Mount Ka’ala to Kamaohunui Ridge to Waialua

by kenji SAITO on October 24, 2015

Hiking Mount Ka'ala to Kamaohunui Ridge to Waialua

Jon Medrano had sent me a link to this video, which was the inspiration for today’s hike. Met up with Chris B, Chris C, Jon, Matt and Rebecca deep in Waianae Valley.

Trailhead

Trailhead

It was still dark as we pushed off the much hated road that leads to the Waianae Ka’ala trail trailhead. Copper thieves must have struck in the area, as illumination was noticeably absent. Save for the twinkling stars.

Mothman prophecies

Mothman prophecies

Giant spider webs and moths were our only company on the trail. No sign of Richard Gere.

Purple Trail

Purple Trail

We followed the trail that were profusely marked with purple caps and ribbons.

Three Poles

Three Poles

The group taking a break at the 2,720′ junction. What’s for breakfast?

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead

Halfway there. Just warming up.

Boulder climbing

Boulder climbing

The crew making their way over the two boulder sections.

Kaala Natural Area Reserve

Kaala Natural Area Reserve

Group photo at the highest mountain on the island, left to right: myself, Rebecca, Matt, Jon, Chris C and Chris B. Photo by Chris Chun.

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Rebecca making her way though the ancient Hawaiian forest ecosystem, home to many rare endemic fauna and flora.

Water sample

Water sample

Matt collecting water to test for future hikes. Then an Australian accent chimed in “I don’t understand you Americans, we just drank straight out of the stream back home. What’s the big fuss?”

Bog

Bog

The crew exiting the 1,100 acre cloud forest.

Open house

Open house

Free cookies and a ride down. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Follow the fence

Follow the fence

We skirted the fenced installation and began to make our way down the ridge.

FAA tracking station

FAA tracking station

Leaving Mount Ka’ala. The clouds would soon follow us down the ridge, much to our dismay.

Kamaohunui ridge

Kamaohunui ridge

The long ridge down. We just didn’t know it yet.

Coming down

Coming down

The trail up to this point was still somewhat passable with little effort. That was about to change.

Central view

Central view

Looking out towards Schofield Barracks.

Bushwhacking

Bushwhacking

The trail quickly disappeared into a dense tangle of blackberry thorns and uluhe ferns. Rebecca soon parted ways with us and returned back down Ka’ala.

Evelyn

Evelyn

Looking down in the valley, we clearly saw the wrecked remains of a B-24 bomber that crashed in the forest shortly after takeoff in 1945 from Wheeler Airfield. Another hike for another day.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Looking back

Looking back

Chris chatting with a neighbor on the other side of the fence. Is the grass greener?

Fence trail

Fence trail

Typical ridge hiking. Multiple short ups and downs.

Halo rainbow

Halo rainbow

We saw this fleeting rainbow down in the valley.

Fenced trail

Fenced trail

The metal eyesore extended as far as the eye could see, or more accurately as far as the clouds would let us see.

Break spot

Break spot

Group photo. Where’s the view? Photo by Chris Bautista.

GPS huddle

GPS huddle

Let’s see. That tree looks familiar. Let’s not follow those blue ribbons. Hmmm, we seem to be on the right track.

Webbing trail

Webbing trail

The fence was gone for now. Webbing took its place. As we dropped in elevation, we left behind the clouds and began to see what was around us.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Waialua Whiskey

Waialua Whiskey

We climbing that?

Bark worse than the bite

Bark worse than the bite

Easy peasy. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Looking back

Looking back

Matt popping the pimple.

Contour

Contour

Chris contouring the ridge on the Windward side.

Ridge

Ridge

Hiking on top the ridge.

Looking back

Looking back

Jon making his way down the ridge.

Ridge

Ridge

The ridge rose and fall with multiple false summits to mark each passing.

Saddle

Saddle

Are those metal poles staked on the ridge?

Looking back

Looking back

The crew climbing out of the saddle. Photo by Chris Bautista.

Ridge

Ridge

Are we there yet?

Erosion

Erosion

Chris C and Matt making their way over a eroded section of the ridge. Where’s that fence when you need it?

Helipad

Helipad

We waited for the chopper to fly in our prime rib and clam chowder. In vain. Photo by Chris Bautista

Pu'u Pane?

Pu’u Pane?

Chris B and Chris C approaching a summit we thought was Pu’u Pane. Thought.

Junction

Junction

Jon climbing over the fence to begin our descent down the spur ridge.

Climb

Climb

Rock climbing galore ahead.

North Shore

North Shore

Looking out towards the sugar town of Waialua and the tourist town of Haleiwa.

Hiker's pole

Hiker’s pole

Chris C responding to a milk shortage. Watch out for the bark shavings!

Tricky crack

Tricky crack

Chris B about to make his way down.

Blue webbing

Blue webbing

Rated to 4,000 pounds. Should be enough. Wait, how much do you weigh again? Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Love rock

Love rock

Chris C hugging the rock as he makes his way down.

Rocky ridge

Rocky ridge

The crew between moments of concentration and relaxation as they made their way down.

Looking back

Looking back

That was a fun ridge. Not finished yet.

Cliff

Cliff

Chris C and Matt coming down a steep section.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Twilight

Twilight

The setting sun reflected off the shimmering windmills in the distance.

Wild West

Wild West

We soon got off the ridge to be met by blocking tree lines and head high California grass. Bushwhacking. Night bushwhacking. Complete with wild life.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Eventually we bushwhacked our way to the stream, which offered a respite from the suffocating overgrowth. Photo by Chris Chun

Kaukonahua Stream

Kaukonahua Stream

Our last obstacle was a fast flowing stream that fluctuated from knee to waist high depth. Photo by Matt Vidaurri

All pau

All pau

After our white water stream crossing, we walked out through the gated housing area and made our way to Matt’s staged truck.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our West side hike to North shore hike covered 10.22 miles through rugged terrain and beautiful scenery. Epic hike with a great crew. Post hike meal at Zippy’s. Missing my prime rib and clam chowder.

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