|Mt Olympus, as seen from our condo near Ala Moana.|
We started out by driving up through St. Louis Heights to Peter Street, pretty much as far as the road would take us. At the corner of Peter and Ruth we took a left onto Ruth and followed it into the Wa'ahila Ridge State Recreation Area.
When we started out, our plan was to do the Wa'ahila Ridge Trail only, having heard that the upper trail was more advanced and technically closed. The main hike is about 3.5 miles round trip and is supposed to take an hour and 45 minutes.
Once we hit the 'end of the trail' marker we were feeling good, so we decided to push on. As we proceeded, we felt OK, so we cautiously continued. Before we knew it, we were there.
The hike was a challenge in places, but overall, pretty safe and manageable. At times the trail was steep and slippery. This was disconcerting and a little tense, but somehow we got by. Also, it was windy and in places, the wind absolutely roared over the ridge. At these points we hunkered down and scooch along the trail. In the end, our leisurely hike took a little more than 4 hours. We were tired, but very satisfied.
Here are some pictures with comments.
|The parking lot at Wa'ahila State Recreation Area. Here there is a nice mix of Cook Pines and Ironwood trees.|
|On this day, many were ripe and still on the trees -- in spite of the wind.|
|They're delicious! If seedy.|
Like so many hikes on Oahu, the views and vegetation are lovely.
|A yellow Ohia flower|
|There were plenty of red Ohia too.|
|An octopus (aka rubber) tree. This one is unusual in that the fruit appears black. I've ever only seen it red before.|
|A view of Manoa Valley, with Honolulu in the distance, from Wa'ahila Ridge|
|The "End of Trail" Marker for the Wa'ahila Ridge Trail.|
We felt good when we reached this point. The ground was damp, but not too slippery and the weather favorable, so we decided to push on a little further.
|Cathie using a rope to get to the top of a knoll.|
There were a half dozen places along the trail where ropes came in handy. In some spots, climbing without a rope would be treacherous if not impossible -- especially in bad weather. On this day, the ground was muddy and slippery and we needed the ropes. We quickly learned the rule: One person at a time on the rope! Oops. Sorry about that.
|A panoramic view South from the upper reaches of Wa'ahila Ridge.|
As we continued onward and upward along the Wa'ahila Ridge it merged into the Ko'olau Range's main ridge (the backbone). From here looking back southward we could see the Wa'ahila Ridge itself behind us (center, left in above picture), Manoa Valley (center right), with Diamond Head and Honolulu in the distance.
|Taking a short break before making the last push to the top, Cathie with Mount Olympus in the background.|
|Eventually the Wa'ahila Ridge meets the Ko'olau Range's main ridge. From here, we got a nice view along the ridge line and views of the windward side of the island.|
|A view of the cliffs leading down to the Manawili Basin|
|The summit marker|
|To the North, North-East you can see the Ko'olau Range Ridge, Manawili Basin and Kailua in the distance|
|Looking South-East you get a nice view of the Ko'olau Ridge looking toward Kuli'ou'ou. |
(Hey, what's with that bald spot!)
|Swinging to the South-South-East you can look down into Ka'au Crater.|
|Looking South you can see Diamond Head and Honolulu in the distance, and Wa'ahila Ridge (center, right) and Manoa Valley (right-edge) in the foreground.|
The trail continues beyond the summit. After maybe 100 feet, it drops steeply down, following the ridge line. If you keep going, it appears that you may be able to walk the ridge all the way to Kuli'ou'ou. However, this is where we stopped and headed for home. We still had a couple hours ahead of us and by now it was mid-afternoon.
We were a little tired, so we took our time working our way down.
|Cathie using the rope to descend a steep, muddy section.|
|It was a little intimidating because it was slippery and steep....|
|...and long. In some places you had to traverse 2 or 3 ropes in a row.|
|Mud and scratches from the hike.|
At this point, we resolved to go to Ailana's for shave ice once we got home. That promise powered us the rest of the hike.
|Back at the parking lot.|
If you go, I recommend that you:
- Bring the following:
- Water -- we had water and stopped a few times to hydrate.
- Food/Snacks -- While the Strawberry Guava gave us a burst of energy, don't count on them being available. We also had Spam musubi and fruit to munch on.
- Gloves (optional): Some folks might want gloves to protect your hands from the ropes. Personally though, I probably prefer to go without.
- Leg coverings (optional): As you saw, your legs can get scratched by all the brush along the trail. You may prefer to wear long socks or pants to protect your legs. Me? Nah.
- Watch the Weather: We had good conditions, but the trail was still damp and quite slippery in places. Don't let a rainstorm move in on you while you're up top. You might just get stuck, as the trail could become quite dangerous when soaked. Also, if it's cloudy the view may suck.
- Have fun. :)