Monday, July 24, 2017

Hapapa to Kanehoa (almost)

June 11, 2017

Today's original plan was to go tubing as it rained all of yesterday (Saturday) and the forecast called for more of the same today.  So, with our tubes packed and everything waterproofed, our crew was set for some epic tubing in Wahiawa Hills.  However, when I woke up at 5:30 am to check the stream gauge, it was with great disappointment that I had to text the crew that tubing was a no-go.  :(  Bummed as heck, I went back to sleep, waiting for someone to suggest a backup hike.  Finally, around 7:30 am, we decided to try Hapapa to Kanehoa, since Schofield opened up Kolekole Pass.

We decided to meet at my house at 8:15 am and carpool to schofield.  Once everyone arrived, we booked it over to Schofield Barracks and arrived at the trailhead by 8:45.  In less than 10 minutes, we were geared up and ready to hit the trail.

Within 10 minutes, we reached the Hapapa meadow that overlooked the beautiful Lualualei Valley.

After a few photos, we pressed onward, picking up the start of the Honouliuli Contour Trail (HCT), and the ridge leading up to the summit.  Once we found it, I my heart sank.  It was so steep, I wanted to cry.

Nonetheless, we pushed on until we finally reached the summit line.  When we topped out, we found ourselves faced with our first obstacle: the notch #1.  It was "serious" time!

Steeling up our nerves, we descended the first notch and carefully made our way up the other side.  When we topped out the view was spectacular!

We caught our breath and gathered ourselves as notch #2, the more technical of the 2 notches, lay just ahead.  In less than 10 minutes from the first notch, we encountered the 2nd notch and it was down to business again as a fall here would be fatal.

Once we got everyone safely atop the notch, we booked it up the rest of the ridge, making it to the summit of Hapapa in just over an hour.

The summit view from Hapapa was pretty spectacular.

We took a break and enjoyed the beautiful views.  Everyone took turns taking pix with the views, but Troy & Michelle stole the show with their pose:

After our photo shoot ended, we gathered our gear and readied ourselves for what lay ahead.  Gazing ahead towards Kanehoa, we mapped our route along the Waianae Summit Trail (WST) and determined where we needed to get to: the pointy triangular peak to the left of Pu'u Kaua (the prominent peak in the center of the pic below).

The trek towards Kanehoa was a lot more overgrown that we anticipated.  However, we followed the fence line, in what turned out to be a wildly scratchy and exhausting trek towards Kanehoa.

In a little under 2 hours, Troy, Bernice and I (Aprille & Michelle decided to wait in a nice clearing to rest) reached the "pimple", the peak that was 2 peaks away from the peak we were trying to get to.  lol.  When we reached the pimple, I was like, "What the hell?!!!"  It was so overgrown and steep, I began looking around for an elevator!

After almost cramping every muscle in my body, we topped out on the pimple and what lay ahead almost made me crap my pants!  First, we were still MILES from Kanehoa and lying right before us was a rocky crag that brought back images of Pohakea Pass!

Since our turnaround time was upon us, we reluctantly snapped a few pix and turned around and heading back to where Michelle and Aprille were waiting for us.  Joining back up with the 2 ladies, the 5 of us sped back toward the notches as the skies threatened rain.  We wouldn't want to down climb the notches when they're wet, so we wasted no time in getting out.  Once we successfully passed the notches, we returned to the meadow for a group photo, then headed back to our car.

We ended our day at our favorite Wahiawa eatery: Dong Yang Inn.  Another epic day in the mountains with my favorite hiking crew: OAG!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Maui: Iao & Road to Hana Waterfalls

May 20, 2017

Erik and I were able to take a trip to Maui to attend a graduation party.  We decided to take advantage of our island trip and explore the road to Hana.  We arrived a day early and flew in the first flight to start the road trip.  However, we decided to just explore Iao Valley since we ended up getting a late start. 

I met up with my cousins and we parked past the Hawaii nature center.  Turns out the Iao valley state park was closed (even when we asked some workers at the airport if Iao was open and they said yes).  However, with some help, we managed to do a short hike along the stream and eventually found ourselves at the Iao lookout spot.  It took us about 20 minutes to get there.  My cousins and I probably got an impression on how much Erik and I love nature.  They were in nice clothes while they tagged along with us to go along the stream.  I felt bad for them since they were waiting around as we setup and took some silk photography.  Hehe.

Here's where we ended up before we turned around.

May 21, 2017

This day was another early bird starter.  We were able to convince my cousin and brother to join us on the long drive.  We left Kahului Walmart around 7:00ish after grabbing some ice, drinks, and breakfast before heading to Hana.  I drove first since I tend to get car sick.  A little after Kaupakaula Road officially started the Road to Hana mileage.  I made sure to press the reset trip odometer button to keep track of all the waterfalls that are at a certain mile marker.

