Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 09:37:45 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (email@example.com> Subject: Kawaewae Ridge
Having gotten the hint from Dayle to submit hiking reports, however insignificant, I decided to put together a quickie for hungry hike enthusiasts.
Drove to Kokokahi YWCA yesterday (June 4th) pau hana. Called Sandy Klein (Doug Klein's wife) to find out where the Kawaewae trailhead was then changed clothes in the boy's room. From there I drove up Kokokahi Street and parked near the entrance to the Friendship Garden.
Final preps ensued and I was off, up the concrete stairs at 5:15 p.m. Six switchbacks, two forks (go left at the forks to gain the ridge line, otherwise, you'll end up doing a loop which will take you back down to the trailhead) and a short but steep ascent later, I was on top of the ridge.
I paused at a nice, level clearing to take in the surrounding sights. Kaneohe Bay featuring "Gilligan's Island" (coconut island) was close by. Pu'u Maelieli (elev. 718 ft), the Mokapu Penninsula almost dead ahead as one faces the ocean, the makai region of Oneawa Hills including Pu'u Papaa (elev. 542 ft), the Mokulua Islands, Kaiwa Ridge, Kawainui Swamp, Rabbit Island, Makapuu Point, Mount Olomana (elev. 1,643 ft) and the Ko'olau Range (super socked in) were also visible.
Continuing on, the ridge dropped down and had some rollercoaster action to it but there were quite a few ropes (courtesy of Ralph Valentino?) available to provide assistance on the steep parts.
Once I ascended the next pu'u I could look down into the quarry, a huge grey pit. "Where was Fred Flintstone?" I asked myself.
A steep descent followed then the trail leveled off and went over an old road covered with buffalo grass. Looking east, across the way, I could see the old Kailua dump (landfill), now closed with grass growing on it and Pu'u Ulumawao (elev. 995 ft) above it.
I gained the apex of the third prominent peak on the ridge and enjoyed mostly unobstructed vistas of the Ko'olaus including the saddle above the Wilson Tunnel between Lanihuli and Pu'u Kahuauli (elev. 2,740 ft and the Bowman Trail topping out point). The ridge leading up to Konahuanui from the Tantalus area was visible beyond the low point between Konahuanui and Lanihuli as well. Couldn't help but notice four Ko'olau Ridge "shoulders" (the first two forming part of the Haiku Valley bowl, the third one separating Haiku Plantation from Valley of the Temples and the fourth containing Kalahaku with its "teeth") jutting out toward the ocean.
Kawaewae Ridge dipped again but instead of going straight along it I stayed on the trail which turned right and down over a side ridge. Worked my way through lots of octopus trees (Queensland Umbrella?) as the footpath gradually descended.
At a junction I went right and down toward some houses (the other route descended toward the Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetary). Kawaewae Heiau, on a hill across the way, caught my attention as I descended toward a residential area.
Emerged from the forest onto Namoku Street at 6:40 p.m. Proceeded to walk/jog back to my car on Kokokahi arriving there at 7:05 p.m.
Notes: HTMC vet Doug "Dusty" Klein took "ownership" of the Kawaewae Ridge Trail and contributed greatly to its completion. The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club will probably schedule this hike for a Saturday in the not so distant future.