Okolehao Trail to Pu’u Hihimanu

by kenji SAITO on October 7, 2018

Hiking Okolehao Trail to Pu'u Hihimanu

Our second and last day on the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain was spent on an exhausting hike with zero views at the top. Hey, it’s the journey and not necessarily always the destination that counts. Keep repeating until it becomes believable.

Kapaa

Kapaa

We couldn’t leave the hotel grounds without another photo shoot that lasted so long that the chickens stopped crowing. Then we helped ourselves to the hotel’s complimentary breakfast as did the feral chickens (unofficial state birds), before checking out and driving towards Hanalei.

Trailhead

Trailhead

Starting out nice and dry as we parked near the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Survey says … it’s in the mail.

Chicken skin

Chicken skin

Trudging up the slippery and steep road matted with wire mesh for traction.

Pine trees

Pine trees

Christmas came early on the trail. Now if she would only take away the stickiness in the air. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Good morning

Good morning

Kept on asking the returning hikers if they went to the summit. The constant reply was no summit, just the lookout.

What you talking 'bout Willis?

What you talking ’bout Willis?

This must have been the steep part with the rope that the hikers had mentioned. Still looking.

Lookout

Lookout

Group photo of Hanalei Bay at the 1,250′ plateau, left to right: Analyn, myself and Ferlino.

Onward

Onward

Plunging into the dry grasslands that were overshadowed by the hanging saw like leaves of the hala tree. An elderly couple had announced their intentions to summit as well at the lookout. Great! Company.

Uluhell

Uluhell

Swimming through the staghorn ferns, where we met other returning hikers whose rejoinder to my summit question was a constant “nope, steep and slippery.” Should have taken the hint.

1.75 mile marker

1.75 mile marker

Does this mean we are halfway there? Or as the other hikers had mentioned, when we saw this marker, we were on the right trail?

False summits

False summits

Looking ahead to the false peaks and hanging clouds.

Trail

Trail

The trail was a particularly brutal rollercoaster of a hike, made even more punishing by the dripping humidity.

Trail

Trail

We soon started seeing vintage ropes on the subjectively steep sections of the trail.

Trail

Trail

The pitch became steeper as the overgrowth obscured the trail.

Hobbit hole

Hobbit hole

Ducking and crawling underneath one of several gnarled and twisted tree trunks that reduced the vertical clearance on the trail.

Trail

Trail

Squeezing ourselves in between stands of trees.

Trail

Trail

Climbing up a particularly steep section of the trail.

Trail

Trail

Trying to pull up my jacket zipper and smile for the camera at our first false summit. Don’t ask me to chew gum and fart at the same time either. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Trail

Trail

What happened to our company? Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Pu'u Hihimanu

Pu’u Hihimanu

Bumping fists together at the rainy and socked in 2,313′ summit. All that was missing was a scratchy rendition of Kumbaya. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Pu'u Hihimanu

Pu’u Hihimanu

Ferlino climbed to the top of the tree to catch a view. Nope. Nothing to see here, climb back down and see the view of the prayer flags. Pray for views. Not working. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Trail

Trail

Leaving the soaked summit behind us.

Trail

Trail

Heading down the fern lined trail.

Trail

Trail

A higher vantage view point of Hanalei Bay.

Trail

Trail

Ferlino going down one of the steeper sections. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Trail

Trail

Looking out towards Moloaa Forest Reserve. I think.

Lookout

Lookout

Some of us warmed the benches, while others wanted to hit the trail and be done with this hike.

All pau

All pau

We finished our 5.7 mile hike wet and muddy at the trail named after Hawaiian moonshine that was made from the abundant ti plants in the area. That moonshine would have been nice today to keep us warm on the trail coming back down.

Wash day

Wash day

Bringing back memories for some of us.

Nene

Nene

Passing the official state birds on our way out.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Watching an impressive waterfall cascading down the mountain at our post hike meal at the Dolphin, where we added color to the dining atmosphere. Somebody didn’t get their vegetables and he was not a happy hiker. Another weekend well spent with good friends. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

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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