Friday, November 17, 2017

Ice Ponds

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wow, I haven't updated the blog in a while but I still have been hiking!  I usually try to hike Thursdays with my buddy, Sheryl.  Since it rained the past few days, we decided to venture in Kalihi.  It has been more than 3 years since I've been to this waterfall. 

Knowing there are only so many parking spots that can fit near the trailhead, my prediction didn't fail.  I arrived at the end of the street and there was a HECO van with workers.  I turned around and tried to find a spot somewhere down the road.  I was about to text Sheryl however being deep in the valley has lost cell signal.  It was a few minutes later I saw Sheryl driving by and told her the news.  She went to check it out and turns out those workers have left.  So I followed Sheryl back to the end of the road and we were able to claim parking spots.

It was windy and cool.  Winter season is sure arriving with this awesome weather! As we walked up the road, I didn't remember the road being so uphill.  My calves were surely getting pumped.  About half an hour or so later, we arrived at the falls.  There was a local guy doing a tour of the falls with a group of mainland tourists.  Once they saw us, the tour guide decided it was time to head out.  This is not my first time seeing "tour guides" here in Oahu.  I always question if what they're doing is legal or not.

Anyways, I unpacked my bag to grab Erik's Canon camera, his LEE filters, and my tripod.  I had to borrow Erik's equipment because I forgot to bring mine.  I recently started getting into slow shutter photography starting the ending of March this year from the Big Island trip.  After seeing my night shots came out successful, I attempted to do long exposure photography with the waterfalls in Maui a few months after.  There are something about the silky effect that makes the waterfall look so heavenly.  So I wanted to try it out with Na Ohia this time.  The pictures didn't fail to amaze me! The flow was flowing just perfect, and the water was ice cold just like the last time I came.

Sheryl told me that the last time her and our friend Karen went here, Karen's toe was nibbled by what it seem to be a big fish.  I wonder if that fish was there the last time I was here and it just grew or if someone purposely put it there...But haha, so I didn't want to chance it swimming in the first pool.  There was a family that arrived a little after us so we let them have the fun hehe.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Poamoho to Schofield

November 10-November 11, 2017

Since my birthday is on Monday, Aprille asked me what hike I wanted to do.  Of course, Poamoho (my favorite hike) would have to be part of it.  So I said, let's do a backpacking trek from Poamoho to Schofield.  Joining us this weekend were Kellie and OAG's Troy & Darren.  The forecast called for rain on Friday and T-Storms on Saturday through Sunday, we took a chance anyway.  Here's how it unfolded:

Since Aprille picked up the permit earlier in the week and my brother agreed to drop us off, we all met at my house at 6 am to carpool to the trail.  However, since my brother had to be somewhere by 7:30 am and we weren't making good time up the dirt road, we agreed to stop and walk the remainder of the way to the trailhead.

We arrived at the trailhead a little after 7 am and didn't waste any time hitting the trail.  Thankfully, the weather seemed like it was holding up and we just might have a nice day ahead.  The Poamoho trail is one of the most beautiful of the state trails.

We arrived at the bench (halfway point) in about an hour, making pretty good time with these heavy packs.  We took a short break and continued on.  As we neared the snail habitat, a beautiful little waterfall popped out on our right.

Another 10 minutes or so, we reached an opening before the trail began to contour along the back wall of the Ko'olaus.  We stopped for a short break to enjoy what might be the last of the views as dark clouds began rolling over the Ko'olaus.  However, this trail has more than just views.  As we meandered along the contour towards the summit, we were greeted by tons of beautiful native plants like Loulu, towering Ohia, and just before the summit, a budding Koli'i.

Arriving at the summit in just about 2.5 hours, we were greeted by a big white curtain.  :(  We rested a bit at the summit till rain prompted us to seek shelter.  We geared up, slogged through some serious mud, and made our way to the cabin.

At the cabin, we quickly unloaded our heavy packs and began setting up camp.

Once set up was done, we talked story and relaxed for a couple hours.  Since everyone was getting tired, we all took a short nap.  At around 5:30 pm, we started dinner.  We prepped some Pasta Primavera and Chili Mac with Beef MRE's and some saimin and ate like kings.  For some reason, food seems to taste so much better on the mountains.  Since it was my birthday hike, Aprille got me a chocolate donut with a candle on it and Troy got party hats for everyone.  They sang "Happy Birthday" to me and we all enjoyed some chocolate donut and astronaut ice cream.

With the weather getting worse and the temperature dropping, everyone decided to hit the sack early (around 8 pm).  We all woke up around 5 am the next morning.  With the weather still terrible, we packed up our things and decided on an early start, leaving the cabin at 7:10 am.  The rain was relentless as we trekked along the KST towards Schofield.  However, even without the views, the hike was still amazing!

We reached Pauao in about 30 minutes and about 10 minutes later, we met up with a fenceline along the summit.  The fenceline made progress really easy.  However, it seems those who put the fence up also brought with them some invasive plants as tons of ginger began to spread along area.

The fenceline continued for quite a while, ending near a little meadow, where we were treated to multiple waterfalls cascading down the side of the ridge.

