Makapu’u to Pupukea

by kenji SAITO on August 15, 2020

Hiking Makapu'u to Pupukea

The current global pandemic had scuttled my plans to hike the Mount Blanc Trail in Europe, so that’s how I found myself with Anne and Tessa on the fragmented remnants of the Ko’olau Shield Volcano in Hawaii.

Makapu'u Lighthouse

Makapu’u Lighthouse

Day 1 Saturday – Thanks to Aida for dropping us off as we hiked up the dark and deserted road.

Makapu'u Lighthouse

Makapu’u Lighthouse

All hands on the tower that has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the United States. Walking back down the paved road, we met another hiker who surprised us coming up the trail and I fell in the ditch while texting. An auspicious start to our hike.

Ko'olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Ko’olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Going up the rocky trail that was kept in navigational perspective by the shimmering coastal lights and our headlamps.

Makapu'u Puka

Makapu’u Puka

Pit stop at the prominent hole in the ridge line. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Shaka sunrise

Shaka sunrise

Anne greeting our first sunrise of the hike. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Hang gliding platform

Hang gliding platform

I believe I can fly. I mean, hike. No drugs allowed on this hike.

KSRT

KSRT

Going through the fenced enclosures.

KSRT

KSRT

Leaving the communication towers and former Nike air missile defence site behind us.

KSRT

KSRT

The girls dipping into the saddle under the withering sun.

KSRT

KSRT

The ironwood forest granted us temporary shade as we made our way out of the saddle. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Breaking out onto the exposed trail.

Kamiloiki Summit

Kamiloiki Summit

Sweeping views of the Waimanalo coastline and inviting blue-green waters greeted us at the top. No stop at Camp Awesome today.

KSRT

KSRT

Making our way through the hardscrabble terrain of this section that is usually scorching hot and the least favorite section of the KST for me, but thankfully it was overcast and relatively cool today.

KSRT

KSRT

Walking through the feathery ferned forest that always makes me forget that I’m hiking on the KST for some reason. We barely crossed paths with two other female hikers going the opposite way as well. I think they were avoiding us.

Mariner's Summit

Mariner’s Summit

Did my cap shrink or my head get bigger? My money is on the latter.

Kaluanui Summit

Kaluanui Summit

Group photo at the abandoned summit with views of the Southern spine of the Ko’olau’s, Olomana and other points of interest.

Mariner's Summit

Mariner’s Summit

Climbing down from the 1,361′ top.

Hahaione Pyramid

Hahaione Pyramid

We saw three hikers milling around the 1,594′ triangular peak. We declined to join them for the sake of social distancing.

Hahaione Powerlines

Hahaione Powerlines

Mahalo to Janell for stashing water on the trail.

Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place

Tessa trying to squeeze her way through on the trail. Photo by Anne Fai.

Pictures Plus

Pictures Plus

A picture is worth a thousand words. In her case, make it 10,000 words. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kuli'ou'ou Summit

Kuli’ou’ou Summit

Are we there yet?

Kuli'ou'ou Summit

Kuli’ou’ou Summit

Group photo at the usually bustling 2,028′ summit. Where is everybody? Has the zombie apocalypse finally happened? Something close to it. COVID-19, the apologetic apocalypse.

KSRT

KSRT

Climbing our way up the severely eroded hill. Ropes included.

KSRT

KSRT

Approaching the oft photographed spot that was lacking a tent and a hiker. Any volunteers? Where is yawyaw#2 when you need her? Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

We passed Pu’u O Kona with a slight pause to take in the cloud covered views before resuming our traverse on the numerous small hills that populated the ridge line.

Hawaii Loa Summit

Hawaii Loa Summit

Taking in another cloud obfuscated view at the barren 2,520′ knob.

KSRT

KSRT

Approaching the communications tower that signaled the end of our day. We passed the 1,597′ summit and dropped down a bit to reach our camp site.

Camp Wiliwilinui

Camp Wiliwilinui

We reached the heli-pad around 1530. Kudos to Aida, Ed, Sally and Somphet for hiking to our campsite to bring food and drinks that was much appreciated.

Camp Wiliwilinui

Camp Wiliwilinui

Our door dash drivers departing down the mountain.

Camp Wiliwilinui

Camp Wiliwilinui

Good night from our temporary home in the mountains. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Day 2 – Sunday. We woke up to a slightly chilly and cloud soaked morning. Cooked up breakfast, broke down camp and pushed off around 0715 on the trail.

