Monday, August 16, 2010

Ko'loa Gulch

From Hawaiian BU

Back again with a another adventure in the Oahu forests and mountains. After Konahuanui, sister Dawn, a frequent hiking partner with the BU brothers, asked to go to a waterfall hike. We have done a whole bunch of them around the island, so it didn't take long for me to figure out one that would satisfy Dawn as well one that we had not been to. An earlier adventure in from our blog had us attempting to do Ko'loa Gulch previously, but not completing the journey due to it's close proximity to a certain gulch very nearby that we both have very vivid memories of enduring. However, after Konahuanui, we both seem to be in this mood to try and complete hikes we haven't yet mastered. So Ko'loa it was going to be.

The trailhead is somewhat difficult to locate. It's on a dirt road between PCC (Polynesian Cultural Center) and Kokolio Beach park, opposite of this White Mansion. You know you are on the right track when you see the Ko'loa Gulch Hike sign. Just follow the the path with ribbons and you'll start making your way up the ridge. It's very much like going up to Laie Falls or Malaekahana Falls. Strawberry guavas, Ironwood Trees, windswept views of Laie, and eroded hills decorate the trail as you make your way upward. Eventually, you make your way to a fork on the path. The left one goes up the ridge, the right one leads to the stream and the waterfalls.

Once you have gained the stream, the trail now resembles Ma'akua and Kaipapau, with multiple stream crossings that lead past ginger, guava, mountain apple trees, and lauhala trees. It's a pretty pleasant hike in a nice gulch that is very undisturbed. Of course, you have to remain vigilant for changes in the weather, especially rain, which can fill the gulch quickly, thus chasing you to high ground.

For the hike, we had four people with us: Dawn, Cassidy, Lynette, and Robyn. Chinese BU lead the way, and I brought up the back. I especially like when Cassidy and Dawn hike with us because they take alot of photos. Hopefully, we're able to scavenge some from them to post up here on the site. They had some good stuff. This was Lynette and Robyn's first time with us.

After crossing streams over 30 times, you come to this portion where the gulch splits. Take the right, although I've heard that there is another waterfall to the left with a possible Kalo patch back there?!? (If anyone knows for sure, can you let us know.) After some rock hopping, you end up at this great pool with about an 8 foot cascade that falls through some large pohaku. On the left is some ropes that you can use to climb to the top and see a fantastic waterfall to the right. If you plan to jump, make sure that you investigate the pool to find where rocks are located in the pool before taking the plunge.

I had some fun on this hike! Its fairly long (about 8 miles round trip), but there is a lot to see, and a great reward at the end. I would suggest doing this hike at the end of summer like we did to avoid potential rain hazards. And have people that you like talking story with, so the miles just seem to fly right by. Mahalo to the crew that joined us for this one.

Already looking forward to doing another hike that's been on the list for awhile now. Come back soon to see if we have made it to Pu'u O Kona. (If you don't know what that is, I guess you'll just have to come back and read about it!) Aloha!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


From Chinese Bu

Just a little insight from Chinese Bu...
I've been wanting to do this hike for a really really long time. I didn't really care on how the view was... it would've been a plus if it was clear but from Hawaiian Bu's blog you all know it was clouded over. I guess clouded over is an understatement... anyways... from the beginning of the day I knew it was going to be clouded over but I said I wanted to do this hike and finish it. My comrades might have changed my mind to do a different hike if they said something from the beginning because we were getting rained on walking up to Kalawahine trail.

Kalawahine to the flats was easy then to Nuuanu overlook. Contour trail was a breeze and still I was trying not to get my boots dirty. As we made our way up the contour trail I was just hoping the skys would clear up. We made it up half way and Hawaiian Bu was looking a way down to the upper Lulumahu falls. (Maybe for another adventure)

We got just below a rope section where Hawaiian Bu said he would stay put because he didn't want to not see where he was going. Daniel, Katsu and I continued on. The push up seemed like any gain to a summit except a little bit longer. Near the top I noticed the weirdest thing, a palm tree! Soon after the palm tree we reached K1 the first peak on top Konahuanui. We found a cache and wrote in it. We chilled there for a good ten minutes and decided to push on. After about five minutes Katsu asked, " how long will it take to K2?" I told him about an hour. He decided to turn around and I told him to wait for us on K1.

Daniel and I pushed on. I was a bit worried because I didn't want to my party to wait for me long but I also had my safety in mind. We actually trekked in the clouds all the way to K2. Also Daniel had me worried because he didn't have good balance. I pushed on and kept the goal in mind though. I wanted to complete this hike! After about and hour in the clouds I reached a peak. It was K2! Daniel was about ten minutes behind me and I always kept him in ear shout. I tried to look over the edge but all I could see was clouds... EVERYWHERE! I called back to Daniel because he was taking a while and I was worried a little... also a little about the time. I knew we had to get back to the second peak by 2 o'clock and it was already 1:15 by the time Daniel reached the second peak. We blitzed it back to K1 in the mud and clouds. Right before K1 summit on the way back the clouds receded a little just to give us a glimpse of Maunawili valley.

