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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wiliwilinui to Kulepeamoa

April 25, 2020

Being cooped up indoors all week due to the pandemic is rough, especially for an outdoorsy person.  So when Aprille suggested a summit crossover hike, I was definitely game!  Today's plan was to hike up Wiliwilinui Ridge, cross the summit to Kulepeamoa, and exit there.

Joining the hike today was Marilou, Cat, Matt, and OAG's Darren, Bernice, & Aprille.  We met at the Kulepeamoa trailhead at 7:30 to stage cars, then jumped into 2 cars to Wiliwilinui.  The weather was perfect: high overcast with nice tradewinds.  We hit the trail around 7:50 and began walking up the dirt road that starts Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail.

Trying to socially distance.  lol

The road walk is pretty uneventful for a while.  When you start to see a lot of Uluhe ferns lining the side of the trail, that's when you know you're starting to reach the upper levels of the trail.

About 40 minutes in, we reached the steps, indicating the steep section of the trail is here.

We huffed and puffed our way up all those stairs.  When we got to the badly eroded section, we noticed that Na Ala Hele filled in part of the eroded area and put a ladder in where the rope was.  Sure made that section a lot cleaner and safer.

At 9:15 we finally reached the iconic radio tower on the penultimate peak before the summit.

Shortly after that, we summited Wiliwilinui to a hazy windward view.  We rested for about 10 minutes, took a group shot, then headed southeast along the KSRT towards Kulepeamoa.

Almost immediately, we noticed tons of native Hawaiian plants.  We paused to take pictures since the view was still a little hazy.

Red Ohia Lehua

Kolea Launui


Me & Bernice enjoying a flowering Kawa'u

Kolea Lauli'i

And that's just between Wiliwilinui and Wailupe!!  We haven't even reached the next peak and we're high on native plants!

About 1 hour later, we arrived at Wailupe Summit.  We took a nice snack break there to enjoy the views as the haze began to clear.

At 11:05 am we gathered up our packs and resumed the trek across the KSRT.  The views towards the south began to clear and our pace slowed as we took more and more pictures.  In the section between Wailupe and Hawaii Loa, we found a rare gem on Oahu: Ohe Naupaka.

Alongside these were Ohia, Na'ena'e, and Ohe Kuahiwi.

We then arrived at Hawaii Loa's summit just before noon.  Upon arriving, there was a small group gathered at the summit, so we took a couple of pics then continued on.

The views began to open up and the cool breezes made for an awesome day up in the mountains.

The native plants kept on coming!  None of us expected to see so many native plants along this section of summit.

Just around 12:40 pm, we arrived at the Kulepeamoa summit.  There were 3 girls sitting and enjoying the view, so we took a seat in the back of the summit to rest a little.  By this time, the views were simply magnificent and we had a full course of native plants!

Just before 1 pm, we began our trek out.  The views on the Leeward side were clear and made for awesome pix.

10 minutes into our descent, we reached the steep and narrow rope section.

We carefully navigated the narrow section and continued on.  Along the way, we saw more native plants, which is why Kulepeamoa remains one of our favorite hikes for native plants.

Ho'awa Blossoms

Iliahi with buds

Ohia Lehua with buds and blossom


Iliahi alo'e

Upon reaching the first ironwood grove, Matt, Marilou, Aprille, & I stopped to rest while waiting for Darren, Bernice, & Cat, who were looking for a bug that lives on the Akoko plant.  Once the 3 caught up to us, we made our way out.  The descent off the ridge was a knee killer.  7 hours later, we found ourselves back at our cars.   I drove Matt, Darren, & Bernice back to Wiliwilinui to get their cars then went to Foodland Farms in Aina Haina for some poke bowls!!

What an awesome day in the mountains with awesome peeps!

See video here.

Start: 7:50 am
Wiliwilinui summit: 9:30 am
Began Crossover: 9:37 am
Wailupe Summit: 10:40 am (left at 11:05 am)
Hawaii Loa Summit: 11:56 am
Kulepeamoa Summit: 12:40 pm (left summit at 12:52 pm)
Exit: 3:55 pm

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