Kainawa'aunui Summit

Kainawa’aunui Summit

Brief stop at the 2,520′ terminus of the roller coasting ridge. Glad we were not going on that ride today. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Anne scooting her way down the big hill. Sometimes it’s better to go with the flow of gravity rather than resist relativity. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Preparing to transition from standing to scooting. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Catching fleeting valley views before the clouds snatched them away. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

The day was turning out to be rather nice as the clouds were melting back into the sky.

KSRT

KSRT

Tessa pushing her way through chest high overgrowth on the trail. It’s all a matter of perspective. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Looking ahead to the powerline towers that ring one of three tuff cones on this island.

KSRT

KSRT

After bringing somebody back on the trail as she either wanted to fetch water or go home, we all made our way down the rutted trail.

Ka'au Crater

Ka’au Crater

Peering into the marshy crater that is sandwiched in between civilization and the base of the Ko’olau Mountains. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Ka'au Crater

Ka’au Crater

Snack break at the top of the rim. In fact, this is the hike where I first met yawyaw #1. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

The mountains are calling and we answered. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

The girls climbing towards the notch of Olympus.

KSRT

KSRT

Anne climbing her way up the steep hill to have an audience with Zeus. Sorry, wrong mythology. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Awaawaloa Summit

Awaawaloa Summit

Group photo by Tessa Bugay at the 2,486′ top.

Wa'ahila Ridge Trail

Wa’ahila Ridge Trail

Walking down the severely rutted trail that would give Moanalua Middle Ridge and Ka’au Crater a run for their money.

KSRT

KSRT

Making our way on the uluhe smothered trail that afforded grand views of Manoa Valley and points beyond.

KSRT

KSRT

Threading our way around the stand of pine trees blockading the ridge line.

Manoa Middle Summit

Manoa Middle Summit

Tessa on the terminus of the ridge that drops down into Manoa Valley. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

The girls passing a small meadow on their way up.

KSRT

KSRT

Mesmerized by the fluted flanks of the Ko’olau Mountains that was colored in different shades of green. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Climbing false peak after false peak. The suspense just drags in the mountains.

K2 Summit

K2 Summit

We bumped into Bill, Chris and Shirley who had just come up from the Pali and were on their way down to Manoa Middle. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Butt grab

Butt grab

Some mountain traditions must be maintained.

KSRT

KSRT

Traversing between the two large, hairy testicles.

Konahuanui Summit

Konahuanui Summit

Uncommonly clear day on the highest peak that soars to 3,150′ on the Ko’olau Mountain Range.

Piliwale Junction

Piliwale Junction

Passing the spot where the Windward ridge drops down into Maunawili Valley.

Mud Wall

Mud Wall

Going down the slippery slope. Right after this, the mountains grabbed a souvenir from my head and sent it down the side of the ridge. Not wanting to give up my sun protection, I scrambled down and recovered my cap.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

No rock climbing today.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

The girls climbing down the ridge that looks steeper than it actually is. Rear view hiking.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

We contoured the rock face that had sent a friend falling 300′ down into the trees and survived over eight years ago.

Chimney

Chimney

Tessa oscillated on her way down as the bigger pack threw her balance off.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

The girls decided to contour the nipple instead of going up and over. Taking the scenic route.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

We delayed our arrival at the lookout due to unwanted visitors at the bottom.

Camp Pali

Camp Pali

Thanks to Aida, Art, Lilyn and Quan for bringing us vittles and all the fixings. It was much appreciated. Lilyn also brought a portable shower which Tessa promptly drained all the water while still lathered in shampoo, so Quan had to finish her off with a jug of water. Teamwork. Team KAT + Q.

Camp Pali

Camp Pali

Goodnight and don’t let the night marchers bite. Photo by Anne Fai.

Trash Day

Trash Day

Day 3 – Monday. Mahalo to Quan for bringing us breakfast fresh out of a fast food eatery. We greeted a city and county employee on our way to the trail. Lost in translation. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Tessa coming up the pine needle carpeted trail.

Depend

Depend

Somebody was having a bad case of incontinence due to her internal or external bladder leaking. Photo by Anne Fai.