We all made it out safely at about 5:30... I will be back to see the view from the top!

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Monday, August 9, 2010


From Hawaiian BU

We've promised ourselves time and again that we would eventually tackle this hike, and Chinese BU felt like Sunday was the day. I want to do this hike as much as he does, but I'm pretty wary about the possible pitfalls and dangers that accompany trekking up to Konahuanui, or as I have read "large giant balls". The tallest point of the Koolaus, I have always wanted to look down from the top at the windward panorama, look being the keyword.

As most of you intrepid hikers may be aware of, there are a couple ways to get to this point. You can take the classic route from the Nuuanu overlook, which in itself has many different trails that lead up to it. You can go up Olympus. I think there is a path from the Pali Notches which I heard is nuts. Or you can go up Piliwale ridge...which to me was NOT an option. After what Kaleo had gone through with his bees, and David with his overnight adventure, I may never want to travel up that ridge. I know that there have been people successful making it up that way, but I don't think I may be one of them.

I'm guessing that Chinese BU has been really anxious to make the summit, because there was no stopping him, even though the weather sucked. To say that there was clouds would be an understatement. It was so bad at one point that the Pali notches were covered, and there were points where Upper Lulumahu was shielded in mists. Another problem we faced was the mud..lots of it, and some puddles were shin high.

With this in mind, Chinese Bu, Daniel, Katsu, and myself started out at the Kalawahine Trailhead. By far the easiest route to the Nuuanu Overlook,we were greeted by the sounds of pig hunting dogs trying to capture some wild ones in the Pauoa woods. We joked about the Native Snail sign and how the state needs to move it every 5 years to keep pace with the snails. We bypassed the different trail junctions (which we should have shown each person in our group-more on that later) and stopped at the overlook before pressing forward.

We were in decent spirits and I was alright at that point. We were making good progress uphill, and Chinese BU was trying to find David's sleeping spot from his Piliwale adventure. (If you have no clue who I'm referring to, check out his stuff. Just Google Piliwale Ridge and I'm sure you'll find him. He's always got cool pics!) We found the spot, chilled there for a bit then started the rest of the trek up.

It was at this point that I looked up and changed my mind. I was down to travel with the crew, but the cloud cover was thick- you couldn't see a damn thing! I wasn't scared of going up the ridge, I've done a good share of ridge climbing. I'm just not cool with being blind and having sheer drops to either side of you. I told the boys how I felt about it, and they were cool with it. I told them I would wait for them, and that if they needed help, I would be there. And then they went.

Within less than 5 minutes, I lost sight of them- permanently! We were yelling at each other, but we couldn't see each other. With nothing left to do, I headed back to the overlook. I ran into 3 other hikers that were going to try and gain the summit. Let's just say that they didn't go all the way because they couldn't see it either. I will give credit to the boys though. They called me 45 minutes after we had parted, saying they had reached the first summit. DAMN!!!! Of course they couldn't see a thing, and it was pretty sketchy, but Chinese BU and Daniel were going for the next peak. Katsu was done and heading back.

It was right at that moment that I was like, either they are some crazy nutheads, or the peak was more attainable than I had ever imagined. I felt like I should have went, but I was also stuck with being safe and wanting to "see" the view from the top. As I write this, I'm still stuck on this. I'm proud of the boys BIG time for what they accomplished, yet I was nervous as hell the whole time waiting for them. The good thing was that they called me periodically to update me.

One of these calls was not good. As I told you earlier, we should have made the signs clear for each of them to follow. Katsu didn't continue with Chinese BU and Daniel, and came down on his own. He basically told me that he was looking down at Manoa Valley, and made a wrong turn at the Flats. Well, with reception terrible so I couldn't contact the other two, I told Katsu what to look for, and I made my way back to the Flats from the Kalawahine trailhead. I ran into Chinese BU and Daniel, who looked like he ran into a big piece of walking mud. They were not thrilled that we had to look for Katsu, but they were down and followed me in.

Thankfully, about 15 minutes later, he came bounding up the trail!!! He apologized that he didn't pay attention, and thanked us for coming back after him. We all hiked back to the car, and that ended our day at about 5:30, after starting at approximately 8:30 AM. I was left with a lot of thoughts, but I was extremely thankful that the boys were there in one place.

Don't worry, I'll get up to the top of Konahuanui one day. By the way, did you see how clear it was on the mountain today? I'm telling you, it happens every time!