Aiea Ridge to Moanalua Valley

by kenji SAITO on March 31, 2019

Hiking Aiea Ridge to Moanalua Valley

I told some friends go to hell this weekend and they took me up on it. Photo by Dennis Regan.

Trailhead

Trailhead

Mahalo to Allison for dropping Ani, Christine, Cisco, Janell, Ryan and myself off at the top of the trail. A short time later, Uber dropped off Dennis who rounded out the crew for the day.

Aiea Loop Trail

Aiea Loop Trail

Stepping on the trail strewn with chopped and fallen trees. Lumberjack’s wet dream.

Aiea Ridge Trail

Aiea Ridge Trail

The morning sky beckoned us with false promises of clear summits. Photo by Ryan Meyer.

March of Progress

March of Progress

The trail to Homo Viator is fraught with misdirection.

Pu'u Kawipo'o

Pu’u Kawipo’o

Free Flipper! Willy has already left the park.

Aiea Ridge Trail

Aiea Ridge Trail

Hiking into the clouds. False promises becomes reality. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Aiea Ridge Trail

Aiea Ridge Trail

Looking back at our closing window of opportunity to see anything of scenic interest. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Aiea Summit

Aiea Summit

Group photo at the socked in summit, left to right: Ryan, Christine, Ani, Janell, myself, Dennis and Cisco.

Aiea Summit

Aiea Summit

Busy bee. More like an idle bee.

Ko'olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Ko’olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Making our way on the cloud soaked ridge line that was characterized with …

KSRT

KSRT

… multiple short ups …

KSRT

KSRT

… and downs.

KSRT

KSRT

Single file smiling on the ridge. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Good deed of the day

Good deed of the day

Ryan using his engineering skills to make the fence right again. We can’t have any of those endemic plants escaping out into the wild.

Ohia Lehua

Ohia Lehua

Passing through dew kissed shrubs bedecked with crimson flowers.

KSRT

KSRT

Descending down through the clouds where we saw the bunker in the grassy meadows that marks the entrance to hell.

Welcome to hell

Welcome to hell

May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead. Oh wait, two weeks late to the drinking toast.

North Haiku Stairs

North Haiku Stairs

Hell has been described as a place of torment and punishment, with temperatures north of unbearably hot. We must be in a different location defined by a different religion. Photo by Christine Galiza.

Stairway to Hell

Stairway to Hell

Group photo at the dilapidated stairs that have seen better days. Light wind conditions made for cool temperatures with periodic moments of sunshine that provided welcome warmth.

Stairway to Hell

Stairway to Hell

Looking down at the stairs that the US Navy failed to finish. Photo by Dennis Regan.

Lost

Lost

Ani and Cisco went off to explore and find a plane wreckage from a time long ago. Photo by Cisco Quintanilla.

Cleared to fly

Cleared to fly

Wind conditions were favorable to flying Dennis’s mavic drone, which provided us a birds eye view of the hellish surroundings.

KSRT

KSRT

Following the rusted rope out of hell as we passed the bunker that has turned into a sanctuary for unwanted tents. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

KSRT

KSRT

Leaving the last of the rusted stairs behind us. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

KSRT

KSRT

Making our way through a couple more short ups and downs.

KSRT

KSRT

Panoramic view from the geo marker.

KSRT

KSRT

Approaching the saddle.

Red Hill Summit

Red Hill Summit

A somber reminder of a search from four years ago that came up empty, but did result in the formation of OSAR.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

What holds all this together? Not much. Photo by Cisco Quintanilla.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

The rest of the group making their way down the saddle.

Hiking muse

Hiking muse

You should be in a painting. Photo by Christine Galiza.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Panoramic view of the saddle with Dennis. Photo by Christine Galiza.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Cisco coming down the saddle. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

To climb or to contour? Pick your poison. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Kulana'ahane Summit

Kulana’ahane Summit

Looking back at the western half of the saddle we had just descended. Photo by Janell Tuttle.

Kulana'ahane Summit

Kulana’ahane Summit

Panoramic view from Hell to Heaven. Photo by Ryan Meyer.

Kulana'ahane Summit

Kulana’ahane Summit

Everybody’s Irish at the end of the day. Except for those that don’t consume alcohol. Photo by Janell Tuttle.

Kulana'ahane Summit

Kulana’ahane Summit

Looking towards Stairway to Heaven that was invitingly clear. Anybody want to continue? Anybody? Photo by Janell Tuttle.

Moanalua Valley

Moanalua Valley

Leaving the saddle as we dropped down the short spur ridge going into the valley. Photo by Ani Lagpacan.

Kulana'ahane Trail

Kulana’ahane Trail

There are supposed to be well north of two dozen stream crossings on this trail. Who’s counting?

Kulana'ahane Trail

Kulana’ahane Trail

One of many thickets of tangled hau tree branches, I’m sure not as many as the stream crossings, but enough to be obstructive.

Kulana'ahane Junction

Kulana’ahane Junction

The last streambed crossing for the day. What was the total count?

Kamananaui Valley Trail

Kamananaui Valley Trail

One of seven bridges on the trail. Yes, I actually counted. Something to take my mind off the monotonous road. Photo by Cisco Quintanilla.

All pau

All pau

It’s so hard to say goodbye, so let’s not. Our hike traveled 13.38 miles through ridges, mountains, valleys and not to mention the very hospitable hell. Great hike with new and old friends. Post hike meal at Alley Restaurant where oxtail soup was still being dished out.

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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