Pali Puka

Pali Puka

Trying to capture the whole hole. Framing and perspective somehow got lost in the process. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games. All day.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

Looking ahead to our destination in the heavens. Photo by Anne Fai.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

My right hand had swelled up to fatty proportions, due to a bee sting the day before, as I must have brushed against a flower in pollination. This allowed me to grab more of the rocks, albeit a little lopsided. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

Anne scrambling her way up.

W

W

Making our way to the 23rd letter in the alphabet. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Deviled egg

Deviled egg

Tessa literally sucked in her smashed boiled egg. Killing two birds with one inhaler. Photo by Anne Fai.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

The girls dropping and contouring their way down the side of the letter shaped obstacle.

W

W

Anne and Tessa finally climbing down after looking for a non-existent contour.

Anvil

Anvil

Preparing to drop down on the moveable rock. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Anvil

Anvil

Anne hugging the side of the cliff as the trail was barely wide enough to hold our feet.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

Huffing and puffing our way up the last steep section on this side of the saddle.

KSRT

KSRT

The girls making their way to the heavenly summit that was surprisingly clear of any swirling.

Lanihuli Summit

Lanihuli Summit

Group photo at the 2,700′ hill with sweeping mountain and coastal views.

KSRT

KSRT

Leaving the summit after our lunch break. Somebody almost took the trail down to Alewa Heights. Thoughts of bailing must have been still swirling in her head.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Following the ridge line as it curved down. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The girls carefully climbing their way down.

Dirt Dragon

Dirt Dragon

Petting what’s left of the dragon. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The girls scooting their way down the crumbly mess.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The saddle’s so windy, I got to wear shades. Borrowed shades. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The girls coming down through the thicket of woody climbers.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Descending down the near vertical flank of the ridge line. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

The other descent option, the suicidal climb down the can opener. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Following the white rope on our way down the ridge’s flank as we contoured our way back to the ridge line under the ominous rock jutting out from the can opener. One day it’s going to pop and I hope nobody is around.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Less texting, more hiking. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Anne scooting down the unstable pile of rocks, as it literally shed rocks each time one of us crossed over.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Popping the pimple on my way up. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Anne contouring around the sliver of a rock pile.

Doorstop

Doorstop

Working for Allstate. You’re in good hands. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Bunny Ears

Standing on one ear.

Kalihi Saddle

Bunny Ears

Sitting on the other one. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Leaving the bunny ears behind us as we didn’t find any rabbit’s foot either on the trail.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Anne heading out to Shark Fin. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Powerlines

Powerlines

We were not going to make heaven today after all.

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

Many thanks to Art and Ben who delivered Filipino sardines, haole cooked rice and drinks. No centipedes crawling around today. My hand had puffed out to maximum tightness, Anne gave me some Benadryl to reduce the swelling. Tessa said if my swelling didn’t go down soon, I should go see a doctor. Do doctors still make house calls? In the mountains?

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

Our camp site overlooking the home of the wallabies. We went to sleep as strong winds and rain tested our tents. One would fail. Somebody was praying that rain storms would lash the mountains so hard that she could go home. Thankfully her request was not answered. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

Day 4 – Tuesday. We not only woke up to the sun breaking through the clouds but daylight breaking through my tent. At least my swelling had gone down. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

The clouds didn’t look too inviting as they rolled through the saddle, so we stayed put until more favorable weather conditions manifested itself. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

Shout out to Lilyn and Quan who swung by our camp site to loan me her tent. Back in business.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

And just like that; the sun came out to play, so we pushed off around 0900.

Witch's Hat

Witch’s Hat

Anne climbing down the conical shaped rock that is perhaps closely related to the witch’s toes.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Slowly making our way across the crumbly ridge line.

Rock Triangle

Rock Triangle

Anne climbing her way up the Leeward side before working her way up the rock face. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Broken Wave

Broken Wave

Looking back at the narrow and eroded ridge line. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Anne was either practicing her ninja skills or spider skills. Either way, she needs more work. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Dirty Slide

Dirty Slide

Pulling myself up the slippery slope. Some would argue this is the hardest obstacle on this side of the saddle. The jury is still out on that as well. Photo by Anne Fai.

Dirty Slide

Dirty Slide

All the hard parts were behind us now as we just had to climb up to the 2,740′ summit of Kahuauli.