Surprisingly, I guess I was driving so quick that we missed mile marker #2: Twin falls.  I was expecting Twin falls to be located at a bend in the road, and instead it was on a straightaway.  We noticed a bunch of cars parked on the right side with the food trucks and I realized I just missed it.  So we turned around and parked where the cars were.  It was a very short trek maybe not even 5 minutes to reach the first set of falls.  Erik and I setup our tripods and captured long exposure shots with the Lee filters.  They were two falls next to each other, short and wide.  It kind of reminded me of Na Ohia falls but thicker.  We didn't go to the waterfall in the back that people usually swim in since we were on a time constraint.  We had to make sure to be back in Kahului by 3pm.

Our next stop was Ching falls at mile marker 16.8.  Surely, this one was on the inside of a side valley.  We also missed it since there weren't any cars parked along the road.  However, when driving on the bridge, I was able to see a glimpse of the waterfalls below us so we turned around and parked along the side of the road.  At first, we went into the valley thinking the trail was there to the lower falls, and instead we found the stream which gave a small waterfall.  Erik was able to find the trailhead to the lower falls which we had to cross the street to get to.  It took about less than 5 minutes to get to the bottom.  Ching's pond is pretty huge to swim and jump in.  It started to drizzle, so we just took a few pictures and rushed ourselves back to our car.

After mile marker 19, we definitely did not miss Upper Waikani falls, also known as 3 Bears Falls.  This was my highlight of the trip.  3 tall and full gorgeous!! Erik and I was able to find the trail head and it took us less than 10 minutes to reach the bottom of the falls.  I climbed up some rocks to get a cool angle, while Erik was at the bottom on the right side of the falls.  We stayed at the base of the falls for about 25 minutes.  I kept gawking at this beautiful waterfall(s).

When walking back to our car, two big lifted Tacoma trucks honked at us and it was my cousins who lived on Maui that caught up to us on the road.  We were able to just follow each other along the rest of the drive.  We stopped by Pu'a Ka'a falls, where the parking lot had a public bathroom and across the street was what looked like a state built waterfall park.  I went closer to the falls and one of my cousins and his friends went above the waterfall to dive in the nice cool pool.   We took some group pictures and we then went back to our cars.

Before reaching Hanawi falls, we drove past two waterfalls at the valley bends.  Erik and I made sure when driving back that we explore those.  Hanawi falls was an obvious waterfall that can be seen when driving along the highway, just like 3 Bears falls.  We stopped there and Erik and I went down to shoot.  There were three waterfalls that can be seen when standing at the bridge.  I didn't care for the left waterfall and instead shot the two right ones with a dam below it.  It was already 11:00am, and we established that our turn around point was at 1:30pm. 

At 11:30 we reached Wainapanapa beach park at mile marker #32.  Since Erik and I wanted to checkout the two waterfalls we drove past between mile marker 20-22, we decided to head back.  Just so we can explore the two waterfalls and we also didn't plan to go fully around South east with the car rental.  We didn't get insurance and we heard that part of Piilani highway had rough terrain to drive on.

Erik and I were able to explore Kopiliula falls, which Baron mentioned for us to make sure to see if we had time.  It was along the valley bend and there was a small shack that had the graffiti of "You are beautiful".  There was also a dam like waterfall on the left.  Erik and I hiked in for about 15 minutes to reach the waterfalls in the back.  It was very beautiful, the stream had at least 4 tiers.  To get to the three tiers, we had to boulder a little to get to it.  We spent a lot of time taking silk shots of the falls and then hurried ourselves to get to the car so my cousin and brother didn't need to worry about us (they just napped in the car).  We stopped by the dam waterfall and quickly snapped some pictures of it.  Since it was already 1:25pm, we decided that this is the last waterfall to see along Hana highway.

All of us in the car were satisfied with all the waterfalls we've seen and was sure hungry! We stopped by Maui mall to grab some take-out Genki sushi and then head back to my Aunty's place.  We were right on schedule :)

The next time Erik and I go to Hana, we will probably start the drive on the other end of Hana to see Wailua and Sacred pools.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kaua to Pohakea via Honouli'uli

May 13, 2017

One hike that's been on my bucket list since I started hiking back in 2012 was Pu'u Kaua, along the Waianae Summit Range.  Pu'u Kaua is the third highest peak on Oahu at 3,127 ft.  Many of the hiking blogs I followed boasted of Kaua's panoramic 360 degree view.  For 5 years, I couldn't figure out how to get there without trespassing.  However, recently, a good friend obtained permission to access Kaua's trailhead and invited me on this hike.  Of course, I couldn't resist.

