I was planning to do Waiau to Waimalu for over a year now since the last group that I hike with regularly did it without me because I had car problems that day. I met Travis Renshaw through instagram and have been following him for a while now. He did some hikes that I've never done before and Waiau to Waimalu was one of them. I asked him a while ago if he'd like to take me one day and last weekend was that day.
The night before Travis and I were texting back and forth feverishly because we were trying to find a back up hike. Friday it seemed as though the Ko'olaus were socked in all day and what I really wanted was nice views from the meadow. At the end of the night we were still unsure what we were going to do the next day.
Next morning I made the call to Travis around 5 am that we are doing it, I didn't care if we had any views. We met at the Waimalu trail head at 6:15 a.m. and staged the first car there. The other car headed over to the Waiau Trailhead where we pushed off around 6:45 a.m.
We slowly made our way up Waiau Ridge and soon enough we saw the summit bathed in sunlight. We were excited but we couldn't keep our hopes up because the clouds could come in at any moment. As we got higher we saw views of the Waianaes and the town area of Oahu. We finally reached the summit around 11 a.m. and were greeted with cloud free views of Waihe'e Valley all the way to Waikane Valley.
As we crossed over to the Waimalu summit I couldn't have asked for better weather. The cross over we could see exactly where we were going and we still could see views of the windward side the whole time.
We got to the meadow in a little over an hour and we hung out at the meadow for over an hour. The meadow was incredible. I could see why people want to come here and hang out. What was even better is we got it all to our selves and it wasn't socked in. For an hour we ate lunch, took a nap, and talked about previous hikes we've done. After an hour we pushed to the top of the meadow and that's when the clouds started to roll in. But it wasn't the kind of clouds that linger on the mountains. They blew over after a few minutes and from the top we got views on the other side of the windward side. We got views of Lanikai and Kailua cloud free. Travis pointed out where certain summits were and how he wanted to do all of them. So do I!
After another half an hour of taking pictures and video at the top we headed down the Waimalu middle ridge. The ridge hadn't been cleared for a while so near the bottom of the ridge we ran into overgrowth. No complaining though because we had the best weather and I didn't mind whacking through some uluhe to get to the bottom. We refilled water at the bottom of the stream because I knew we would be out of water we brought along Jenny's steripen (Thanks you Jenny!). We finally hit the Waimalu ditch trail around 4:45 p.m. Now was the worse part, getting out of the ditch trail! The trail just winds and hits a contour and keeps on going! We crossed the stream 10 times and hit the contour trail. The contour trail is long and didn't offer too many views of the valley. We finally made it to the last section of the trail and it was a few switchbacks. As I was going up my legs started to cramp but I pushed on knowing that the finish was less than a minute away. We got back to our first car at 7 p.m. and just soaked in what had just happened with the views. We were some lucky people to see those views!
Beginning of the hike looking towards the Waianae mountain range clear of clouds.
The view of Waihe'e Valley from the top of Waiau Ridge
Hiking along the KST crossing over to Waimalu.
Waimalu Meadow right below us, that's where we chilled for an hour or so.
Happy being that it's cloud free!
Travis showing us the way down Waimalu Middle. Thanks for showing us this trail!
Making our way down Waimalu Middle was still as breathtaking as topping out at Waiau on a cloudless day.
Some things to consider before attempting this hike. This is a really long hike. We took an hour break at the meadow and it took us 12 hours. Plan on being on the mountain for at least 9-10 hours with no break unless you are ultra fast. Plan to drink a lot of water. Either stash water or bring a water purifier so when you hit the bottom of Waimalu you have enough water to drink. Be sure you are capable of doing this 14+ mile hike... like I said before it's a LONG one.