KSRT

KSRT

No stops at the overgrown summit of Bowman or the flat and open 2,760′ summit of Tripler before running across the defunct radar tower.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

We topped out at Pu’u Keahi a Kahoe before traversing the short muddy trail to heaven, which was lacking the usual live souls. Photo by Anne Fai.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

The skies soon cleared and we were treated to heavenly views at the 2,480′ summit. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Thanks to Allison and Laredo for stashing water and snacks for us. The rats had helped themselves to some of the tasty vittles. More for them, less for us.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Coming down the dilapidated stairs that time forgot.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Making our way down what some would argue is the more eroded of the three main saddles. The jury’s still out on that one too. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Anne spotting Tessa as she climbed down the crumbly and steep section.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Hugging the rocks as we climbed down, some more tightly than the others.

Dirt Triangle

Dirt Triangle

Anne contouring her way down the ridge line.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Leaving all the main obstacles behind us. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Tessa coming down one crumbly rock at a time.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Going up and over the last hump for the day. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Kulana'ahane

Camp Kulana’ahane

We reached the summit around 1630, set up camp and watched the setting sun torch the tips of the mountains. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Kulana'ahane

Camp Kulana’ahane

Catching the fiery sunset and making noodles for dinner. Just another day in the mountains.

Camp Kulana'ahane

Camp Kulana’ahane

Going to bed as the city lights in the background provided our night lights. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Kulana'ahane

Camp Kulana’ahane

Day 5 – Wednesday. We cooked our breakfast, broke down camp and pushed off around 0800 on the trail.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Making our way up the relatively easier side of the saddle.

Moanalua Saddle

Moanalua Saddle

Tessa climbing out of the saddle. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

We passed Red Hill Summit and crossed over the H3 as it sliced through Halawa Valley below us. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Going down the rusted stairs that took us to hell. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Following the broken stairs to hell as we got a slice of heavenly views on our way. It was a good contrast. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Stairway to Hell

Stairway to Hell

Group view at the more scenic stairway. No arguments. Hands down.

KSRT

KSRT

Climbing our way out of hell.

KSRT

KSRT

Dropping down and contouring our way around the fenced plant enclosure. I still have yet to see the protected plants.

KSRT

KSRT

Looking into the wind blasted and cloud tinted valley views. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Getting back on the ridge line. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Anne reaching the 2,805′ summit at high noon with surprisingly clear views. Despite having more than enough time on our hands, we called it a day. It would turn out to be good timing in the end.

Camp Aiea

Camp Aiea

Set up camp and picked up our supplies that Aida, Ed, Sally and Somphet had brought up earlier in the week. Much appreciation for the assistance guys.

Camp Aiea

Camp Aiea

We had a lot of time on our hands and feet due to our early arrival. Who brought the playing cards? Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Day 6 – Thursday. We broke down camp and with our packs a little heavier, hit the trail at a little past 0700.

KSRT

KSRT

Putting our heads down as we started the major cardio section of the Ko’olau Mountains. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Hills after hills. Our mountain workout.

Waimalu Summit

Waimalu Summit

We paused to take our group photo on the flat grassy plateau that was largely devoid of trees, just a lot of wind.

Waimalu Meadows

Waimalu Meadows

Going down the spongy spur ridge as we dropped below the cloud cover.

Waimalu Meadows

Waimalu Meadows

The largest grassy meadows on the Ko’olau Range. Often called mythical and magical. Both doesn’t do it justice.

Waimalu Meadows

Waimalu Meadows

Looking at the windswept meadows with the palm trees tucked into its nooks and crannies.

Waimalu Meadows

Waimalu Meadows

Anne getting back on the ridge line.

Waimalu Meadows

Waimalu Meadows

One last look before the clouds swallowed her back up.

KSRT

KSRT

The clouds came back to keep us cool and under cover.

KSRT

KSRT

Descending down into the saddle to meet a familiar face and a frozen coke.

Waimano Summit

Waimano Summit

Group photo at the 2,160′ summit that looks into Waihe’e Valley. Art had hiked up to meet us and join our hike to the end. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle on his way up and had to turn around. We made the best of the situation and cannabalized his supplies. Including a can of spam. Something that yawyaw #1 would regret.

KSRT

KSRT

Slow scramble out of the saddle. It’s hard to get back in the groove when you’ve been sitting in one spot too long.

KSRT

KSRT

We passed the landmark landslide as we continued our traverse on the ridge line.

KSRT

KSRT

Looking back at the clouds streaming over the mountains from Windward to Leeward.

KSRT

KSRT

Tessa walking on the fence for a change.

