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!

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