I went to Koko Crater with my house mate Eliza on Saturday. I decided to hike this short trail since I woke up late and had new hiking boots to break in. Also, I'd never done it before, and I'd heard lots about it.
We got to the trail head around 1:30pm. A security guy from the stables got our names and license plate, and told us about the "dangers" of the trail (I guess he had to make sure the ladies knew what they were doing! :->). Soon after, we started walking on the dirt road that leads to the trail.
As we got to the junction where the white-barked tree is, we neglected to look at Ball's directions, and went past the trail junction. After we walked on the loop road through the botanic garden for a while, we started wondering why it wasn't going up yet. Pulled out the book, and sure enough, we'd missed the trail. Walked back to the junction, and started climbing up the trail. We reached the crater rim a few minutes later. The views are great from then on.
We literally strolled along the rim enjoying the views. Since it was way past lunch time, we were starving. So we stopped to eat on the side that faces the blowhole below. It was a very clear day, so we could see Moloka'i, Lana'i and Maui in the distance. We saw a car wreck on Kalaniana'ole Hwy and the ambulances come in and out.
After lunch, we resumed our "stroll" to the top. There were plenty of beautiful cactus flowers near the top. Does anyone know what they are called? We reached the highest point, and sat on the metal platform for a while. It's too bad this is not a hike for keikis, because they sure would enjoy playing on the remains of the railway. Eliza said one time she walked down the tracks with no difficulties, so I guess that's yet another way to get to the top.
We came back along the ewa side of the rim. I'd heard it was pretty scary, but we had no problems, and I didn't think it was that bad. I guess it wasn't very windy, so that made it a lot easier. The last part of the trail was overgrown, and we got quite a few scratches. Long pants are recommended. We got back to the trailhead around 5pm (Before you jump to say: "That's VERY LONG!!", keep in mind that I'm a slow hiker...). We drove to Waimanalo, and went boogie boarding till dark.
I thought it was a great trail for breaking in new boots. It's short enough that it isn't too painful, but it's steep enough that you can really test your boots going up and downhill.
And this brings up the following question: What should I do to my old boots? Bronze them? ;-) I'm too attached to them to throw them away. Those are the boots that appear on my web page.
Koko Crater! One of my favorites and a particularly good place to go not only to break in new boots like Gaby did, but when rainy weather hits Oahu. That side of the island tends to stay dry and even if bad weather hits, the rain tends to wash away all the loose dirt and pebbles, thus improving footing.
The summit of the crater is even a great place to get married, as Stuart Ball and his wife Lynn can attest.
Wing and I descended the railway to the former site of Hawaii Jobs Corps on 1/1/97 (after Stuart and Lynn's wedding). And as I mentioned last week, a route that starts off Kalanianaole near the Blowhole parking lot also exists, giving hikers several options for traversing the crater.
As for your boots, good question and one that I'm wrestling with myself as I consider the fate of my faithful but needing-to-be-replaced Hi Tecs. Maybe I'll immortalize them by snapping a picture of my boots, putting the image up on a web page ala Gaby, and then sending them to the hiking boot heaven. Hmmm, maybe that's the ticket.
One thing I know is I will never give them to Pat Rorie, who through his innocent, puppy-dog, make-like-a-pauper routine, has accumulated heaps of donated hiking and backpacking equipment from unsuspecting and kind hearted folks. But I'm on to your game, Paka-lolo! :-)
Thanks for the write-up, Gaby.