Kaena Point to Palehua

by kenji SAITO on September 4, 2020

Hiking Kaena Point to Palehua

I joined a different team this weekend to tackle the other mountain range on the island, the Waianae Summit Trail. Thanks to Mike for dropping Analyn, Bill, Shirley and myself off under the bright lights of the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station to start our late evening hike. Team BASK.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Walking on the remnants of the railroad tracks where only our shadows kept us company.

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

I guess we should have gotten a 4×4. Whose name was on the rental contract?

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Passing one of several WW2 pillboxes on our way up the grassy and rocky ridge line that was under lunar illumination.

Kaena Point Tracking Station

Kaena Point Tracking Station

Approaching the military installation that dominates the landscape of the 1,500′ ridge line.

Kaena Point Tracking Station

Kaena Point Tracking Station

Somebody wanted to shed more light on themselves and bring unwanted attention to ourselves. Talks of hiking in the dark to our destination soon became a distant memory as we set up camp at the BSA shelter. Bill and Shirley shared a tent, while Analyn and I shared the picnic table.

BSA Shelter

BSA Shelter

We woke up the next day, broke down the tent, cleaned off the table and had breakfast.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Hiking the wide tree lined corridor that was strewn with pine cones and needles.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

Making our way through the barren and rocky terrain where views of Makua Valley greeted us.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

First contact with the fence line that is sprawled over the mountain range.

Kuaokala Trail

Kuaokala Trail

We followed the fence line down for a bit before it spit us back onto the trail.

Waianae Summit Trail (WST)

Waianae Summit Trail (WST)

Leaving the well trodden trail for the overgrown one.

WST

WST

We snacked on lilikoi passion fruit before trudging back up the road.

Moku

Moku

Turned a right at the geodic marker to pick up the trail.

Pahole NAR

Pahole NAR

Entering the 685 acres of protected ecosystems that are home to native fauna and flora. Mount Ka’ala looked so close, yet so far.

WST

WST

Seeking scant shade from the blistering sun.

WST

WST

Fences for daze.

Mokuleia Trail

Mokuleia Trail

We dropped down to the shelter to have our lunch and top off our water. Slim pickings for the oranges and avocados. Who the hell brings a chair to a hike? A comfortable person that’s who.

WST

WST

Back to hiking under the hot sun.

WST

WST

Giving our hands a workout as we went up and down the fenced hills.

WST

WST

Approaching the summit where a shin high metal stake caught a couple of us on the way up. Ouch!

Three Corners

Three Corners

It was a nice day to be enjoying the sweeping views of Makaha, Makua and Mokuleia Valleys.

WST

WST

Plunging through the dense uluhe corridor laced with thorny thimbleberry bushes. While hiking has a lot of joys. This was definitely not one of them.

WST

WST

Looking ahead to the road that would take us to the 4,025′ summit.

WST

WST

Coming down the steep hill, Analyn skinned her right hand on the fence coming down. Wear and tear.

Ka'ala Road

Ka’ala Road

Two bumps on the road otherwise known as potential road kill.

Ka'ala Road

Ka’ala Road

Click your heels together three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’ and you’ll be there. Unfortunately, this is not the movies and you are not Dorothy. This is the Ka’ala Road, hard and unforgiving. Photo by Bill Yogi.

Ka'ala Road

Ka’ala Road

Putting our heads down and putting one foot in front of the other. This road sucks.

Ka'ala Road

Ka’ala Road

End of the road. Thank goodness. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Camp Ka'ala

Camp Ka’ala

We set up camp; enjoyed a stunning sunset, munched on Godiva Chocolate and somebody got gassed to the point of retching.

Camp Ka'ala

Camp Ka’ala

Our morning view from the highest peak on the island, as rain showers slowly marched its way towards us.

Camp Ka'ala

Camp Ka’ala

Breaking down camp under a light drizzle of mountain rain.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

On the boardwalk that crosses through 1,100 acres of ancient Hawaiian rain forest home to many native plants and animals. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

The Northern KST doesn’t have the exclusive monopoly on deep sole sucking mud. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Ka'ala Bog

Ka’ala Bog

Finding the fence line and following it down to the ridge line.