Once the fenceline ended, the trail became overgrown, slowing our progress.

A little under 2 hours since leaving the Poamoho cabin, we found ourselves at the summit of Schofield trail.

With 7 miles left of our hike, we kept our break short.  The upper portions of the Schofield trail were starting to overgrow, even though the HTMC just cleared it back on August 27.

However, as the contour trail moved to the ridge crest, we ran into another fenceline.

Again, the fenceline made progress nice and easy.  The constant downpour opened up more waterfalls along the adjacent ridges.

Once the fenceline ended, we just followed the contour on and on and on as we sloggily trudged our way along this endless trail.  About 2.5 hours from the summit, we finally arrived at the HTMC's Kaukonahua Stream junction.  We sat and took a much needed rest as exhaustion began taking its toll.

With only about 20 minutes left of trail, we made the final push to the Schofield trailhead.

We took a much needed break at the trailhead before making the looooong road walk back to the car.

Darren graciously drove us back to my house where Darren and Kellie left for home.  Troy, Aprille, & I went to fill our tummies at Teddy's Burger.

Aside from the weather, we had a fun 2 days in the mountains.  Until the next adventure . . . aloha!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

September 10, 2017

Since I haven't been hiking much lately, I wanted to do something fairly short, but rewarding.  I decided on Kaipapau-Koloa Loop out in Hau'ula.  Joining me on today's hike was OAG's Daniel, Hina, and David, along with Darryl, Ryan, and Kellie. 

We met at Kokololio Beach Park around 8:30 am, then hopped into my truck to carpool to the trailhead.  We hit the trail around 8:40 am.  In about 5 minutes in, the steep ascents began!

After 10 minutes of steep hiking, the trail turned to switchbacks, which my legs and lungs appreciated.  About 20 minutes in, Kellie and I arrived at the first lookout, overlooking Hau'ula Beach.

After a short break and some pix, we continued on till we reached an ironwood grove at the crest of the ridge.  Daniel and Hina take the final stretch to the ridge crest.

Once atop the ridge, a wooden sign tied to some guava bushes provided directions to Koloa Gulch to the left and some WWII bunkers to the right. 

Since Kellie has never been to the bunkers, Ryan and I decided to take her while Daniel, David, & Darryl waited at the ironwoods.  The trek to the bunkers was quite scenic.

We goofed around at the bunker for quite a while before we remembered that the 3 D's were still waiting for us back at the ironwoods.  We grabbed our stuff and headed back.  I guess the 3 D's got tired of waiting for us and forged ahead.  We took a quick water break and pressed on.  What awaited us was grueling.

But the views behind us grew more and more magnificent.

As we reached the back of the loop, we finally caught up to the 3 D's.  The vegetation had changed dramatically from introduced to a more native forest. 

We began crossing over from Kaipapau Ridge over towards Koloa Ridge.  We descended to another ironwood grove, where we had a nice "lunch break". 

After some snacks and listening to Kellie regale us with with stories of her students, we gathered up our gear and pressed on.  The trail descended steeply for a while till we reached Koloa Ridge.

The walk out on Koloa Ridge was quite scenic.  Above, David shoots the valley splitting Kaipapau and Koloa Ridges. 

Soon, most of our bellies were growling with hunger and with our PHM at Papa Ole's awaiting us, we picked up our pace.  The best part of hiking in this area is the Post Hike Meal at Papa Ole's kitchen.  Below, David savors their onolicious beef stew.  Perfect way to end a fun hike!

Hawaii Loa Ridge

October 17, 2017

One of my favorite Na Ala Hele Trails is Hawaii Loa.  From the start where the ridge stretches out before you, with gorgeous valleys on each side to the view from the summit, you're bound to get a cramp in your shutter finger! 

Joining me on today's hike was my favorite hiking partner: Aprille.  We hit the trailhead at noon sharp!  With clear skies and a cloud-free summit line, our hopes were high. 

We kept the pace leisurely to allow us to soak in the views all around.  We must have stopped every 5-10 minutes to photograph the adjacent valleys or the pristine summit looming ahead of us.

The view looking back was pretty amazing too!

About 30 minutes into the hike, we arrived at the canopied section of the hike, which was also the first steep section of the hike.  Cardio on!

After a half hour of lung depleting, butt cramping, quad jellying uphills, we finally topped out of the first big ascent.  As we rounded the corner of a hill, we could see the hard work of the Hawaii Trail and Mountain Club's trail maintenance crew stretched out ahead of us.  You can see Aprille walking through the "uluhe highway" in the photo below.

This portion led us to the base of the Ko'olau where we'd begin another lung busting ascent to the summit.  The upper sections of trail were outfitted with steps to assist with erosion prevention. 

At one point, we had to walk through a trench, probably caused by heavy traffic and erosion.

As we gained elevation, the views behind became more and more beautiful. 

PC: Aprille

In about 1 hr and 50 min, we arrived at the summit and the view did not disappoint!

After half an hour of taking pictures and resting our thoroughly jello-ed legs, we began our descent.
An hour and 25 minutes later, we exited the trail, stocked with iPhones full of pix.  Until the next adventure . . . aloha!