Having done essentially no hiking over the weekend I had to get some unspent energy out of my system.
Driving home I saw the summit of Pu'u Keahiakahoe for the first time in a couple weeks but time did not allow for an ascent of this majestic mountain.
Instead I looked toward Ka'ala and noticed that she was not socked in. If Ka'ala was clear certainly Pu'u Kalena would be I thought to myself.
I got home about 4:40 p.m., ran inside, changed clothes, grabbed necessary hiking gear for the trek and took off.
At 5:25 I arrived at the Kolekole Pass parking lot across the road from the trail head. 6 minutes later I crossed the road and headed up past the huge white cross. It was very breezy (trades 15 - 30) as I ascended the steep eroded section which is in the beginning. Dirt blew into my eyes and the wind was so strong that it constantly pushed me to the leeward side of the trail. Common sense kicked in at this point and said "is this a good idea ? esp. solo ?". "Sure it is !" I shot back.
After 21 minutes (5:52 p.m.) I reached the ridge line where a benchmark is located and sat down to rest. Looking across the Wahiawa plain at the Ko'olau Summit I attempted to figure out where we had traversed on 6/21. I also saw the water tower at the end of Calif. Ave. It brought back memories of being picked up by Bill late that night.
Continuing on I made it past a relatively level section and then up a steep area with not much interference from the strong gusts. However, the famous dike section was coming up soon. Instead of getting nervous I decided to have an aggressive attitude. "Let us embrace !" I thought to myself as I looked forward to climbing one of the best stretches of trail on the island. Wing's phrase "the excitement of getting there" certainly describes how I felt while moving past the rock dike (top of page 4 in photo section of Ball's incredible first book).
Moving on I reached the summit of Pu'u Ku Makali'i and paused briefly to enjoy the sights. I looked down on the Schofield bombing area and stared for the first time that day at Pu'u Kalena and the undeveloped valley below her. The golf/soccar balls at the summit of Ka'ala also stood out prominently. Something else that caught my attention was the narrow spine which went from Ku Makali'i down into the Schofield bombing area.
The next section was level but incredibly narrow and with strong trade winds trying to blow you off extra care had to be taken. You know a section of trail is narrow when you look at the middle of it and can see the steep drop offs on both sides with your peripheral vision ! Yikes !
After descending gradually along the ridge thru a forest of 'ohi'a and other foliage I passed another narrow spine on the left which was mostly level then came to an abrupt end toward the Kolekole pass road below. It looked do-able but I didn't have time on this day to try it.
Going on a little further descending steeply I arrived at a nice view spot. The time was 6:20 as I sat down to enjoy the wonderful panaramic views of the Waianae Range (specifically the peaks of Hapapa, Kanehoa and Kaua) to the south, Lualualei, Waianae Valley, the dark blue Pacific Ocean off of the Waianae Coast, Pu'u Kalena and the undeveloped valley below her. Lots of 'ohi'a trees with their dark green leaves could be seen as well. The clouds were sparse and not much higher than I was as they moved by rather quickly. It was cool so I put on my sweater. What a great way to unwind after the workday !
As the darkness began to move in I got up, took one last look at the sights, gathered my pack and started back at 7:05. I stopped frequently to enjoy the terrific views again and again. The Wahiawa and Waianae lights told me to keep going (this trail is definitely one you don't want to do in the dark even with a flashlight !).
At 7:56 I arrived at my car and headed for home soon after.
Note: Hike took place on monday (6/30) afternoon. Pu'u Kalena is for experts only. Whimps can wait at the cross for the real men to come down. Chris don't take your kids on this one. It could be their worst nightmare ! Nah,nah,nah ! Just joking. All in fun. But seriously this hike is a real challenge esp. with trades 15 to 30 mph. Kalena and others like it are what its all about for me !
Some other dangerous hikes on Oahu... Olomana Third Peak, Ohulehule Southeast Ridge, Section between Ohulehule saddle and summit, Dupont's narrow sections and dike, Ohikilolo, Maakua Gulch 7 ropes, Pu'u Manamana.
So Pat, you didn't make it to the top of Kalena that day? That's what I got from reading your message. It certainly is ambitious to attempt Kalena at 5:25 in the afternoon. When I did it we took 2 hours just to reach the summit! A shorter panoramic hike is Hapapa. I did that last weekend with a couple buddies, Mike and Burt. It took us about an hour to reach the summit of Hapapa from the starting point at Kolekole pass. Instead of heading across the road towards the cross, pickup the trail which starts from the parking lot. The trail goes up past an ancient Hawaiian birthing rock to Conner meadow then head straight up the ridge. The trail bypasses a landslide, we climbed up the side of the slide and picked up the old trail there. It gets really steep going up, both hands and feet required for typical Hawaiian style climbing. You come to the top of the first hump where a big iron V is cemented into a rock. Pass this and begin ascending very steeply once more. The humps are smaller after this and eventually you go up onto the forested Waianae summit. Keep going till you get to the first big peak. That's Hapapa, there's no Geodetic Reference Marker to confirm but the trail descends quite a way after the peak so it's gotta be Hapapa. We kept going on the summit trail most of the way to Kanehoa. The trail became very overgrown with Christmas berry and we never made the Kanehoa summit, maybe some ambitious guy with a bolo knife will hack the way clear ????