Mahalo to Ralph for bringing rope to affix to a couple steep, rocky sections.
One of the high points of the day was returning to the Manoa Cliffs trailhead, a notorious rip-off spot, and finding our cars undisturbed. Hooray!
Mahalo to Mabel for the the post-hike kaukau, in particular, her ono frosting-topped banana cake! While we wolfed down the cake, Mabel lectured Patrick about "burning the candle at both ends," in reference, among other things, to Paka-lolo's maniacal post-work hikes.
Hike safe everyone!