OHE October 3, 1998

Date: Sat, 3 Oct 1998 22:49:57 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Ohikilolo via Makaha/Keaau

Pat Rorie, Steve Poor, and I attempted to reach Ohikilolo Ridge from Makaha Valley today, but we came up short when we ran out of time and energy.

We began by climbing the ridge in Makaha Valley off of Kili Drive. There's a water tank at the base of this ridge and Pat needed an hour and Steve and I an hour and thirty minutes to complete the ~1 mile ascent to Keaau 2 (2266 ft.).

From Keaau 2, we had commanding views of Makaha Valley, Keaau Valley, and a good deal of the Waianae coast. Some good-sized rollers were heading shoreward at Makaha Beach, which excited Steve, a longtime North Shore surf vet.

The temps were oven-like, and although clouds were overhead, there wasn't enough cover to obscure the sun, which beat down on us all day. This fact ultimately affected the outcome of our outing since the high temps sizzled the ridgetop and the three hapless hikers traversing it.

We departed Keaau 2 at 11, bound for Ohikilolo, our hoped-for objective. First, we had a 20-minute climb to Keaau 1 (2650 ft.) followed by a nice section of fairly level ridge. For the most part, beyond Keaau 1 we followed goat trails that often contoured below the main ridgeline, most often on the Makaha side. These goat routes proved helpful since we were able to avoid the mild rollercoaster humps on the ridge.

The ridge narrowed in spots, but there seemed to always be a goat trail to get by these if the ridge itself proved too miniscule to hike. After the 1-mile stretch of level ridge, we descended steeply to a saddle (2231). While hiking in the saddle section, which is part of the back wall of Keaau Valley, we saw orange-clad goat hunters in the forested valley below. The sounds of their rifle fire boomed loudly off the surrounding hills, and I remarked to Pat and Steve that I hoped they weren't shooting at us (if they were, they missed). :-)

Beyond the saddle was an imposing climb to a pu'u (2754) with an eroded summit of red dirt. It was about 12:30 when we began the climb, and the heat seemed to be at its highest at the time. Fortunately, the steep slope to the top of this pu'u was mostly tree-covered (silk oaks and Christmas berry), offering some respite, but I still suffered mightily during the ascent.

Pat didn't seem adversely impacted by the heat, but Steve, like me, was feeling its effects. There is a nice shady section on the north side of the eroded pu'u with a pretty view of the pyramidal peak on Ohikilolo ridge as well as upper Makaha Valley, Mount Kaala, Kawiwi, and Kamaileunu. Since it was 1 p.m., we decided to eat lunch at this spot and then take inventory of our energy and willingness to press on.

With two significant ascents needed to reach Ohikilolo, Steve voted against pressing on. I seconded the motion. Pat agreed but said he wanted to press on a bit to explore part of the route that lay ahead. Steve and I agreed to that plan.

We left our packs at the lunch spot and set off to explore the ridge ahead. About a hundred feet beyond our lunch spot, there is a level eroded section where we passed the wreckage of a crashed plane. The parts of the aircraft are strewn over a 150-foot section, and we wondered when the crash took place, probably long ago by the looks of the wreckage.

Beyond the crash site, the ridge climbed and became narrow and rocky. We ascended to the high point of this segment (2952), where we decided to stop and head back. It was 2 p.m., and we knew if we pressed on to Ohikilolo (by my estimate, we'd need about 70-80 minutes to get there and back), we'd likely be hiking out in the dark.

I should mention that we saw no "narrow dike with 500-ft dropoffs on both sides" that we'd been told we'd encounter on the hike. If we had started an hour earlier and/or if we had had a cooler day, we'd have made it to Ohikilolo with no problem. We'll be back to complete the hike and may include the route as an HTMC Super Hike if given the green light by the club's powers-that-be.

So we returned the way we came, reaching our cars on Kili Drive about 5:15. The precipitous descent from Keaau 2 to the water tank was painful since my feet and knees had been in hammer-mode all day from hiking on rocky, uneven terrain. But time, several aspirins, a couple of Super Big Gulps, a warm shower and comfortable bed have a way of easing pain and suffering, and I think I'll be ready for tomorrow's HTMC trail maintenance outing on the Kapalama Loop trail.

Safe hiking to all,


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