WST

WST

Going down the slippery slope. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Analyn climbing her way down.

WST

WST

The girls climbing down and out from the moss covered boulder section. Photo by Bill Yogi.

WST

WST

Bushwhacking through the fenced corridor of uluhe ferns and thimbleberry bushes. The overgrowth was too much for Bill’s selfie stick as I cracked the tip while clearing the trail, no fusion videos of the hike. My bad. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

The last time I saw my selfie stick before the overgrowth snatched it out of my pack. It’s supposed to be used for selfies and not bushwhacking. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

The girls passing through a stand of trees that were thickly padded with green and spongy moss.

WST

WST

The trail overgrowth relented somewhat, but not that much. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Hobbs Junction

Hobbs Junction

Taking a break from all that bushwhacking. Agony by a thousand punctures.

WST

WST

Resuming our fenced hike with the second highest peak staring us in our sweaty faces.

WST

WST

Making our way down the split ridge.

WST

WST

Waiting for our turn to climb down. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Shirley contouring the crumbly ridge line. Photo by Bill Yogi.

WST

WST

Looking for that ledge to land her size 7.5 shoes on. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Analyn climbing up one of the last rock faces before the summit.

Pu'u Kalena

Pu’u Kalena

Fabulous views of the West side from the 3,504′ peak.

Pu'u Kalena

Pu’u Kalena

What? No lunch break here? Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

Back on the fenced trail to get to the eroded section over on the next hill.

WST

WST

Lunch break and scenic photography spot.

WST

WST

False peak after false peak.

WST

WST

Selfie at one of the step fence sections. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Looking down at the hot mess of crumbly rocks otherwise known as Pu’u Ka’ilio.

WST

WST

West side boy on the West side dike.

WST

WST

Looking back at sexxxy ridge. No opportunity for sexxxy time. Next time. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

We left the fenced ridge line and made our way down the spur ridge.

WST

WST

Analyn throwing out a shake before going down another narrow dike section.

WST

WST

There’s always time for another shaka on the dike. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

Getting off the rocky ridge line as we descended towards the pass, the lowest point in the Waianae Mountain Range.

Lualualei Valley

Lualualei Valley

Looking down into the largest coastal valley on this side of the island.

WST

WST

Can you take a video of me sliding on my butt sis?

WST

WST

Sure thing sis! Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

Why did the hikers cross the road? To get to the other hiking trail.

Pohaku Hupeloa

Pohaku Hupeloa

Everybody try and keep their heads about them.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

Approaching the clearing with sweeping views and looking for my carbonated beverage. Sorry Analyn.

Kolekole Pass

Kolekole Pass

Thanks to Matt for bringing us the fried chicken without an apostrophe. Our group just got bigger by one. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

Our bellies full, we climbed straight up the crumbly hillside to save 15 minutes. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

Matt bringing the chicken with him. Leftovers are the best. For some people.

WST

WST

The sun silhouetting Matt as we descended down to the notch.

WST

WST

Bill and Shirley climbing out of the first notch.

WST

WST

Coming over the second notch. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

Almost there.

Camp Hapapa

Camp Hapapa

We set up camp; enjoyed another spectacular sunset, no dessert this time and no gassing was reported as well.

Camp Hapapa

Camp Hapapa

Twinkling city lights. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Camp Hapapa

Camp Hapapa

The morning sunbeams spilling over on the central plain. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

We broke down camp and set out for the square sized summit of Hapapa.

Pu'u Hapapa

Pu’u Hapapa

Our collective photographic poses on the 2,883′ peak.

WST

WST

Leaving the summit.

WST

WST

Misty mountains.

WST

WST

Looking back at Matt and the valley that are home to two of the tallest transmission towers in the Western hemisphere.

WST

WST

Contouring and not climbing. Photo by Shirley Gloriani

WST

WST

Traversing the eroded section of the ridge line.

Pu'u Kanehoa

Pu’u Kanehoa

Cheesy pose by the girls at the 2,728′ summit. Not my words. From the cheesy person herself.

Pu'u Kanehoa

Pu’u Kanehoa

Watching Bill “No Breaks” Yogi moving on the ridge line. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Pu'u Kanehoa

Pu’u Kanehoa

Matt checking out the views and kicking himself for not bringing his drone.

