Friday, July 19, 2013

Waiau to Waimalu Middle

For all the hikes I've really really wanted to do recently I've been EXTREMELY lucky with the weather.  Today was no different. 

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. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kalalau Part 1 Ke'e to Hanakoa

There is so much information about Kalalau and we planned as best as we could. The crew that went was Katie, Jenny, Lei, Jason, Dave, Keahi, Jody, Neal, and Sheri. 

We set foot on the trail around 8:30 a.m. and made our way to Hanakapiai beach.  That's were we took our first break. The group that wanted to go to Kalalau took a short break and were on their way. 

Katie, Jenny, Jodi, Keahi and I decided to check out Hanakoa falls before and camp at 8 mile instead of trekking all the way in one day.  We took a slow and steady pace and took long breaks on our way to Hanakoa Valley.  We took an hour long lunch break and still didn't pass 5 mile. 

What we had thought was Hanakoa Valley was actually 5 mile.  So we finally made it to Hanakoa Valley which is half way to Kalalau Valley.  We decided to drop our heavy packs and hide it in some bushes and take a short trek to the valley waterfall.  We followed a faint trail to the back of the valley and were greeted with a 150+ ft waterfall pouring down from the top of the mountain. 

That night we decided to camp at Hanakoa Valley because it was getting dark after our detour.  We also wanted to relax before sunset and catch it from the valley.

The start of the trail all happy and ready to go.  Front row from L to R: Jenny, Sheri, Lei, Katie Back row from L to R: Keahi, Dave, Jodi, Jason, Neal, and Ryan

Looking back to Ke'e Beach.  There was a small north swell with light trades at the time in the morning. 

Taking a break on the Kalalau trail. 

Just before Hanakapiai beach.

 On the way in we saw Hanakapiai beach took a short break to watch some inviting shore break.  

We couldn't have asked for better weather throughout our trip.  Perfect tradewind weather with not one drop of rain the entire time!

Jenny enjoying the view at the base of Hanakoa Falls.

All of us couldn't resist the large pool below Hanakoa Falls... It was really cold!

Some long exposures near our first camp at Hanakoa Valley.

Pretty spacious campsite at Hanakoa.  

There are picnic tables and a shelter incase you want to stop at Hanakoa Valley.  Pictured above is me boiling water for our instant meals! 

Pool at the base of Hanakoa Falls!

Monday, July 1, 2013


Maybe some of you have been wondering where I've been, sorry I haven't updated in a while because I was moving houses.  Here is an update from our trip from Japan.  Kyoto was one of my favorite cities to visit.  

I had contacted my friend Joanna a few days ago in Hiroshima asking if it was cool if we could meet up in Kyoto and if she could take us around. She was so happy I came to Japan and excited to see me so of course they said yes. I called her in the morning asking if she knew of the places we were going. The first stop was Kinkakuji temple where there was a temple that was made of gold. It was a picture perfect area with the temple in a little lake surrounded by a wooded area. We made our way to Nijo castle and I asked if she could meet us after we finished walking the castle grounds. At the castle we couldn't take photos or video inside of Nijo castle, I'm not sure why but they had security watching every tourist carefully making sure they didn't bust out their cameras.
After we toured the castle Joanna met us outside with mom and jake in the car. The mom was kind enough to shuttle us to the restaurant she made reservations at. It was great seeing Kohta but in his own element and city! We ate at this amazing Katsu place called Katsu Kura! Best Katsu I've eaten by far. First the come out with sesame seed other wise known as goma, they give you a wooden tool to crush it up and mix in the Katsu sauce. Then they came out with the katsu... The meat was top grade meat and the bread crumbs were big and crunchy all around. Not too oily either. With the Katsu was yuba in Katsu breading. With unlimited rice miso soup and cabbage it filled me up! After lunch we headed to an open market place where Kohta and Joanna led us around. We were on a mission to find pickled vegetables. We found a place that sold some and we started to head to the next destination. Kiyomizudera was a temple far on the east side of Kyoto. From where we were it was a far hour and a half walk. Luckily we cut through another temple and it's festivals. We bought corn and chocolate covered bananas on the way. We finally reached the gates of the temple and it had a long line outside. They didn't open the gates until after 6! We waited in line and lucky we did. It was one of the most scenic places I've been to in Japan thus far. The sun was setting and you can see the city light turning on with the temple in the foreground. I actually wished we spent more time there but we had to rush through it because Joanna's mom again made reservations at a yakitori place for us. Kiyomizudera is known as clear water. There is a little man made waterfall on the temples grounds where you can drink the water and make one wish. Also when we went the Sakura was blooming so it made for some good pictures. After the temple we caught a cab to the restaurant. We ate yakitori and I tried some unusual things like cartilage, heart and cheese chicken sticks. Each order came with two sticks and were under 300 yen. It was a good way to end the day and we made our way back to our hotel in Osaka.

Kinkakuji was the first temple we visited in Kyoto.

Nijo Castle grounds.  This place had the Nightingale wood floors that creek when you walk on them.

We met up with the Yoshimura's for lunch at Katsukura.

Probably the tastiest Katsu I've ever had!

Uncle Ronald wanted pickled vegetables.  Joanna took us to an open market area after Katsu Kura.  We had to get some exercise in after that meal!

On our way to Kiyomizudera we stopped for some chocolate sprinkle covered bananas!

As we were walking up these stairs toward Kiyomizudera temple this cherry blossom tree decided to rain it's sakura on us.  Everyone turned around and took pictures but nothing on camera could capture the moment everyone felt when this happened. 

They finally started letting everyone into Kiyomizudera after waiting in line for a while.  We had to wait till dusk to enter the temple grounds. 

Kyoto city looking out from the temple grounds. 

Another view with the main temple and Kyoto in the background. 

Nighttime came quick.

This was only the first day we were in Kyoto and I can't thank Joanna enough for taking us around.  We had some yakiniku to finish up the night.