Monday, November 16, 2009

Olomana Trail - To First Peak

I'm headed to the peak on the left!

Trails: Olomana Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles round trip from the trail head to the first peak and back. There is additional walking distance to the trailhead.
Elevation Gain:  1600 ft

Hiking time: under 3 hours
Area: Kailua / Maunawili Area

Trailhead: In Luana Hills Country Club
Trailhead Coordinates: N21 22.105 W157 45.655
Sights: Windward Coast (Kaneohe, Kailua, Waimanalo)
Directions via bus: Catch the 56 or 57 from Ala Moana Center towards Kailua. Get off at the second stop after going down the Pali Highway around the hairpin turn. It should be intersection of Auloa Road and Kalanianole Highway. Across the street you'll see signs towards Luana Hills Country Club. Follow that road, it runs parallel to Kalanianole.

Directions via car: Take H1 West and jump on to the Pali Highway North. Travel up and down the Pali, past the look outs. At the second light after the look outs, make a right on Auloa Rd. There will be a road immediately to your left with signs pointing out Luana Hills Country Club. Not far down the road, there's a bridge. Park before the bridge on the side of the road and start walking towards the country club.

Recommendations for hike: Good shoes, water, sunglasses. Pack light, you'll have to do some climbing.
Trail Conditions: The initial trek up to the ridge may be muddy depending on weather. Then it follows a ridge line. Many parts are narrow and steep.

 The yellow is the walk to the trail head from the bus stop.
Green is Olomana Trail to the first peak.

This is only for the trail (marked in green above).

So this morning, I set out on a challenge. Up until now, I've only done what most sources call intermediate hikes. I've had some experience with ridge hikes and after reading up. This is a decent trail to transition into something more difficult. Along the way, I ran into quite a few people. This is a popular hike. There was even one ground with kids (probably around the age of 10) and they made it to the first peak. Still, it's not for the feint of heart. If you don't like heights (oddly enough I don't like hikes but it kind of makes it fun), you may want to find something else.

After parking or getting off the bus and following the road towards the country club, you'll see a gate. Just let the guard know you're going for a hike and he'll direct you to the trail head. It's about 1/2 a mile up the paved road. On the left hand side, you'll see the sign for the trail.

From the trail head, the trail starts ascending gently. I saw some wild boar in the distance! Wasn't quick enough to get a pic though. Conditions were muddy due to the recent rain. Soon enough, you'll find yourself in some open areas and to a junction. You want to hang a right. Soon after, you'll round a open red dirt area. Just beyond that point, another junction. To your left you'll see some pine trees and this begins the ridge line hike of the trail.

It just kept climbing. Little by little getting steeper. I was out of shape and haven't done any steep hikes in awhile. No matter, I just took more breaks then usual and set a slow pace. After hiking a mile, you'll start to come across more roped sections. There a total of 8 roped sections including the initial one at the beginning of the ridge. Some are there just for support. Others are necessary to get past the point (well at least for someone who doesn't mountain climb... that would be me). The last 2 roped sections were a vertical climb. The first of the 2 was about a 15 ft climb. Quite honestly, I got nervous and wasn't sure where my next step was going to be. So I hung out for a minute then made my move. I'd recommend the left side for that first section. The second one wasn't so bad. Heading towards the right side seemed pretty easy.

Soon enough, I was at the top. It was nerve racking being up there. It was extremely windy and certain parts were really narrow. Like I said before, I'm not a huge fan of heights but the view is definitely worth it. Looking back you can see the North face of Koolau Range. I remembered hiking along the foot of the range (Maunawili Trail to Waimanalo). Looking beyond the first peak, I saw a descent and another hike up to the second. It seemed way to narrow and I was tired already. I was content with getting to the first. Maybe some other time.
I always like pine forests. The way the pine needles cover the ground remind me of being on a ski slope for some reason.

Just some scenery on the way up.

 So this was the hardest part. I've never climbed before. Was an interesting experience.

Those are the other 2 peaks of the trail. No way I'm going there. Well maybe in the future but not this time.

Just some views from the first peak.

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