KSRT

KSRT

Following the sometimes confusing spur ridge to the meadows. Photo by Anne Fai.

Eleao Meadows

Eleao Meadows

Anne passing the red haired stepchild of Waimalu Meadows at the 2,654′ top.

Camp Manana

Camp Manana

Having dinner at the typical socked in summit. We just had to look at each other for the views.

Camp Manana

Camp Manana

It was a tight fit, but we shoehorned our three tents onto the 2,660′ knob. One was more sheltered than the others. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Day 7 – Friday. We woke up with no centipede surprises, ate breakfast, broke down camp and hit the now clear trail around 0745.

KSRT

KSRT

Passing by the distinctive moss encrused ohia tree. Photo by Anne Fai.

KSRT

KSRT

Coming down the tricky turn. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

The Corner

The Corner

Descending down into the land of creek and clouds. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

The Corner

The Corner

Brushing our teeth and filtering water for our hydration needs. Water was for the most part clear and while not running, was not exactly stagnant. Good enough for our purposes.

KSRT

KSRT

Anne ducking under the moss encrusted tree tunnel. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KSRT

KSRT

Walking into a postcard. The views on this side are just too pretty for words and not enough justice for pictures.

KSRT

KSRT

Approaching the gap.

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

Losing elevation, that we will soon have to gain back. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

Anne found a hat to keep the glove company. Photo by Anne Fai.

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

Dropping down the grassy and spongy flank of the ridge that was dotted with native palm trees.

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

What? We not stopping here! Get bees flying all over the place!

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

Let’s make like a bee and buzz off!

Waiawa Gap

Waiawa Gap

Climbing our way out of the gap.

KSRT

KSRT

Choosy moms choose Jif. Nom nom, mama make me mama saimin. Dumpster diving for “rubbish rice.”

KSRT

KSRT

Sweeping panoramic valley and ridge views.

KSRT

KSRT

Passing a distant cousin of Waimalu Meadows.

KSRT

KSRT

We soon caught the only rain showers on our entire hike through the mountains. Thankfully Mother Nature kept it a short visit at 30 minutes.

Kipapa Summit

Kipapa Summit

No flying geese were spotted at the 2,786′ socked in summit. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Anne coming down the hill.

KST

KST

Walking across the ridgeline against the backdrop of Waiahole, Waikane and Kahana valleys. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Rusty

Camp Rusty

Dropping down into the former site of the Kipapa Cabin, now our campsite for the night.

Camp Rusty

Camp Rusty

Good night and don’t let the rusty metal bite. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Camp Rusty

Camp Rusty

Day 8 – Saturday. Leaving our last camp site that we would need to use a tent. Looking forward to communal living in the cabins. I also woke up to a swollen left hand, guess the bees wanted to make it a complete pair.

Waiahole

Waiahole

Walking through a mixture of ferns and clidemia undergrowth that was shaded by the stand of sugi pine trees.

KST

KST

Standing on the notch with the Waianae Mountain Range in the background. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Selfie Stick Junction

Selfie Stick Junction

It works better with a phone. Just saying.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Approaching the back of the meadows that are home to horizontal and vertical sugi pine trees.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Taking photographic advantage of the uncommonly clear meadows.

KST

KST

Pulling our way up the ridge line. And then there was the disagreement on where to get off to get back on the trail. Let’s take the hard way.

KST

KST

Holding hands and singing kumbaya on the trail. Just don’t let go.

KST

KST

Views of Kahana Valley.

KST

KST

Views of a dirty hiker. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Crossing the well-trodden landslide.

KST

KST

Traversing what is arguably the most scenic stretch of the KST. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Waikane-Waiahole Junction

Waikane-Waiahole Junction

The easily missed metal stake that marks the junction.

KST

KST

Making our way on the ridge line.

Schofield-Waikane Junction

Schofield-Waikane Junction

Lunch break at the original terminus of the KST.

Do not feed the animals

Do not feed the animals

Rare sighting of the Ko’olau goose and common sighting of the fence line.

KST

KST

Enjoying a relatively wide section of the trail.

Pauao Junction

Pauao Junction

No views of Kahana and Punaluu valleys for us today.

Happy dance

Happy dance

The gate. The gate. We’re home!

KST

KST

No dancing. Just take our picture. Photo by Anne Fai.

