|DATE:||Feb 1, 1998||WEATHER:||Blue skies, slight winds, excellent weather.||HIKERS:||Alex Okihara, Grant Tokumi|
Kuli'ou'ou has 2 hikes, the Valley hike and the Ridge hike. Our hike took us up the end of the Valley trail, then up a ridge that met up with the end of the Ridge trail, and then back down using the Ridge Trail. Heres the story:
We originally intended to go on the Ridge Trail. Both of us had never been on this trail before, and the hike already started badly because we went left on the road instead of right on the dirt road. We ended up at the water tank 2 minutes later and soon realized we had taken a wrong turn already. After slapping ourselves, we backtracked and went on the correct trail this time. After a while, we realized that we were not going upwards and instead was heading deeper into the Valley. "Oh well" I was thinking. Later, after like 30 minutes from the trailhead, we met up with a couple on their return trip, and after talking to them, we learned that we were on the valley trail, not the ridge trail. I was bumming. We decided to backtrack, but the couple said there was a waterfall at the end of the Valley trail (only a few minutes away), so we decided to check that out first. Few minutes later we came up to a waterfall..... a dry one... Oh well. However, Alex found a nice little pink marker on the right side that seemed to mark a faint trail. We decided to check it out. Soon, we found ourselves climbing up the mountain, using those wonderful markers as our guide. Some parts were pretty scary, it was like climbing trees when we was kids. I remember thinking, "Man, if these markers lead us to nowhere and we have to come back down, we are screwed". I think the real energy drainer was the uncertainty of the length of the climb, and the uncertainty that the markers would even lead us anywhere. But those markers would not deny us. After more climbing, we reached the ridge. YEAH!!!! But the Kuli'ou'ou Ridge was the next ridge over. BOO!!!! Nah, I was so happy at that point, I was pumped to hike around to the next ridge.
After resting for a bit, we proceeded to go up the ridge to the Koolau summit. The views along the way were beautiful. We reached the summit, enjoyed more views of the Windward side, and proceeded along the narrow trail along the Koolaus to the next ridge. It was super windy up there, dust was blowing in our eyes, we almost got blown over a few times. At around 3:40pm (4 and a half hours later), we finally reached the Kuliouou Ridge clearing. YEAH!! We found the bottle with the notes inside and wrote our little note. I busted out my food and grinded. I got some natural rock flavored Furikaki (nori on the rice) in my food thanks to the wind blowing the crumbly pebbles all over the place. I had so much little pebbles on my rice that it did look like brown furikaki in there. I ate it anyways, rocks and all.
Our return trip down the normal Ridge Trail was relatively fast, meeting up with a few mountain biker dudes along the way. We found the junction where the Ridge and Valley hike splits and we could not figure out how the hell we could miss an obvious thing like that. It had the 4x4 pole state sign and everything. Maybe they should make those signs bright pink color (like the markers) =). We reached the trailhead at around 5:30.
The normal Kuli'ou'ou Valley Trail and Ridge Trail is not too difficult. The ridge trail is wide and well maintained. The route we took proves to be more difficult. Climbing the ridge at the end of the valley trail is pretty treacherous since the trail was not established at all. Its more climbing than hiking.