WST

WST

The clouds drifting over the mountains.

WST

WST

Most of the clouds soon left, but some stayed. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

We went through a section of pine forest before getting back onto the exposed ridge.

WST

WST

Approaching the “Christmas Tree” that marks the gateway to the first main obstacle.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Climbing up and over the smaller of the primate rocks. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Supplemental webbing does a body and mind good. Or so I heard. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Bill climbing up the biggest of the ape rocks. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Shirley’s turn.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Passing resemblance to their Simian namesake. Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Bill climbing his way down.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Spotting Analyn coming down. Catching services not included. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Gorilla Heads

Gorilla Heads

Looking back at the two humps. And it wasn’t even Wednesday yet.

WST

WST

The group going up between a hard rock and a fence. There was only one decision to make. Up.

WST

WST

There’s always a photographic opportunity in the mountains, especially with these two. Photo by Bill Yogi.

WST

WST

Blackhawk doing a fly by. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

You go right, I’ll go left. Who wants to follow? Webbing will be provided.

WST

WST

Analyn contouring her way around the crumbly rock. We took a musubi break at this spot. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

Following the fence line as we climbed up the rocky ridge.

WST

WST

Pushing our way through the insufferable patch of uluhe ferns that was thankfully interrupted by the fence line.

Pu'u Kaua

Pu’u Kaua

Looking back at the mountains we had traversed from the third highest peak on the island.

Pu'u Kaua

Pu’u Kaua

Group photo by Analyn Baliscao, left to right: Analyn, Bill, Matt, myself and Shirley at the 3,127′ peak.

WST

WST

What broad shoulders you have, the better to see the views with. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Bill coming down the rock face, the start of the most rock climbing on this section of the WST that you can shake a crumbly rock at.

WST

WST

Team BASK perched on the rocks. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

The girls climbing their way down and posing. Multi-tasking at its finest. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

Follow me. Or maybe not. Some people have to learn the hard way. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

Matt making his way around the rock that was in our way. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

WST

WST

Contouring our way around the slippery and rooted hill to pick up the trail. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

Analyn climbing down the short drop with the overhang. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

WST

WST

The pine tree corridor that took us to the main obstacle of the day.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Going up the crumbly 80′ cliff for the fourth time and my stomach still had butterflies. The saving grace was the red webbing that was leftover from another group’s ascent. No free climbing needed this time. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Bill climbing his way up.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Shirley using the blue and red webbings to pull herself up. We just had to have a white webbing and it would have been a patriotic climb. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Pohakea Pass

Pohakea Pass

Somebody was focused on getting to the top. Need a hand? Photo by Shirley Gloriani.

WST

WST

Scrambling up and away from the sheer cliff.

WST

WST

Shirley threading her way between the trees on the mossy ground.

WST

WST

Pulling ourselves up the last major fenced climb.

WST

WST

Pondering the anticipated removal of my facial hair after my self-imposed shaving hiatus that was to be lifted when I finished both mountain ranges in one shot. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Palikea

Palikea

Brief stop at the ti leaf summit that at 3,098′ elevation had panoramic views of the West side. Only an hour left to the end of our hike.

WST

WST

Trying to beat the sun to the bottom. Mother Nature would win.

Palehua

Palehua

Our last selfie of the day as the daylight slipped away from us.

All pau

All pau

Not quite. We still had a roughly five mile road to walk down to Makakilo. We were going to pool our cash together to get a ride back down. But nobody answered the call of opportunity. So we ended up pounding the pavement all the way down to Makakilo. We piled into Matt’s truck and met up with Janell at the nearby shopping center where frozen cokes and bubbly were waiting for us.

Post hike celebration

Post hike celebration

Matt was the only one afforded the traditional champagne dousing over the head, as he had to head home. The rest of us retired to Bill and Shirley’s lawn and just sucked it down. I don’t know who got the better deal. Thanks again to Janell for giving us a ride. Photos by Janell Tuttle.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our Labor Day weekend hike over the entire Waianae Mountain Range and then some, covered almost 33 miles through rugged and spectacular terrain that defines the West side. Amazing adventure with awesome friends. Until the next adventure.

Note: I have been made aware that some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers.

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