Joining me on today's hike was Baron, Marilou, Aprille, and Ani.  I picked up Baron, Marilou, and Ani at Baron's house at 7 am, then headed to Waipahu to pick up Aprille.  We headed to the trailhead, where we began the trek at 7:30 am.  We passed through the gate and proceeded up a ridiculously steep dirt road.  What a way to start the day!   But within 15 min, we finally arrived at the Honouli'uli Contour Trail (HCT).

However, being that the HCT hasn't been maintained for many years, I think it would suffice to say it was overgrown!  The picture below is the OPEN part of the trail.  LOL.

After a solid 2 hours of bushwhacking, we finally arrived at an enormous boulder near an open area along the HCT.

Finally, after 3 hours of bushwhacking through California grass and finding the trail, we reached the base of the ridge heading up to Kaua.  The hike up the ridge was unrelentingly steep, but very beautiful.

Below, Aprille makes the final climb up this steep ass ridge.

4 hours later, we reached the top and were treated to this . . .

We all took a seat in a nice, grassy area and soaked in the 360 degree views!  Kaua was all I dreamed it would be (well, except for the crazy bushwhacking at the bottom).  With a long way ahead of us, Baron suggested we gear up and continue on.   We needed to get all the way to the north side of Pohakea Pass, which is the low point along the ridge in the pic below.

The views all around us were never ending!

In a short bit, we encountered the fence line that DLNR put up to keep wild animals from trampling the native forest or spreading the seeds of invasive plants.

We followed the fence line for what seemed like days.  However, the views kept our minds off the unsightly fence.  A little over an hour later, we arrived at the "fun" portion of today's hike: Baron's 4 obstacles.

Obstacle #1:

Obstacle #2: PC - Marilou

Obstacle #3: PC - Ani

Obstacle #4:

What an adrenaline rush!!  With 40-50 mph winds, it made these obstacles a little tougher, but safety-minded Baron made sure we all got out safely.  A few minutes later, we reached the Pohakea Pass ridge and headed back to the bottom.  Approximately half an hour later, we found ourselves back at the road, heading to our cars.

We ended our day our PHM (Post Hike Meal) at Village Thai in Kunia with some ono food and reminiscing on another epic day in the mountains!

Saturday, May 6, 2017


May 6, 2017

The original plan for today was to finally get my butt to the summit of Ohikilolo, which has eluded me over my last 4 tries.  Today was no different; our connection to park at the trailhead was still recovering from an epic Cinco de Mayo so we diverted to plan B.  Baron recommended another fun hike on the west side: Kawiwi.  So, we hopped back into our cars and headed back to Waianae.

We parked at the trailhead, geared up and quickly made our way, as it was near summer and in Waianae, which meant we were in for a blazer!  With a 6:30 am start, the sun was already peeking over the mountains.  On the positive side, the summit of Kawiwi was crystal clear!!

Today's crew was made up of Baron, James, Marilou, Aprille, Bernice, and me.  About 15 min in, we arrived at a lo'i someone is growing.  Was a pretty sight to see.

After a short break in the cool shade, we began a bushwhacking, ass burning, calf cramping jaunt up the base of Kawiwi.  Definitely, not my favorite part of the hike!  After 20-25 minutes of grueling bushwhacking, we finally got above the bushes and were treated to our first view!

From here, the fun began!  There were . . .

. . . Scrambling sections . . .

. . . Narrow rocky dike sections . . .

. . . Climbing sections . . .

. . . and AMAZING views!!

And we weren't even at the summit yet!  Speaking of the summit, that didn't disappoint either!

Needless to say, after a little over 4 hours of hiking, we sat down and enjoyed a well-deserved break and re-energized with some snacks.  However, we still had a long way to go and a lot of fun still up ahead.  Maybe 10-15 minutes from the summit, the fun began.

We snapped billions of photos at all the eye-candy surrounding us!  Not much farther ahead, lay the signature spot of the crossover: the Broken Teeth.  This section required some serious focus as there are drops of hundreds of feet on both sides as we made our way across these smooth, but crooked boulders.

Along the crossover, we spotted a bunch of blooming Silk Oak flowers.  Although not native, they produce a unique floral pattern that's still beautiful to behold.

Just about 7 hours into our hike, we finally arrived at the summit of No Name Peak.

From here, the rest was downhill.

PC: Bernice

In about 20 minutes, we reached Tiki Ridge and began our descent back into Waianae Valley.  After the final obstacle, the remainder of the hike was just a knee pounding trek back to the bottom of the mountain.

About 2 hours later, we finally made our way back to our cars.  With our adrenaline fading, energy gone, and stomachs growling, we made our way to one of the best parts of any hike: the PHM (Post Hike Meal).  Today's PHM was at Shakey's in Waipahu for some delicious pizza, chicken strips, potato wedges, and awesome company!!

PC: James