KST

KST

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) used dynamite to carve these trails from the steep cliffs back in the 1930s. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Poamoho Cabin

Poamoho Cabin

We got to the cabin around 1415 and the party of Analyn, Bill and Shirley arrived shortly after using two legged drive to come up the five mile road.

Log entry

Log entry

Leaving our comments in the storied cabin books.

Poamoho Cabin

Poamoho Cabin

Girls just want to have fun.

Poamoho Cabin

Poamoho Cabin

Somebody was smacking their lips over Foodland’s salt’n’vinegar chicken wings. Served up with surprisingly tasty instant mashed potatoes with gravy. Somebody needs to learn to drink in moderation.

Camp Poamoho

Camp Poamoho

Hear that? Count your lucky stars that you can’t. Somebody was snoring so loud they would have put a drunken sailor to shame. Even hearing the rats fight outside was infinitely more preferable.

Poamoho Cabin

Poamoho Cabin

Day 9 – Sunday. We cleaned up the cabin, harvested some taro and headed out at a little past 0800.

Poamoho Cabin

Poamoho Cabin

The vegetable farmer showing how she carries her heavy load. That’s using your head. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Anne following the fence to the summit.

Poamoho Summit

Poamoho Summit

It’s hard to believe, but back in 1941, the US Army proposed paving the entire trail to the summit. Luckily it never materialized as the summit would have been overrun with people crowding one of the best scenic spots on the island. Too late. You should be here!

KST

KST

We said goodbye to our friends as they went back down the Poamoho trail, as we continued on the Ko’olau Summit Trail.

KST

KST

Coming up the trail to the fence. Go right to stay on trail. Go left to explore. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Meandering through the mountains with majestic views all around us. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

No, I don’t want to shake your hand. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Sometimes it feels like we are cattle being fenced in the pastures.

Boot Junction

Boot Junction

Kicking it up.

KST

KST

We crossed the spongy meadow to reconnect to the fence on the other side.

KST

KST

Climbing down the ravine that spills out into a waterfall.

KST

KST

Mud. Our constant cloying companion on the Northern KST.

KST Junction

KST Junction

Going down the rabbit hole. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

If I push this one, my f*cking feet go inside too! My knee. My ankle. Kenji, I’m really stuck! I no more energy. Wait, my shoe is right there! I need to take off my bag. The running commentary was hilarious.

Papali Junction

Papali Junction

Taking a well deserved break after almost a half hour of sole sucking mud.

KST

KST

Back on the trail.

KST

KST

When the overgrowth almost swallows you on the trail.

KST

KST

Showing off our mud dipped shoes. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Sitting on the scenic rock. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Life Alert

Life Alert

My back sore. My knees sore. How am I going to answer nature’s calls?

KST

KST

Tessa climbing out of the hole that signaled we were close to the cabin.

KST

KST

The fence. The fence. We’re home!

Koloa Cabin

Koloa Cabin

We arrived at the open cabin around 1530 and cooked up chicken gumbo and mashed potatoes for our dinner. Somebody spilled the gravy.

Log entry

Log entry

Same message, different cabin. We went too sleep early again or tried too as some of us didn’t have earplugs.

Koloa Cabin

Koloa Cabin

Day 10 – Monday. Waking up to our last day in the mountains. We made a big bowl of combined saimin, cleaned the cabin and left around 0800.

KST

KST

Tessa swinging over the fence line go get back on the muddy trail.

Koloa Cabin Mud Run

Koloa Cabin Mud Run

I think I was the only participant in the mud race. I guess I won. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Walking on the uluhe carpeted trail.

KST

KST

Leaving the fence behind and something else. What could it be? Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Lost & Found

Lost & Found

Anne realized she had left her phone somewhere back on the trail, so she backtracked a bit and luckily found it.

KST

KST

Crossing the bowl shaped depression to regain the ridge line.

KST

KST

Following the trail as it wound its way through the mountains. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Laie Summit

Laie Summit

Looking for views from the 2,240′ foxhole.

KST

KST

We resumed our hike on the most overgrown section of the KST.

KST

KST

The overgrowth was only up to our knees at the start. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

Traversing the countless switchbacks through the mountains.

Malaekahana Junction

Malaekahana Junction

Somebody almost missed the junction. Need to slow down and smell the glove. Photo by Tessa Bugay

KST

KST

Looking at the windmills pinwheeling in the distance.

KST

KST

Halfway there! Time for lunch. Photo by Tessa Bugay

KST

KST

You want some of mama’s saimin?

