Friday, January 8, 2010

Wa'ahila Ridge (Mt Olympus)

From Hawaiian BU

Aloha and welcome to 2010! After a looooong break, the Bu brothers got back into the swing of Hiking with a nice little jaunt along the ridge behind Manoa Valley. It has been quite a while since our last adventure, and our conditioning (meaning my conditioning) was not in the best of shape. So this relatively short hike actually became a good test of will for me and Dawn, who decided to join us for our first hike of the year. Chinese BU was bugging out, ready to hike, but he was not 100 % either: something was wrong with his thumb, and he really couldn't hold any ropes that well. I did this hike many eons ago with my family, so it took long time to remember that there really wasn't that many ropes that I could remember.

To get there, travel all the way up St Louis Hts until you get to the park filled with Pine Trees. On this Sunday, the parking lot was PACKED! There must have been at least 50 to 60 people on the hike, which proved to be true. After hesitating for a few minutes, we decided to pursue the trail. I'll be honest when I tell you that the first hill almost made me want to turn back and try something else. But Chinese BU was already too far along up the trail, so Dawn and I trudged along behind him.

Wa'ahila Ridge crawls its way between Manoa on the left, and Palolo on the right. There are many places along the trail where you can easily view either valley. Although it was slightly cloudy, you still had fabulous views of the major parks in both areas, and the various activities held therein. For the townie children out there, this is a nice slice of nature located within arms reach without feeling like you're in the "boonines".

The ridge is also a very fun roller-coaster, with lots of ups and downs. It's not as drastic as Makapu'u Tom-Tom, but it can be testy trying to get a view of the final destination. And yes, there were a lot of people on the trail. In fact, there was this Korean Alpine Hiking Group along the trail, dressed in red shirts and tugging young kids along. Their group alone must have numbered near 40. Most of the ladies were picking every strawberry guava in site and storing them in plastic bags. Many of the hikers demonstrated aloha for each other, and it was good to encounter people that were passionate about hiking.

If you follow the directions of the Ball book, you end up at a glorious overlook of Manoa Valley. Mount Olympus sits in a straight line with the Manoa Chinese Cemetery and Punahou School, evenly dividing Manoa into two parts. History tells us that the Ewa side of the valley belonged to the Alii, while the Diamond Head side belonged to the Maka'ainana, or Common people. Looking from the top, you can tell why the land was so coveted and many stories in Hawaiian Mythology exist about Manoa Valley.

You can follow the rest of the trail to the Koolau Mountain Range and head up to Konahuanui on a clear day. It was obvious that we weren't going to make that attempt, but it's still on the radar. I felt good that we went on this relatively short hike, and one short piece of advice I learned: don't take too long of a break before going on your next hike! have fun and catch you soon!

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