OHE March 8, 1999 (Kolekole to Kunia G.C.)

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 14:59:58 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@mailhost.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Kolekole Pass to Hawaii CC Golf Course

Always looking for a challenge, Laredo "Rainbowman" Murray and I got together this past Saturday to attempt a stretch of the Waianaes few have successfully traveled.

We met at the new Moanalua library in Salt Lake and followed each other to Hawaii Country Club Golf Course on Kunia Road. Laredo left his vehicle in a dirt area near the paved parking lot and the two of us car pooled to Schofield Barracks. Approached Kolekole Pass but before reaching the sentry box turned left and parked in a dirt lot (elev. 1,724 ft).

After conversing with an older gentleman about hiking, Laredo and I continued on foot at 10:35 a.m. Ascended to the Kolekole rock and then, more gradually, to the lovely meadow beyond where we enjoyed the overlook of Lualualei Valley for a short time. Pressing on, the two of us entered the woods via the Honouliuli Trail, passed thru a large grove of paperbark trees and worked our way above a couple of gullies.

At a junction Laredo and I departed the contour trail and climbed steeply to the crest of the Waianae Range not far from Pu'u Hapapa. Experienced the thrill of open crest walking as we approached the broad top of Hapapa (elev. 2,883 ft) gaining the peak at 11:49 a.m. Paused briefly to check out some of the native foliage then onward we went. Dropped down a small rock face (the former location of a cable - the piton is still in the ground) then descended more steadily over a series of humps. Further on we negotiated a group of knobs, bypassing the first and ascending steeply up and over the second. Two large rock formations, another knob and a narrow, rocky section later, the two of us reached an eroded spot.

Climbed one final knob in the summit ridge (Pu'u Kanehoa, elev. 2,778 ft) and sat down to eat lunch on the superb panorama at 12:41 p.m. All of the leeward coast from Pu'u Heleakala Ridge to Kamaileunu Ridge including Lualualei and Waianae Valleys could be seen as well as "the Wahiawa Plain, Pearl Harbor, and, in the distance, Honolulu and Diamond Head. In the back you can see the Ko'olau Range from the north shore to Nu'uanu Pali"* to windward.

Storm clouds and rain engulfed the Ko'olaus and appeared headed toward us. Nevertheless, upon consuming the midday meal and taking pleasure from the vistas, Laredo and I continued hiking on the summit ridge toward Pu'u Kaua at 1:15 p.m. With the absence of a trail and the reality of white out and rain the going came much slower. A faint swath existed, however, and I followed it contouring only when necessary.

The open ridge gradually succumbed to vegetation. Laredo and I discovered some toilet paper, a cigarette butt, and part of a power bar wrapper. Negotiated two prominent humps in the ridge thru an extensive ironwood forest. While doing so an increase in vegetation along the crest including encounters with some mean Christmas berry thickets brought about the decision to contour to windward almost exclusively.

Emerged on an open side ridge and ascended steeply to regain the crest. The foliage subsided as Laredo and I approached two spectacular fang shaped rock formations on the summit ridge. The up and over approach looked do-able on the first one but we decided to drop down again and contour below both. Emerged from vegetation onto another side ridge below the second much larger fang and attempted to climb very steeply to its apex. Looking ahead at the steep descent of the backside of the fang and the subsequent very steep, exposed, rocky climb to the summit of Kaua caused us to retreat down the side ridge at 3:18 p.m.

I dreaded the ram-rod I would have to endure thru lots of vegetation but Laredo and I caught a break when, much to our surprise, a fairly distinct hunter trail existed on the ridge all the way down to the Honouliuli Trail. Once we turned right onto the contour footpath it was smooth sailing all the way to the pineapple fields (the two of us reached the junction with the Pu'u Kaua Trail at 3:54 p.m. and fifteen minutes later emerged from the forest onto the pineapple dirt road).

Walked out of the pineapple fields, along Kunia Road arriving at Laredo's truck at 4:45 p.m. He ferried me back to Kolekole where we parted company.


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Paka

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