KST

KST

Plunging back into the overgrowth that was a mixture of uluhe ferns, strawberry guava trees and other plants that constantly tried to keep us at bay.

KST

KST

Breaking out into the much needed fresh air.

KST

KST

Are we there yet?

NSFW

NSFW

I needed to go potty, but since the girls surged ahead with the wipes, I had to use my potty mouth instead. Diarrhea of the mouth.

Pu'u Hina

Pu’u Hina

Finally empty and relieved, it was all smiles at the 1,896′ summit. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

KST

KST

The girls coming down the summit. Almost home.

Black Junction

Black Junction

A big thanks to Janell and Quan for meeting us with celebratory drinks that came in different flavors.

Black Junction

Black Junction

Our journey across the Ko’olau Mountain Range had come to its conclusion. Thanks again to Team KAT and our friends that supported us on our hike, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Black Junction

Black Junction

Trying to douse ourselves and each other with champagne was harder than it looked.

Black Junction

Black Junction

We collected our liquid leftovers and took a final group photo before heading down. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Pupukea

Pupukea

Taking the trail back to civilization.

Pupukea

Pupukea

Making our way down the graded footpath that was strewn with fallen tree branches of assorted sizes.

Paalaa Uka Pupukea Road

Paalaa Uka Pupukea Road

Somebody just couldn’t wait to get out of their hiking shoes as we also crossed paths with a lot of mountain bikers.

All pau

All pau

Thanks to Katie and Richard for picking up three ripe hikers and two hitchhikers up, if somebody could just figure out how to open the doors and also to Dale that looked out for any furry rodents so that we wouldn’t get bitten.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our hike across the entire Ko’olau Mountain Range covered the distance of two marathons, a little over 52 miles. It was quite the mountain marathon. Priceless memories with good friends.

Post hike meal

Post hike meal

Agnes, Aida, Art, Bill, Chris, Dale, Janell, Jenn, Katie, Lilyn, Quan, Richard and family and Shirley joined us at Haleiwa Joe’s, the one in Haleiwa and not Kaneohe, for our first civilized meal in 10 days. Thanks to Jenn for the fragrant leis that worked hard to mask our pungent odors and to Lilyn for our one shot patron for the one shot hike.

Post hike meal

Post hike meal

Mahalo to Dale, Quan and the waitress for our hefty cut of cow dinners. Thanks again to our friends for coming out and their support! It was quite the adventure and experience.

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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Aida Gordon October 10, 2020 at 12:48 am

That was quite an adventure and deserved an epic write-up!.No wonder it took you so long to complete! Lol. Great pics but ny fave was of you and yawyaw 1 on Ka’au Crater rim. Congratulations again to the three of you. That wasn’t an easy feat. And luckily for you, you got some supportive friends to look out for you! Jk shaka.

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kenji SAITO October 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Aloha Aida,
Yes it was quite the hike to experience. Thank again for all your support.
Mahalo

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anne fai October 10, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Worth the time to read. Some comments are so hilarious.Laghing the whole time i was reading it. Thank you kenji for this awesome documenting. I will treasure all the moments I journeyed with u and tessa the entire kst. #teamKAT. Much Mahalo!
More great documentaries in the future!

Reply

kenji SAITO October 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Aloha Anne,
Glad you enjoyed the post. You supplied the material, I just had to put it on paper so to speak. Yes, to more great adventures!
Mahalo

Reply

Wahinee01 October 10, 2020 at 7:47 pm

Awww, I would do it over again w/ these peeps. Go team KAT!! Love our journey 3gether. Great hilarious captions on most of them.. lol THANK YOU so much for taking your time documenting this KST journey.
Awe inspiring and unforgettable views all the way through!

Reply

kenji SAITO October 11, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Aloha Tessa,
Yes that was quite the experience that we all shared. Yup, thanks again for being part of the team!
Mahalo

Reply

Ferlino Carinio October 15, 2020 at 12:17 am

This is so awesome! Congratulations! I wish I was there even for a moment. I’m so proud and so happy to see the comradery and great support of friends. That’s Family – Ohana – Kapamilya. I really enjoyed the comments and having great laughs at times.

Reply

kenji SAITO October 15, 2020 at 7:49 am

Aloha Ferlino,
Thanks and glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, it was a great experience with friends. There’s always adventures in the future.
Mahalo

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