Howzit Dayle ?!
Need to clear the backlog of write-ups so I'll start with Dupont...
On Sunday, May 25, I decided not to do trail clearing figuring they would have enough people and I had hiked Koloa Gulch a few months back. In my quest to hike every non-whimpy hike in Stuart "Guru" Ball's first book I set off for Dupont.
I parked on a street just past Waialua High and started down a cane road which is the start of the hike. The time was 11:18 a.m. As I looked up toward the summit of Mt. Ka'ala I noticed that it was socked in. I don't usually do a hike if its summit is socked in but I kept hoping the clouds would go away as I walked along the road. After passing a small reservoir on the left I went thru a locked gate that said "You Need A Permit" (more on that later).
After going up a road and climbing over another gate I entered a pasture. I continued my gradual ascent past a watering trough and then went RIGHT up a broad ridge. Once I reached its crest I turned LEFT and worked my way up to the Mokuleia Forest Reserve boundary marked by an old wood-and-wire fence. I took my first drink of grape juice and rested briefly. It took me an hour from my car to this point.
I climbed over the fence and continued up the trail. When I reached an eroded area with a panoramic view I encountered a goat. He was just above me and we eye balled each other for about a minute. I took a photo and then continued up the trail. He ran to the left and down into a gully. Between ascents the trail leveled off and became a very pleasant hike thru dry-land forest.
It wasn't long until serious climbing began as the ridge narrowed and became rocky. Although relatively short, part of this section is among the most dangerous on the island. It ranks right up there with Olomana's third peak, Kalena's famous dike section and Ohulehule's southeast ridge. I counted four narrow sections (dikes ?) and 15 cable assisted stretches. Not all of the cables were necessary for safety however. The rocks are slippery and there is an abundance of crumbly rock and loose dirt.
After finishing the dangerous section I continued ascending thru native forest which featured a couple of mossy areas to sit down and rest. Some blackberry bushes cut my arms and legs so I would recommend long pants and gloves for this area. Next I reached a concrete stairway and continued a gradual ascent. The views were very spectacular now with the Waialua sugar fields below along with a long stretch of the north shore. The Ko'olau Mountain Range could be seen from Pupukea past Konahuanui and beyond! After reaching the end of the stairway and crossing a bridge I reached the end of the hike or so the sign says. According to Stuart's book the trail continues so I did until I reached a nice view spot not far from the FAA radar installation.
The clouds had completely cleared. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue sky and white puffy intermittent clouds above. It was now 2:20 p.m. (3 hours 2 minutes from Waialua High to the summit of Mt. Ka'ala). Next I walked thru the bog area and down part of the Waianae Ka'ala trail. The views of Luaualei valley, the Waianae mountains and Makaha were actually BETTER than the views from the summit near the FAA radar installation. After taking in the Leeward views for as long as time permitted I went back thru the bog with its boardwalk and native vegetation and started back down Dupont. The time was now 4:05 p.m. I took my time enjoying the trip down and reached my car at 7.
Dupont is the best Waianae Range hike. The trail ascends Mt. Ka'ala, Oahu's highest peak, from the windward side. Don't write it off because of the dangerous section. You can make major elevation gain and enjoy terrific views well before encountering the dangerous section. Get a permit !!! Go to the DLNR on Punchbowl street room 131. Then call 637-3521, 637-9441 and 637-4834 atleast 24 hours in advance.